Film-ethnographic sites

The field where the the filming first took place was the Billhook Nook site, opposite of the Sibson Building. Around the mid of October 2017, a fine chance was granted to me, to attend a workshop in the middle of the Tyler Hill Forest. The main contributor was the School of Anthropology and Conservation. Ian Bride, the supervisor of the workshop, was so helpful to answer or search for answers to any of our questions regarding wider issues such as the forest's sustainability and other other smaller but equally important ones such as our security or other relevant programs we could participate in. Personally speaking, Ian stood as an expert-teacher and along with all the Billhook Nook

Team a valuable friend with great ideas and suggestions about the forest acoustics or the possible focus of the movie. Although the coppicing, the periodical cutting back of trees or shrubs to stimulate trees' growth and other processing chores were time- and effort-demanding, we always joined tea and biscuits together with long discussions about forest-relevant and irrelevant issues.

Any dilemma to choose between observational or participatroy filming was quite early dismissed for various reasons. Whereas the observational cinema believes in the "reality-style" unprivileged position of the camera on the field(Grimshaw and Ravez 2009), the participatory school suggests the recording of the encounter(s) between filmmaker and subject inbetween breaks from the filmmaker's engagement with the condition being documented(Nichols 2002). The filming of a forest-centric film-ethnography cannot be suppressed into bipolar decisions, but it can be extended in alternative sensual,intellectual and manual formats(Feld 2003).  For example, during the Billhook Nook project, the commitment and the permission of the rest participants for filming were necessary, while during endless solitary and overwhelmingly sociable days and nights in the forest the observation stood as rule. One day, while I was preparing the tripods and the cameras for recording, Ian reminded me that I need to acknowledge the presence of camera "even to native people". Connor, Jake and Hayden aaccompanied me in quests around the forest and quite long debates over the forests' sustainability and its connection to overall University's United Kingdom's environmental policies.

 

Though extremely illuminating, the Billhook Nook Project was the starting point for an adventurous but also mundane research around the University's of Kent campus. I took the initiative to change my camera's focus from the presentation of a book Global Magic  by Alf Hornborg on November 2017. According to Hornborg(2016), globalized technologies of monetary and machinery appropriation have been designed, produced, promoted and developed till today in expense of less affluent world parts and most severely of the natural resources. In combination to a film I had recently watched, An Incovenient Truth(2006), in which Al Gore, an American activist environmental politician,  suggested to turn our focus to our local habitat, before we care about Amamozian forests of South America and the Yu River of the Southern China. Thus, I widened my sight to local environmental policies. The University of Kent was a quite peculiar case of institution as the majority of the land granted to the University upon its foundation was farm land(Pride in ​our past, website). 

However, the University was not ready yet financially and technologically to cover instantly all the vast area of Tyler Hill, while the local residents had environmental inhibitions towards an abrupt development of construction's projects. Thus, it proceeded to an extensive tree plantation. Today, more than fifty years after its foundation, the University of Kent tends to a contradictory policy, according to which it supports to be green, whereas its area covered by forests is rapidly shrinking in favor of the business goals to satisfy the rising number of staff and students. 

 

Due to feelings of obligation and compassion towards our co-residents on this planet, island, county, town, the forest of Tyler Hill, I started documenting the changes regarding forestry in and out of campus heart. In the end, I concentrated on three major issues, on the construction sites of Park Wood Road and the already functioning Sibson building, on the coppicing sites of Park Wood Road and Billhook Nook project and the repair of semi-wild areas into tidy areas of grass and few colourful bushes or shrubs. The film-ethnography endured 22 days and contributed to a 13-minute video named Forest alone.

Film-ethnographic sites

University of Kent. Source: Masterplan 2014.

Forest alone

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