The main idea by which the ethnographic film Forest alone would be guided was de-humancentrism. On and beyond anthropological grounds, the human capacities remain today the angle through which the ecocritique is expressed(Kohn 2013). Whereas the book How Forests think(Kohn 2013) continued the traditional anthropological queries into the limits between symbolic and real in the relationships of humans with other beings such as dogs, pumas and jaguars, it achieved a thorough and evocative self-critique of our (human) political projects of segregation between the moral and symbolic in human and non-human worlds. This theme was a guideline throughout the film for both myself and the viewers. In Forest alone, I tried to understand, review and demonstrate the contemporary concurring students' and staff's conceptualizations and institutionally designed transformations of "wild" areas to "green" spaces around and in the heart of the University's of Kent campus. On politicized and even activist grounds, I critique the futile circle between the "conservationist" ideas and the "ordinary" theory and practice on the "nature" while I extend the de-humancentrism to a more mixing spectrum of inter-dependency between "human" and "non-human" worlds, doubting whether they are still separate from each other.
Even though during filming I purposed to criticize the ecological movement on regional, and imaginatively on wider scale, for its persisting ignorance of how "morality is not constitutive of the nonhuman beings with whom we share the planet"(Kohn 2013: 133), and not for the next (human) generations to come, during the editing I was advised to become self-critical of my pretended "de-anthropocentrism". James and Johannes, two of the many co-students who gave feedback on the first cuts, wondered why I made the question after the screening "Do you think it as an ecological or de-humancentric film?". Even one of the cut scenes was Shalini's, a Spanish exchange student's monologues to the tree "Humans need your soil for building. Humans need your barks for energy. Humans need your green for recreation. What do you need humans for?". Even though the organization of the film according to the first three themes, building, coppicing and grass have been maintained, the focal argument of de-humancentrism was kept aside and the final scene beginning with the hilarious phrase "The age of innocence has passed" tempts to show the self-irony towards the idealization of the human-nature relations.
The humancentrism approached nature as separated of and threatened by society and thus the former romanticized and the latter accountable for the "nature's sake". (Morton 2007: 7). Instead of versifying their perspectives from their animist, sacred or other symbolic representations of trees(Rival 1998) to multiple layers of ecocriticism, most forest ethnographies and especially those culminating into a visual project, tend to treat the wild areas aesthetically, but do not critically cross-examine how the term "nature" is constructed in mundane places(Morton 2007).The film started from one extreme perspective to culminate into another, from the animistic monologue towards a tree to the irony of the today symbiotic plateaus between human and his "wild areas". However, we get naive if we live with the illusion that we have chosen indefinitely the one instead of the other. As Yung, a random interviewee claimed, we prefer to view specific spaces as "natural", as long as they are green. Even more, the film Forest alone contributes to the discussion whether a dilemma between the two extremes, a de- and full humancentric visions of nature is possible.
Shalini's de-humancentric monologue to the tree
John and Rufus - The Age of innocence has passed
Decolonising education - Although the metaphor is taken from Spanish protests against the conversion of the University from a place of free thought to a mere business, in the case of Forest alone, the University does not have the image of a factory(See video below).
University of Kent campus's heart - Ground under repair
A pure image of nature - Tyler Hill Forest