Artist Chris Jordan has released his labour-of-love film Albatross free ‘as a gift for to world’. I was worried about seeing it; I’m wary of watching cautionary environmental movies because I am already ‘the converted’ – do I need more painful educational messages?
But from the very start, this film offers something different from the shock and shame narratives of much environmentalist media. It opens with the slowly intensifying image of a mandala, invoking the traditions of sacred art and meditation, and through its 90 minutes it deepens into a breathtaking offering of love to the albatross. Jordan himself describes the film as ‘a grief ritual’ whose aim is ‘to help viewers reconnect on a universal level with living beings… Grief happens when we are losing love, and it liberates us to feel it fully.’
Everything about the film hums with love. Like other grief practitioners and storytellers including Megan Hollingsworth and Stephen Jenkinson, Jordan holds that grief and love are facets of the same thing. The film takes us on a journey: from horror and revulsion to deep feelings of wonder and awe. I fell totally in love with the albatrosses, with their mesmerising courtship dancing, each couple’s tender care of their chick, and their ability to fly ten thousand miles in a week foraging for food. Not to mention the utter beauty of the chicks themselves. Despite its unflinching and devastating portrayal of the deaths of babies, Albatross is not only a call to action, but a truly beautiful film that should be experienced by many people.
This month is #PlasticFreeJuly. At ONCA we will be doing an audit of the plastic that comes into the building, and we’re inviting all our residents and visitors to ditch single use plastic this month – and always. There is a fantastic amount of great work being done in Brighton by champions like Cat Fletcher and the new nationwide Refill Scheme – it’s time to stop making excuses for inertia, to boycott big companies like Coca Cola, and to support local enterprises like sustainable drinks visionaries, Old Tree.
Starting this week, join theatre company HOAX in the gallery for a fortnight’s immersion in their cave made of waste, and an extraordinary series of workshops and performance masterclasses encouraging participants to re-think plastic.
Let’s do this! #PlasticFreeJuly
Posted on June 16, 2018