Cinema, Affect, Nature

Adrian Ivakhiv

Ecologies of the Moving Image introduces a new way of thinking about cinema and its relation to the lived ‘ecologies’ – the material, social, and perceptual systems of relations – within which audio-visual texts are produced, consumed, and incorporated into cultural life. Cinema, Adrian Ivakhiv argues, produces worlds that engage viewers both cognitively and affectively. With their sequential orderings of visual image, text and sound, moving images move us; they take us on journeys, opening up spaces for our affective involvement in relation to the worlds portrayed. At its best, cinema invites viewers to try out different positions along a series of ‘vectors of engagement,’ all of which are in some manner related to and ultimately grounded in a series of ecological relationships that are presupposed by all media production.

Ivakhiv’s focus is on the connection between the worlds produced by film and the socio-ecological relations that subtend them – the systemic interdependencies between humans, animals, landscapes, and socio-technical networks. He examines the geographies, visualities, and ‘anthropologies’ – relations of here and there, seer and seen, us and them, human and inhuman – produced in a range of styles and genres including ethnographic and wildlife documentaries, westerns and road movies, science-fiction and eco-disaster films, the art films of Tarkovsky, Herzog and Greenaway, experimental cinema, and the expanding audio-visual universe of cable television and YouTube. In the process, Ivakhiv enriches film and visual theory by bringing an ecocritical lens into dialogue with the work of theorists including Deleuze, Heidegger, Zizek, Jameson, Kracauer, Sobchack, and Bordwell.


1.     Journeys to and from Earth: Traversing cinema’s ecological unconscious

2.    Environmental visuality & the ecology of images

3.    In & out of The Zone:  Cinematic affect & extra-filmic reality

4.    Humana nativa: Cultured nature & naturalized culture

5.    Journeys on Earth: Landscapes of identity & disidentification

6.    Anima moralia: Anthropomorphism, animamorphism, & the barbarians at the gates

7.    Terra, trauma, & the geopolitics of the Real