The Titans at the Heart of the Anthropocene: Diving into the non-human imagery of Leviathan

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This article will focus on the documentary film Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor and Paravel, 2012), seeking to entangle its aesthetic aims and practices with philosophical perspectives on the Anthropocene, the non-human, multispecies encounters (Haraway) and Heidegger’s ideas on the essence of modern technology. With the radical aim of approaching the Anthropocene through the displacement of the human perspective, the film aligns itself with the non-anthropocentric, and non-humanistic aspects of experience, trying to evoke the sensory understandings of other species that here emerge from the encounter between two very precise materialities: the technological devices of image recording, and the bodies and matter they encounter (in this case, the sea and the fishing activity, the fishes, the seagulls, the raw fishing machinery, the nets, steel). The relationships between nature and technology, the human and the non-human are the core of this documentary, where we witness also an attempt to see the world plunging into the intimacy of the bodies, materials and sensorialities. Leviathan is a portrait, taken from the inside, of a very specific human practice: fishing, which here allows an encounter with the ‘otherness’: to see how the fishes see, to dive into the raw materiality of steel, to break with any type of humanism. But it is also a sensory journey beyond the limits of the human perception and understanding. As a whole, the film is visual demonstration of the essence of the technique as Ge-stell (Heidegger), unveiling the dominant logic of the Anthropocene, that sees nature as a permanent standing reserve (Bestand). Departing from the film’s philosophical underling perspectives, this article concludes with an assessment of its consequences at a political and eco-political level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntimate Relations
Subtitle of host publicationCommunicating in the Anthropocene
EditorsAlexa M. Dare, C. Vail Fletcher
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7936-2929-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-7936-2928-9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameEnvironmentaCommunication and Nature: Conflict and Ecoculture in the Anthropocene


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