1 “My work from the very beginning has always been invested in looking and listening, and I’ve always believed that to learn anything it takes time. And that means that one has to practice paying attention… my works provide that experience for an audience, where they can pay attention to things.” James Benning quoted in AV Festival, “AV Festival 12: James Benning Interview,” YouTube Video, 10:14, filmed March 2012, posted April 2013, https://youtube.com/IeurHBq3BRI.
2 James Benning quoted in AV Festival, “AV Festival 12: James Benning: Nightfall Pos Screening Q and A,” YouTube Video, filmed March 2012, posted April 2013, https://www.youtube.com/1MqGt7OuOxE
3 “These films and videos are the inverse of the fundamentally hysterical approach of commercial media, and advertising in particular, where consumption of the maximum number of images per minute models unbridled consumption of products and the unrestrained industrial exploitation of the environment within which these products are produced and consumed.” See: Scott MacDonald, “The Ecocinema Experience,” in Ecocinema Theory and Practice, eds. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubitt (New York: Routledge, 2013), 19-20.
4 André Bazin, “The Virtues and Limitations of Montage,” in What is Cinema? (Vol. 1), trans. Hugh Gray (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), 48.
5 Lucien Taylor, “Iconophobia,” Transition 69 (1996), 75-76. Emphasis mine.
6 Consider, for instance, Jacques Lacan’s theorization of desire as the function of a mediating “separation of the subject in experience” (Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans. Alan Sheridan [London, UK: Routledge, 1977], 274). More recently, Jean-Luc Nancy reminds us that “the law of touching is separation” (Nancy, Being Singular Plural, trans. Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. O’Byrne [Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000], 5).
7 Laura J. Martin, “Proving Grounds: Ecological Fieldwork in the Pacific and the Materialization of Ecosystems,” Environmental History 23 (July 2018): 569.
8 Christopher Uhl, Developing Ecological Consciousness: The End of Separation (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), 206.
9 Peter Gidal, Materialist Film (New York: Routledge, 1989), 6.
10 Malcolm LeGrice, “Kurt Kren’s films,” Studio International, Film Issue, November 1975, p. 187. Quoted in Gidal, op. cit., 10.
11 Mubarak Ali, “Everything That Rises Must Converge: Some Notes on Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis,” Mubi Notebook (14 June, 2010), https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/everything-that-rises-must-converge-some-notes-on-trees-of-syntax-leaves-of-axis
12 Here I am in agreement with Tony Pipolo, who aptly labels Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis a “furiously condensed lesson in the passage from naturalism to modernism.” He goes on to observe that, “the central tree is as much subject as ground, fixing our gaze at an axis to accommodate the hundreds (thousands?) of cuts, overlaps, and rest stops that reconfigure the forest of colors and foliage that seems to spring from and bear upon it as so many permutations of phrases in a poem.” See: Tony Pipolo, “Film Cool,” Artforum online film column, December 6, 2016, https://www.artforum.com/film/tony-pipolo-on-daichi-saito-65147.
13 Daïchi Saïto, Moving the Sleeping Images of Things Towards the Light (Montréal: Les éditions Le Laps, 2013), 63.
14 William H. Drury and Ian C. T. Nisbet, “Succession,” Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 54 (July 1973): 360
15 Donald Worster, Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 391.
16 Neyrat has laid out this argument in a number of essays and books, most explicitly in Frédéric Neyrat, “Elements for an Ecology of Separation: Beyond Ecological Constructivism,” trans. James Burton, in General Ecology: A New Ecological Paradigm, eds. Erich Hörl and James Burton (London: Bloomsbury, 2017). Also see the forthcoming monograph: The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation, trans. Drew S. Burke (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018).
17 Neyrat, ibid, 101.
18 Neyrat, ibid, 121.
19 Neyrat, ibid, 121.
20 André Habib, “Somewhere I have never travelled: Engram of Returning,” Found Footage Magazine 2 (March 2016).