Friday Nov,18 2011 7.30-9pm
Mocap studio, Intersections Digital Studios, Emily Carr University

Dendronotus iris, Dendronotus balloonis, video, 2010
by Karolle Wall

“Dendronotus iris, Dendronotus balloonis”, a short serendipitous underwater video that highlights an interaction between humans and animals rarely, if ever, seen. Dendronotus iris is a species of nudibranch (sea slug) known for its ability to swim and dance when separated from its host and food source at the bottom of the sea. Dendronotus balloonis, is a man-made rubber species known to be an instrument of death when ingested by sea turtles, sharks, albatross, sea turtles and marine mammals. The discarded balloons’ resemblance to jellies, and other sea life becomes strikingly obvious when this dancing nudibranch is drawn time and time again to the colour and form of two red and yellow creatures whose short lives marked the celebration of the opening of a Child Development Centre and someone’s 40th birthday. Neurological studies on nudibranchs have concluded that these tiny mollusks not only have the ability to visually perceive their environment, they have cognitive abilities that can aid in understanding humankind’s memory and attention spans. Given our inability to remember the negative effects of latex and rubber on aquatic life, the irony is obvious.

Karolle Wall is a filmmaker, photographer and writer whose work reflects her passion for marine biology, environmental ethics, indigenous ecological knowledge and water. The unlikely mollusk, be it a ½ inch nudibranch (sea slug) or eighteen inch moon snail, features prominently in her films, drawing attention to our ever increasing need to value patience, caution, and primary observation as significant forms of interacting with the non-human world.

Karolle is an Associate Professor in Critical + Cultural Studies at Emily Carr University, where she teaches courses in writing, literature, film, rhetoric, and environmental ethics. She is currently collaborating with Rita Wong and others on a SSHRC grant entitled “Downstream: the poetics of water,” which will culminate in a symposium and exhibition on World Water Day 2012. Her film Imush Q’uyatl’un, made in collaboration with Penelaxuuth elder Florence James, has been shown at environmental and aboriginal film festivals around the world. She has published poetry, reviews and articles in numerous journals and exhibited her photographs and installations at various group shows throughout British Columbia. Land and ocean conservancy groups (and even dance troops) call on her to document everything from healing water ceremonies to indigenous accounts of species at risk. She believes in social activism as much as she believes in bearing witness and cherishing the beauty and fragility of the non-human life that lives in that liminal space we call the intertidal zone.

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