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Coming Down to Earth
“To resist this loss of a common orientation, we shall have to come down to earth; we shall have to land somewhere. So, we shall have to learn how to get our bearings, how to orient ourselves. And to do this we need something like a map of the positions imposed by the new landscape within which not only the affects of public life but also its stakes are being redefined.”
– from Bruno Latour, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climate Regime
The modern world has proved insatiable in its desire for infinite economic ‘development’ and ‘growth’ on a finite planet. As a species, we humans have geared ourselves to climb upwards into the utopic heaven of success and prosperity. Yet, in the wake of today’s global socio-political and environmental landscape, our relations with each other and with the natural world are being defined by conflict. The logics of colonialism mean that borders, enclosure, incarceration, gentrification, evictions, unregulated industrial activity and hostile social policies are threatening interhuman and interspecies wellbeing. Where some are fighting for the sanctity and preservation of life, others, with the force of all imaginable resources, are fighting for the production of capital.
Coming Down to Earth is a new audio documentary by artist Tanatsei Gambura echoing the call that there is no heaven to reach towards; only an earth to come down to. For decades, this has been the knowledge advanced by indigenous communities, land defenders, environmental protestors and social justice activists. Commissioned for Take One Action Film Festivals’ 2022 edition, the audio work brings together an assemblage of sounds that reflect global discourse around land. It seeks to ground listeners in an awareness of their relationship with place and the fact that human survival is dependent on the land. Through the auditory documentation of historical land protests, memorable speeches, and environmental field recordings, a soundscape of resistance emerges. It emphasises that any life we can imagine will be situated on the physical and discursive terrain of land, and it is in this defence of this reality that a liberatory future must be defined.
About the artist
Tanatsei Gambura is a poet, new-genres artist, and cultural practitioner engaged in translocal research and fieldwork-based activities. She draws from lived experience, contemplating land, indigeneity, and the contemporary moment as they materialise on colonised sites. Through an autoethnographic approach, Tanatsei considers the dichotomy of forgetting and remembering as a productive space in which violence and trauma can be understood.
Coming Down to Earth is not a live event, rather an audio piece that will be available to listen to in a setting of your choice between Friday 16 September and Sunday 30 October.
By registering for this event, you will receive a link to listen to the artwork, along with notes and a transcript, in your email confirmation from Eventbrite.