The Mistra Environmental Communication Research Programme Component at the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism (ICSJ)

Videos

“Power and Gardens” is a four-part video essay by Nico Carpentier that investigates how human-nature relationships are condensed in the gardens of the European cities of Paris, Lyon and Prague. Driven by a discursive-material analysis, the essay is a reflection on how gardens are locations where nature is tamed, and how they often perform an anthropocentric ideology that is strengthened by a series of other discourses, such as capitalism and colonialism. These discourses are not disconnected from the material world; they are, on the contrary, entangled with a series of material gardening practices where nature is used as a sculpting element, where the threat of the wilderness is removed, where exotic nature becomes an object of display, where humans organize commemoration and entertainment, and where biotic life is created. While the first part (“Domesticating Nature”) provides the more theoretical backbone of this discursive-material analysis, the second part of the essay (“Ways of Taming”) discusses the taming mechanisms that tilt the power relations towards humans. The third part (“Gardens and Class”) then moves away from the royal gardens, and shows how gardens have been, for centuries, sites of societal struggle, for instance between different class positions, and between the logic of privatization and the commons. The fourth and final part (“Nature’s Agency”) analyses how nature resists the human disciplining attempts, and can exercise its own agencies. This final part of the essay concludes with a reflection on the ideal garden, and the need to develop more (and new) synergetic models for gardens that rethink the power relations between humans and nature in more fundamental ways. Power and Gardens, Concept, production and research: Nico Carpentier; Camera: Vaia Doudaki and Nico Carpentier; Production assistant Lyon: Cecília Avelino.
“New Modes of Environmental Communication: Four Street Art Experiments” is a 23:34-minute documentary film by Ali Minanto, that reflects on how knowledge about the environment is produced and shared in creative ways, moving beyond the, sometimes, narrow spaces of academia, without disregarding academic knowledge. One of these spaces of knowledge production and creative communication is street art, where artistic aesthetics and practices of civic expression are combined. This video features the experiment, where academic researchers, based at Charles University in Prague and affiliated to the Mistra Environmental Communication Research Program and the 4EU+ European University Alliance, commissioned four Indonesian street artists to produce four street artworks in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta: “Welcome New Pollution” by Anagard, “Plant Trees Plant Hope” by Guerrillas, “Plastic Reduce” by Kinky Twenty, and “Planting Determination” by Young Surakarta. Embedded in deeply localized knowledge about the environment and with great communicative eloquence, these street artworks provide visual (and highly visible) alternative discourses that critique indifference towards, and exploitation of, the environment. In the documentary, we see Anagard reflect about the phenomenon of medical waste (in particular the disposal of masks used during the pandemic). Guerrillas critiques the rampant forest fires in Indonesia, used as a deforestation tool by plantation corporations. Kinky Twenty’s work is about the environmental threat posed by plastic waste. And finally, Young Surakarta emphasizes the need of planting trees as a way to protect the environment and to help to ensure humankind’s survival. New Modes of Environmental Communication: Four Street Art Experiments, Author and Director: Ali Minanto, Concept: Nico Carpentier and Vaia Doudaki
“Conceptualization of Change” is a 12-minute film that provides a theoretical reflection on the signifier “change”, and its five dimensions: Normativity, Scale and Intensity, Focus, Control and Time. Filmed in Prague, with the integration of archive material that is mostly related to the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the essay unpacks the significatory complexity of change, mapping the diversity of meanings that have been allocated to this notion. The film’s five chapters organize a dialogue between fast-paced and still poetic imaginaries and voice-overs, starting with the normativity of change, and its utopian and dystopian meanings. The Scale and Intensity chapter reflects on the sometimes minute and sometimes all-encompassing nature of change, combined with its hegemonic and counter-hegemonic roles. The Focus chapter deals with the autonomy and dependency of change, while the Control chapter focusses on how change can be controlled and controlling. Finally, the Time chapter brings in differences between process and outcome, and patterns and events. Analytically and methodologically, the film uses a post-structuralist paradigm to assist theory formation, grounded in, and combined with, an analysis of the content produced for the Mediating Change Colloquium, that took place in Prague on 20 and 21 November 2020. To render this source of inspiration and analysis visible, the film starts with a one-minute preamble, including a selection of voices from this Colloquium, in order to then shift to a more general theoretical discussion on change, with its five dimensions. Conceptualization of Change by Kristýna Kopřivová, Nico Carpentier and Vaia Doudaki. Director: Kristýna Kopřivová, Text authors: Nico Carpentier and Vaia Doudaki, Screenwriter: Kristýna Kopřivová and DoP: Helena Fikerova and Kristýna Kopřivová
Introducing Silencing/Unsilencing Nature is an introductory video about the article "Silencing / Unsilencing Nature. A Participatory Visual Essay on the Right to Flourish", by Nico Carpentier. The article was published in the Special Issue on Arts-Based Research in Communication and Media Studies, in Comunicazioni Sociali (2021). Free download at https://bit.ly/3a0eR8m.

Introducing Silencing / Unsilencing Nature from Nico Carpentier on Vimeo.

Silencing / Unsilencing Nature is an educational package that unpacks the relationship between humans and nature, and how nature often has been silenced. The package consists of an introductory video, four mini-lectures on video (each with one or two exercises), two assignment videos, an epilogue video and a workshop script.. The educational package Silencing / Unsilencing Nature from Nico Carpentier on Vimeo. The package is available upon motivated request, free of charge, by emailing Nico Carpentier, after which a password will be provided. Please use the contact email address in the menu above.
A short video presentation on work package 5 introduces the work of Mistra Environmental Communication research team at the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism (ICSJ) at Charles University. Studying the struggles between the different environmental and sustainability discourses, while, at the same time, working on developing strategies for a constructive engagement with new or marginalised perspectives on issues related to the planet, the team examines three communicative fields: audio-visual media, social media, and the arts.

Media, Arts & Environmental Communication from Nico Carpentier on Vimeo.