In the late 1960’s, a burgeoning group of counter-culture artists and designers began to develop ideas around “free-form environments”—spaces inspired by organic forms and liberated from the conventions of traditional design and architecture. A leading figure in this movement, Wendell Castle’s womb-like meditation chamber, “Environment for Contemplation”, serves as a point of departure for this series of environmental shorts reflecting on nature.
Three Encyclopedia Britannica Films by Bert Van Bork:
“Aging of Lakes” (1971, 16mm transferred to digital video, 18min)
“Falling Water” (1976, 16mm transferred to digital video, 13min) * musical score by Ray Lynch
“Evolution of Landscapes” (1986, 16mm transferred to digital video, 19min)
(Courtesy of the Chicago Film Archive)
In the years immediately following the creation of the Environmental Protective Agency, Bert Van Bork made a series of 16mm educational shorts with various collaborators including professors at UC Davis and the American Geological Institute. With sweeping panoramas of the open West, colorful illustrations on the progression of microcosmic life, and powerful allegations about the rapid onset of pollution, these incredibly rare films provide an expansive view of the shifting American landscape.
“The Man Who Planted Trees”
1987, Dir. Frédéric Back
Considered by some to be the greatest animated film ever made, this Oscar-winning short was the astonishing culmination of Frédéric Back’s painstaking frame-by-frame talents. Based on Jean Giono’s allegory about a shepherd’s attempt to re-forest the Alps, Back’s animation lifts the story into lyrical visual poetry.
(THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.)
Environment for Contemplation is co-curated by Katerina Llanes, Manager of Public Programs and Carson Parish, Audiovisual Coordinator
This program is in conjunction with the exhibition Wendell Castle Remastered