Film Seminar: Watermark

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Film has always been a preferred medium for representing the human engagement with water. Humans coexist with oceans, rivers, fjords, and lakes. We develop waterworks, fisheries, hydroelectric plants, and recreational beaches. In cinema, the sensory experiences of sight and sound evoke the tastes, textures, and scents of the ocean, and of water . Today’s filmmakers provoke us to question our longstanding assumptions about the ocean as an infinitely replenishing resource, just as environmental scientists and activists warn that human activity has already pushed the Earth’s hydrosphere too far.

This seminar presents beautiful and provocative films as a springboard for discussions about contemporary attitudes toward the waters of our planet. The Canadian film Watermark takes a sweeping global view of these questions, while Sami artist Sissel M. Bergh’s film #tjaetsie (water) reminds us that indigenous conceptions of water differ in important ways from the dominant paradigms rooted in commercial instrumentalization of the ocean, as habitat to more-than-human life forms such as fish and as a site that features in human spiritual traditions.



Watermark (Baichwal & Burtynsky, 2012)

Watermark brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how and why we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it, and the consequences of that use. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video, the viewer is immersed in a magnificent force of nature that we all too often take for granted—until it’s gone. 


#tjaetsie (Bergh, 2017)

#tjaetsie asks how humans relate to water and form a connection with it. It calls upon us to get to know the inhabitants of the Trondheim fjord and the ocean, before it is too late. 



10.00: Welcome. 

Associate Professor Asbjørn Tiller, Dept of Art & Media Studies NTNU


Introduction to Watermark:

Associate Professor Sara Brinch, Dept of Art and Media Studies NTNU

Environmental Humanities Research Group


10.30: Screening: Watermark (Baichwal & Burtynsky, 2012)


12.30: Break


13.00: Introduction to #tjaetsie:

Associate Professor Ilona Hongisto, Dept of Art and Media Studies, NTNU


13.15: Screening #tjaetsie (Bergh, 2017)


13.40: Panel Discussion: Human/Ocean/Water

Moderated by Julia Leyda, IKM, NTNU Environmental Humanities Research Group


Associate Professor Sara Brinch

Associate Professor Ilona Hongisto

Associate Professor Thomas Brandt



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