A scientist reflects on her own mortality and the destiny of the planet after the end of humanity – confined to a strange artificial biosphere she calls Urth, she seems to be the last of her kind. This film by Ben Rivers (1972, United Kingdom) will open the discussion between the acclaimed filmmaker and Timothy Morton (1968, United Kingdom), one of the most influential (and controversial) contemporary writers and philosophers. His book Dark Ecology had a direct influence on Urth, but ultimately what is dark ecology?
According to Morton, dark ecology "returns uncertainty and reflection to our thinking" – we no longer believe that we can manipulate nature and other terrestrial species without this affecting us. We are part of the same "network" and, like the female scientist who could never survive beyond Urth, humans, non-humans and the planet are all interconnected and we will all suffer the same consequences. For the philosopher, who compares the form of dark ecology with film noir, we are Rick Deckard in Blade Runner – the detective who chases something which is external in order to realize that he is actually chasing himself. In this conversation, moderated by Gareth Evans, Rivers and Morton will use dark ecology to talk about the "web of fate" of the Anthropocene period. In fact, they have much in common: in addition to the links between their works, they both have a passion for dystopian literature, in particular Mary Shelley, and they’re both extremely concerned about the planet’s future.