Category: Forest Tales

Forest Tales is a queer, SF, ecofeminist retelling of the South Asian epic, the Ramayana, bringing the tradition out of the past, and into the present. As a speculative cinema project, it not only reimagines the epic but the cinematic form itself, drawing attention to the material and bodily facets of this medium. Rather than an energy-intensive industrial cinema that fetishes the screen, what emerges in Forest Tales is an artisanal cinema, invested in community and collaboration. It is not cinema, but the ‘cinematic’ that emerges as the unit of inquiry, expanding the frame of reference beyond the image itself, to concerns about how the image is made, circulated, consumed, deployed, and disposed of.

Originally imagined as a film, the project had intended to engage human-powered energy solutions to produce the film. However, since the most environmentally-friendly film is one that never gets made, the project now exists as a performance of the film. Based on a range of sensory inputs including sound, text, and images, participants collectively co-create an ‘imagined’ cinema, based on characters from the epic. Sita emerges as forest in this retelling, allowing me to think with forests – past/present/future, real/imagined/yet-to-come. A second trail follows the vulture Jatayu, and resurrects him with a prosthetic to tell tales at the edge of the sixth extinction.

The projects below are the many iterations of this ongoing speculative cinema project undertaken since 2015.

Resurrecting Jatayu

A Speculative Cinema Episode, produced in collaboration with Jessica Stokes.
Feb 12, 2021 @ HIVES, Michigan State University
11-1pm PST / 2-4pm EST
Join us for a session of performance, poetry, gaming, and collaborative storytelling, so we can wonder together about the queer utopias that are latent in our impaired landscapes and disabled ecologies.