Research Centre for Film

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Recent film submissions - Polluted Leisure

Recent film submissions supported by the Research Centre for Film

Far from Heaven
In 1997 Australian Indigenous artist Tracey Moffat released a short film entitled Heaven. It inverted the white male colonial gaze directed at Indigenous women since colonisation. Moffatt compiles home video footage of fit young male surfers posing, surfing, and changing into and out of wetsuits. In Far from Heaven we pick up on this consideration from an older white male surfer perspective, one whose body is not hard but soft and vulnerable. For many such surfers the wetsuit is armour, advertised by companies through militaristic (its genesis) and cyborgian tropes. It is a ‘second-skin’ infused with histories of colonisation, a petrochemical industrial complex, and attendant wars. Polluted leisure is gendered, raced, colonial, and capitalist. White men-who-surf are ‘far from heaven’.


Toxic Love Affair
A Toxic Love Affair explores Surf-breaks that are formed by pollution. For example, one of the best in the UK is a product of slag, pollution stemming from a century old steel industry. Uncertainty remains about water quality in this region given surrounding chemical plant, agricultural runoff, shipping, nuclear power, and much more. Surfers fall ill. Some use the illness and braving the pollution to gesture toward their resilience and commitment to surfing. It is not just the bitter cold of this region that signifies such. Polluted leisure is material and cultural.

Far from heaven poster

published on: 3 January 2019