Szilvia Ruszev

WILDERNESS TRANSCENDED

POETIC CAPACITY OF WILDLIFE WEBCAMS IN TIME OF ISOLATION

Images produced by video surveillance have long been remediated by artists such as Harun Farocki and Walid Raad, conceptualizing them in the context of emerging media. As a networked medium, the live video feed has become the cinematic sensorium of the post-human individual, trapped in isolation during the Covid pandemic and driven by an experience of deep sadness as our natural habitat undergoes significant losses. Wildlife webcams become screens for the viewer’s mental images; their temporal and semantic stasis allows for a poetic mode of viewing that transcends the material image and turns it into an affective membrane that resonates with the uncertainty of the present moment. From the viewer’s confinement, reality becomes framed by the camera; the wilderness becomes public space negating human existence, amplifying the feeling of loss and grief, yet offering connection. The longing for something to happen in front of our eyes and the sensationalism and poetics of the gaze turn scopophilia into semantophilia. The live feed’s temporal synchronicity offers an unexpected intensity to address the paralyzing and yet aggravating state of the world.

Szilvia Ruszev
© Szilivia Ruszev

Szilvia Ruszev is a media artist, scholar and film editor working with moving images in various forms. She is interested in montage theories, sensual knowledge and politics of post-cinema. Her award-winning work has been part of numerous international film festivals and exhibitions such as Karlovy Vary IFF, TIFF Toronto, Berlin IFF, Siggraph, Codame and Femmebit. Between 2010 and 2016 Szilvia was a faculty member in the Film Editing Department at the Film University Babelsberg (Potsdam, Germany). Currently, she is a PhD fellow at the Media Arts + Practice Program at the University of Southern California.

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