The Most Beautiful Catastrophe

APART collective made a visit to the region of upper Nitra to film a short movie The Most Beautiful Catastrophe, concerning coal mining and its impact on the living environment. It is our contribution, on how we try to approach ever so more growing threat of the climate change, which became a crucial topic for us to examine by artistic and activistic means. The film ties to the last year’s exhibition Continuously Growing Underground Stems: Geopoetics in time of Anthropocene, where we worked in close cooperation with Lukáš Likavčan to elaborate the topic of technological progress and its impact on global warming and on the contrary, the question of geopoetical writing with the planet, not about the planet.

What Chernobyl means for nuclear energy, climate changes means for technologies driven by fossil fuels. The way we approach our future can therefore leave nothing to chance – we must plan, think, recalculate and contextualize our existence within the planetary ecosystem. That is why we need radical political and technological imagination which pulls down the ideas of what the limits and possibilities of individual human bodies are.

We chose Kosovsko-Laskár wetlands as a key motive, located in the Central-Western Slovakia, rare and probably the only example of emerging wetlands and marshes in Slovakia. They form as a by-product of the underground extraction of coal near the Nitra river. These wetlands have been created for over 40 years of coal mining done under the surface. The landscape has been changed, large sinkholes have been created, affecting the housing. This landscape change has pushed people away from the area, forming biotopes as a way for the nature to even out with the radical intervention to the ecosystem. After several years it was abused again by a crisis situation in the still operating mine, which drained the water from its flooded bowels to the surface. The miners began to pump it straight into the creek, their skin was burned. Water mixture of ash and hydraulic emulsion managed to kill all life in that creek and all of its ichthyofauna.

Things got into movement, when just a week and a half after our visit of the mines and coal power plant in Nováky, group of twelve Greenpeace activists climbed on the top of the mining rig and hanged their transparent – asking for the end of the coal age . After the expected contact with the police they were sent to the toughest prison in Ilava to wait for further hearing under the restriction of their freedom. We consider the fact that the the seizure of the mines takes authorities such long time to execute and securing the local miner population a decent life after the closure an absolute nonsense. The planned closure of the mines in Slovakia and as well in other countries is planned in 2030, which is undoubtedly late with the prognosis of the world climate changes.

The theoretician Benjamin H. Bratton even challenges the humankind to engage with prudence in the practice of committed geodesign to avert the impending ecological disaster. In other words – we need more daring geopoetics and less stupid geoengineering.

Commissioned work by CSW Kronika for the exhibition The Most Beautiful Catastrophe curated by Jakub Gawkowski Bytom, Poland 2018

ScreenplayDenis Kozerawskiart directionAndrej Žabkaycamera and editDenis KozerawskisoundscapeChaosdroidthanksObservatory PartizánskeTextPeter SitVoiceChiara RendekováExcerpt From PoemWilliam Butler Yeats

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