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Ecologies of the Moving Image

Cinema, Affect, Nature

Adrian J. Ivakhiv

Environmental Humanities Series

Paper 435 pp.

ISBN13: 978-1-55458-905-0

Release Date: July 2013

Online discount: 25%

$48.99  $36.74


eBook availability

This book presents an ecophilosophy of cinema: an account of the moving image in relation to the lived ecologies – material, social, and perceptual relations – within which movies are produced, consumed, and incorporated into cultural life. If cinema takes us on mental and emotional journeys, the author argues that those journeys that have reshaped our understanding of ourselves, life, and the Earth and universe. A range of styles are examined, from ethnographic and wildlife documentaries, westerns and road movies, sci-fi blockbusters and eco-disaster films to the experimental and art films of Tarkovsky, Herzog, Malick, and Brakhage, to YouTube’s expanding audio-visual universe.

Adrian Ivakhiv is a professor of environmental studies at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, where he coordinates the graduate concentration in Environmental Thought and Culture. He is the author of Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona (2001), and of numerous articles in geography, environmental studies, film and cultural studies, and religious studies. His blog, Immanence, can be found at


“This is a rich book that I feel is only beginning to reveal its significance to me.”

— Niall Flynn (Univ. of Lincoln), Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image

“The publication of Adrian J. Ivakhiv’s Ecologies of the Moving Image marks an important moment in the development of ecocritical film studies. ... Ivakhiv’s book surveys and synthesizes a vast number of critical perspectives and systematically and intelligently analyzes a staggering array of primary texts... Ivakhiv’s book will come to ve viewed as required reading for the growing ranks of ecocinema scholars.”

— Bart Welling (U of North Florida), ISLE

“not only develop[s] a form of ecocriticism appropriate to cinema, but several different strands of philosophy and film theory are also brought together into a structure that represents a general theory of cinema. ... There are thus two projects underway in this book: one to give an account of how the ’world-making’ of cinema connects materially to the world through the ’vectors’ of perception, and the other to identify and give an account of films that have historically advanced this understanding of the world as in a continuous process of flux. The two together generate three separately enjoyable products: (1) a history of classic films seen from the perspective of ecological awareness, (2) an ecological ontology of cinema, and (3) a history of ideas knitting together a significant strand of philosophy and film theory building up to an ecology of cinema.”

— Helen Hughes (Univ of Surrey), Film-Philosophy

“A capacious and authoritative ecophilosophy of the cinema [...] build[s] a theoretical framework for understanding the power of cinema both to reveal ’the world’ and to create new ways of seeing that world. [...] Ivakhiv’s grasp of ecocinema as a body of work is truly impressive. It would be hard to find a film with any hint of an environmental theme that he does not mention and discuss.”

— Joni Adamson (Arizona State University), JSRNC

“Adrian Ivakhiv’s Ecologies of the Moving Image: Cinema, Affect, Nature (2013) is a book that pushes beyond conventional reflections on film and environmental thought. It is, significantly, a book where ‘the conceptual’ and ‘the material’ enter into co-productive relationships in and through Ivakhiv’s examination of cinema and the worlds it creates.... Its scale and scope exceed the purview of the humanities and offers far-reaching conceptual and methodological insights of interest to anyone attempting to make sense of our contemporary environmental condition.”

— Harlan Morehouse, Society and Space

Ecologies of the Moving Image is an ambitious book, and a capacious and satisfying one. In addressing ‘the wild phantasmagoria of images’ among which we live today, Ivakhiv gives us an account that is at once systematic and brimming with rich detail. Moving-image forms both render imaginative worlds to us and help to constitute the world we live in; this book gives us a brilliant process-relational account of both of these dimensions of media experiences.”

— Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University

“Ivakhiv, a leading light in the emerging eco-critical film studies, wraps two themes around each other, the cinema of and as ecology. His concern is with how cinema produces worlds, lives, and human subjects intricately implicated in the processes of Earth. Marrying Whitehead, Peirce, and Deleuze with eco-philosophy, Ivakhiv gives us a rich, eloquent, wide-ranging, and moving account of movement: as world, as cinema, and as hope.”

— Sean Cubitt, Goldsmiths, University of London

“is an exquisite, complex journey through film’s capacity to produce worlds [...] an intricate, historically comprehensive edition.”

— Edie Steiner (York University), The Goose

“Reflecting the interdisciplinarity within environmental humanities, Ivakhiv impressively draws upon a century of film history, as well as critical scholarship from anthropology and geography to discuss an astonishing array of films, including ethnographies, wildlife films, blockbuster science fiction and action cinemas, experimental and essay films, digital cinema, documentaries, animated films, Westerns, road movies, and European art films. ... offers a timely and significant meditation on the material realities of moving images and the shared connections between humans and non-humans which surround them, to the benefit of scholars and graduate students alike.”

— Rachel Webb Jekanowski (Concordia University), The Journal of Ecocriticism

“Adrian Ivakhiv makes a major contribution to eco-film studies and film philosophy by proposing a process-relational theory of cinemas. The first two chapters give a lengthy exposition of the book’s theoretical and philosophical position. Central to a process-relational approach to cinema is the idea that ‘a film is what a film does’ (48). This includes the complex interaction of several processes, ‘from its making to its viewing to its after-effects, including its reverberation in viewer’s perceptions, sensations, conversations, motivations, and attunements to one thing or another in the social and material fields that constitute the world’ (48). A.N. Whitehead’s process philosophy and Charles Peirce’s tripartite phenomenological theory of semiotics provide a complex vocabulary to understand the way cinema creates worlds.... A useful Appendix gives a bullet-pointed summary of its main points and lists pertinent questions that students can ask of a given film in order to do process-relational media analysis.... Ivakhiv’s film analysis is superbly researched and insightfully synthesises existing criticism of his chosen films with his Peircian conceptual framework.... The range of reference make it indispensable for anyone interested in studying film from an ecocritical perspective.”

— David Ingram, Brunel University, London, UK, Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism