‘Lively, radiant, lush…’ This is how colour authority Pantone Inc. describes emerald green (Pantone code 17-5641), the colour of the year for 2013. Welcome to NECSUS #3_Spring 2013 with a special section on ‘Green’. While springtime is normally an ideal season to evoke the greening of nature, our aim in this special section is to present ‘Greenness’ in a broader pallet of media-related issues, from sustainable media production to the use of the colour green in a variety of films. Emerald City comes to mind in The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939), an iconic rendering of a brilliant Technicolor green forever linked with the annus mirabilis of classical Hollywood cinema. More recently, Isabella Rosselini made it clear that we do not just think of a lush, radiant paradise when thinking about the colour green. In Green Porno (2008-present), a series of short environmental films distributed online (YouTube) and made in the spirit of George Méliès, Rosselini playfully performs as an earthworm, a firefly, a whale, and a shrimp as she guides us through the fascinating (and hilarious) variations on animal reproduction while raising critical awareness of the eco-systems of the earth. ‘Green’ has many connotations. What we offer in the special section of this new issue of NECSUS is a full spectrum of ‘green’ concerns, including a series of explorations of the many different ways in which media and ecology are entangled in our world today, fully acknowledging that media users and the media themselves are in many ways actors against nature on a planetary scale.
In Greening the Media Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller address the media’s complicity in environmental pollution and make suggestions for more sustainable media production and media use. Greening the Media not only gives us shocking insights into the deep environmental impact of media hardware but also pleas for an ecological ethics to ‘green the media’. NECSUS editor Jaap Kooijman investigates these points and more in his interview with the authors. The direct link between media, ecology, and sustainability is an important strand in which we wanted to explore ‘Green’ in this special section. Several contributions address the issue of environmental criticism in highly interesting ways, ranging from Catherine Lord on eco-mourning in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011); Enrico Camporesi on botanical aesthetics in the avant-garde films of Rose Lowder; Brady Fletcher & Cortland Rankin on urban ecology in contemporary New York City cinema; and Tyson Wils on dialectical modes of nature in Terrence Malick’s work. Another shade of this green section is climate scepticism on the web, analysed by Sabine Niederer in terms of the variety of political actors aiming to take control of the debate. Also, the topic of colour coding is addressed on a material, aesthetic, and symbolic level. In Hollywood cinema Brady Hammond feels that green has become ‘the new black’, signalling a return of political and racial issues that can be entangled in a range of contemporary films. That the colour green has certain affective qualities, especially in contrast to red, is made evident by Elizabeth Watkins in exploring the aesthetics of Jane Campion’s In the Cut (2003). We will close this special section with Sy Taffel’s ecological approach to digital media practices that involve ‘employing the technologies whose life-cycles are ostensibly the issue at hand’.
Our opening section presents contributions that address important questions in the field of media studies, ranging from Jonathan Beller on aesthetics as forms of resistance against the advertisarial relations of the media, to Alexander Dhoest & Nele Simons highlighting the resilience of television as a medium. The underexplored question of the animal in film theory is introduced by Barbara Creed, and Sean Cubitt delivers a polemic on the power of the anecdote as an evidential method. Our book review section edited by the NECS Publication Committee tackles key debates including screen dynamics and branding television, while the film festival review section edited by Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist of the Film Festival Research Network explores going east to Chernobyl and Fukushima by way of eco-testimonial encounters. We also feature an Edvard Munch exhibition/catalogue review and for the first time in NECSUS a website review (dealing with digital byproduct data). We plan to include more reviews of online content in future issues and look forward to receiving proposals on the subject. Enjoy reading NECSUS #3 and we hope to see many of you in Prague at NECS 2013 to celebrate a bountiful new crop of invigorating media studies scholarship.
NECSUS Editorial Board