Uneasy Living: Climate Anxiety in Contemporary Artist's Cinema: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Uneasy Living: Climate Anxiety in Contemporary Artist's Cinema

Two people walk with bicycles, a river and snowy mountains in the background
NO GO BACKS (2020)

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu May 25, 2023


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public



(Multiple Filmmakers, 2020-2022, digital, approx 60 min)


UNEASY LIVING brings together two films that reflect the acute anxiety of living in a prelude to a dystopian future. Stanya Kahn’s NO GO BACKS (2020) follows two teenagers as they escape from L.A. into the natural environments surrounding the city, driven to seek a world without adults. Kahn, an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, films her subjects in found environments across the Southland, sites which double as idyllic and apocalyptic spaces, reflecting the reality that the climate crisis is already upon us—if not always easy to see. In A THOUSAND YEARS AGO, Edgar Jorge Baralt similarly explores the landscape of Southern California, overlaying contemporary footage of the region with speculative narration that imagines how our present might look from the year 2049, on the other side of an unnamed disaster. While formally distinct, these two films both reveal how climate anxiety shapes our perception of our environments, as we envision a catastrophic future within the outlines of a troubled present.

Following the screening, Block Cinema will host a panel discussion on "Climate Change, Eco-Anxiety, and Catastrophe Media" with filmmaker Edgar Jorge Baralt and Northwestern faculty members Zayd Dohrn (Professor; Director, MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage) and Jacob Smith (Professor; Associate Department Chair; Director, Master of Arts in Sound Arts and Industries).

Presented in partnership with the Climate Crisis + Media Arts Working Group of the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and the Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts, in conjunction with the symposium, "Media and Mental Health: Exploring Contemporary Representations of Madness, Melancholy, and Trauma in Film and Television, May 25-27, 2023. Symposium info and RSVP can be found here.

Films shown:

Stanya Kahn, NO GO BACKS (2020, 34 min)

Edgar Jorge Baralt, A THOUSAND YEARS AGO (2022, 20 min)

About the filmmakers:

Stanya Kahn (b. 1968, San Francisco) is a multidisciplinary artist who works primarily in film and video with a practice that includes drawing, painting, sound and ceramics. Humor, pathos and the uncanny are central to a hybrid practice that seeks to re-work relationships between fiction and document, the real and the hyper-real, narrative time and the synchronic time of impulse. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; MoMA PS1, New York, NY; Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO; and the New Museum, New York, NY. Kahn’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art/NY, the Walker Art Center, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Edgar Jorge Baralt (b. 1988) is a Venezuelan-born filmmaker based in Chicago, whose personal work tackles questions of memory and identity, incorporating multiple formats in his practice. He obtained an MFA in Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts. His work has been programmed at different international venues and festivals, including the Berlinale, LA Filmforum, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Kasseler Dokfest, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival, among others. His films attempt to destabilize rigid ways of understanding identity, perception, and landscape.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu