Grassland excavates the layers of belief, ecology, practice, and materiality that underlie a working landscape on the Colorado high plains. Less explication than essay, the film merges meditative original footage with collage animations and expressive sound to give form to the landscape’s hidden histories.

  • Sarah Kanouse
    Around Crab Orchard
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 15, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Experiments in Cinema
    Albuquerque, NM
    United States
    April 18, 2019
  • Twisted Oyster Film and Media Festival
    Kefalonia Island
    May 3, 2019
Director Biography - Sarah Kanouse

Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist and critical writer examining the politics of landscape and space. Migrating between video, photography, and performative forms, her re- search-based creative projects shift the visual dimension of the landscape to allow hidden stories of environmental and social transformation to emerge. Her creative work has been screened or exhibited at Documenta 13, the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, the Cooper Union, the Clark Art Institute, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and in numerous academic institutions as CUNY Graduate Center, George Mason University, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin. She has written about performative and site-based contemporary art practices in the journals Acme, Leonardo, Parallax, and Art Journal, as well the edit- ed volumes Ecologies, Agents, Terrains; Critical Landscapes, Art Against the Law, and Mapping Environmental Issues in the City.

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Director Statement

I explore the affects, politics, and aesthetics of landscape using performance, film/video, and socially-engaged art. While my early work addressed spaces shaped by political struggle, the growing ecological crisis has prompted me to focus on grieving and caring for the damaged landscapes of everyday life. The “slow violence” of global warming—with its spiking rates of extinction, mass displacement, soil loss, and pollinator collapse—intensify existing forms of social violence and challenge the limits of narrative itself. If climate change represents a change of geologic proportions, as many scientists believe, it requires we re-evaluate everything that came before: Western concepts of the autonomous individual, an economics based on perpetual growth, and values systems structured around (some) humans’ needs. The stories we tell about climate change must be big enough to capture complexity, surprising enough to make unexpected connections, and small enough for intimacy, identification, and action.