Vital Coasts, Mortal Oceans: The Pearl Button as Media Environmental Philosophy
A peer-reviewed video essay and accompanying creator’s statement, published alongside a review of the video.
In The Pearl Button, Patricio Guzmán explores the role water played in shaping how indigenous peoples inhabited the coasts of the Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia through ‘cosmovisions,’ sequences that extend beyond human perception, eventually linking this inhabitation to subsequent colonial and political projects. Joni Adamson, following Leslie Marmon Silko, describes cosmovisions as a type of ‘seeing instrument’ in indigenous thought, which extends beyond immediate human perception to draw upon ecological concerns. In its translation of indigenous thought to film form, Guzmán’s cosmovisual aesthetic warrants dissection in the form of a video essay because of its complicated interplay between editing and shot distance, which establishes a critical bioregionalism that acknowledges the unique qualities of place, here the Tierra del Fuego, as well as the forces of globalization that threaten it.