Solastalgic Aesthetics and Living Extinctions in SGAAWAAY K’UUNA (Edge of the Knife)

Roberdeau, Wood. 2024. 'Solastalgic Aesthetics and Living Extinctions in SGAAWAAY K’UUNA (Edge of the Knife)'. In: The Aesthetics of Geopower: Imagining Planetary Histories and Hegemonies. University of Amsterdam, Netherlands 4 - 5 April 2024. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

‘Solastalgia’, a term coined by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, refers to indigenous communities in a state of suffering and powerlessness in the face of anthropogenically induced crises to their homelands or dwelling places. From the Latin solacium (comfort) and algia (pain, sorrow), it is ‘a form of home sickness one gets when one is still at “home”.’ (2005) In Edge of the Knife, it is embodied by a figure (the Gaagiixiid or Wildman) who is exiled from his community into a wilderness where he transforms, atones, and eventually is redeemed. The film acts as a memorial response to contemporary conditions, primarily by addressing the threat of extinction not only to the topophilian relationship the Haida people have to Haida Gwaii, but also, significantly, to their native language also at risk of being lost. Robin Wall Kimmerer notes, ‘born of our fears and our failings, Wendigo is the name for that within us which cares more for its own survival than for anything else.’ (2013) This paper asks, how can such wisdom and modes of resisting oppressive hegemonies inform a reciprocal ecological relationship within the lived environment?

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Visual Cultures


4 April 2024Completed

Event Location:

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Date range:

4 - 5 April 2024

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Date Deposited:

15 Mar 2024 15:20

Last Modified:

16 Mar 2024 14:41


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