Trading the Future

b.h. Yael

2008, 59:00 minutes, colour, English


Trading the Future is a video essay that questions the inevitability of apocalypse and its repercussions on environmental urgencies. Starting with a personal memory, the fear of the rapture, the video addresses the Christian narrative for the end of times, and draws connections to secular apocalypticism and our ready acceptance of a cataclysmic end. The video also challenges the philosophical and practical underpinnings of the symbolic of death, the desirability of the growth of the market place, and the politics of apocalypse, while proposing possible alternatives in the idea of natality, the productivity of biodiversity and the agency of everyday activism.

Decidedly un-heroic, or non-messianic, Trading the Future refuses to reproduce the apocalyptic images that we have been inundated with in media and movies. Instead everyday and contextual images from the locations of travel, cities and the natural world, are combined into experimental and impressionistic montages, integrated with interviews and voice over narration. Twelve chapters create a complex weave of ideas, combining street interviews and dialogues with academics and activists: Grace Jantzen, Valerie Langer, David Noble, Lee Quinby, and Vandana Shiva.

b.h. Yael traveled from Toronto to Patmos Island in Greece (where John wrote the book of Revelation), from Tofino, B.C. to New York, from England to Megiddo in northern Israel. The question of why we have not done more to allay environmental degradation and the desire to challenge our readings and assumptions of ‘the end of time’ has fueled this quest.

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