High hopes in low light
I don’t know about you but I’m pretty confused these days. Spin seems to dominate and logical, empirical decision-making seems to be out of the window. I think it was the same for the clans of the Ikundi Ku that I spent time with during a recent filming trip to Papua New Guinea. Their world is changing fast and their outlook on the options and possibilities hazy at best. Decisions have to be made, they can no longer live as they had. The outside world had crossed into their physical and psychological territory. The young saw opportunity, the elderly saw a balance of the risks and I think, a fear, born of deep pulse of our collective clan histories. A pulse rarely felt by us.
Reflecting now on what I saw, it seems more and more that it’s the same predicament we’re all facing. Our predicament in the modernised western world is just far less threatening in its immediacy, yet far more expansive in it’s implications for the planet and our future on it. We’re too familiar with overcoming adversity and too complacent of a century of exponential growth in material consumption.
I could rave on at length about the brilliant filming opportunity and the magic of working with only the flickering light of an open fire and a few head torches brought by the small crew I was working with, but I’ll just let the footage do the explaining.
I’ve never been much for filming people but I guess with age comes a broader perspective. Sharing the sense of discovery with the Ikundi Ku as they tried to peer into the future was something that has stayed with me. I was watching the Anthropocene arrive at one of it’s last and first destinations. Sure, humans have been busily making New Guinea home for tens of thousands of years, but within a set of rules written by nature. Their realisation, whether conscious or not, was that somehow what the outside world offers is a way to bend or break those rules. Our modern hubris. Pure spin.