November 15, 2018

Have we distanced ourselves too much from the natural world?

Helen Woolston


After a trip in the Amazonas in South America listening to some of the beliefs within indigenous groups of the area, I was inspired to make a film which was an investigation into how we as humans in the modern occidental world interact with our natural surroundings: how different that is from those animistic beliefs, and how we perhaps have lost something in distancing ourselves from the natural world we inhabit. Perhaps by having an attitude of objectifying and encasing elements of our natural world, we have ‘blinded ‘ ourselves to something which could enrich life: a solidarity with the other elements of our world. Nowadays, I think challenging the norms of how we interact with non-human aspects of the world is extremely important, as enormous challenges such as environmental destruction are happening around us. Perhaps this means we need to have a major shift, or major evolution, in the way we relate to our environment: a way of living in our world which is more inclusive and symbiotic. Perhaps actually, by taking a step back to reconsider more open ways to interact with nature, such as animism, we could discover a more positive way to go forward.


Tendrils, stop motion animated film.

Graduation Film made at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Animation Department, 2017. When one human finds shelter inside a botanical glasshouse, the plants use their strange beauty to tease and play with him, trying to reawaken a dormant connection. However, the plants have a completely different set of social norms than the visitor is accustomed to.

For more work like this, visit Helen’s website.