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The Sound of Capital Being Grounded

13th May 2021 @ 7:00 pm 9:00 pm

Join Gentle/Radical for a round up of animal videos circa spring 2020, film shorts that explore human and non-human relationships, and post-screening discussion with two extraordinary speakers. 

This time last year, with the first lockdown fully underway, we started to notice the effects of urban life, being interrupted. With flights grounded, traffic halted, and noise pollution stilled whilst we Stayed. At. Home, we began to see and hear things long banished from our urban landscapes. Wildlife sightings rocketed. Birdsong was vivid and audible. People talked about nature ‘returning’. And then…the proliferation of YouTube videos. From wild boar roaming Italian plazas, geese strolling the Las Vegas strip, to mountain goats chomping residential hedges in Llandudno.

Much was written about this moment in 2020 by countless commentators. Some interpreted the shifts as visions of recovery, renewal, resurgence. What we do know is, the resurgence did not last. Arundhati Roy talked about a ‘portal’ that – if only we could step into with courage – might take us elsewhere.

Central to our fascination with animals in cities is a long-standing perception of humans and nature – as separate categories. The dualism plays out spatially in the way we think of cities as places for humans, whilst designated green space, rural areas or national parks, as places for ‘nature’. Contemporary town planning reinforces urban space as fundamentally human-centric, determining where and how ‘nature’ can be ‘fitted in’, which species get to survive, thrive, belong or be banished. 

‘The Sound of Capital Being Grounded’ references Joshua Virasami’s reflections on London Black Lives Matter activists’ shut down of City Airport in 2016, protesting environmental racism. Speaking at Gentle/Radical’s ‘Decolonising Environmentalism’ symposium in 2018, Virasami recalled: “A 90 year old resident of Newham whose quality of life is but a negative externality in the quest to fly more planes, messaged us and said she was deeply moved by the silence that morning. She couldn’t remember silence. I believe that quiet is the quiet of a new world being born, and the sound of capital being grounded.”

‘The Sound of Capital Being Grounded’ takes us back to a moment in 2020 – of animals, of cities, of silence, of portals, and of possibility that now feels lost in the obscenity of 127K deaths, the Sewell Report, 40 billion for Trident, 1% for the NHS…and more.

“Who could not be thrilled by the swell of birdsong in cities, peacocks dancing at traffic crossings and the silence in the skies” Arundhati Roy, ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’.

We’re delighted to be joined by two wonderful guests, Joshua Virasami and Spud Knowles, who will be helping us draw out the themes of this event.

Joshua Virasami is an artist, writer and political organiser whose work and activism intersects a number of political struggles and campaigning organisations. He is a key organiser with Black Lives Matter UK, and author of How to Change It, a Penguin publication on lessons for successful campaigning.

Spud Knowles is a researcher, artist, carer and Co-founder of One Fox Lane (Cardiff) a co-working and studio/arts space. Interested in just transitions, urbanism, food, plants, and relationships, their PhD research focused on sustainability and grassroots social practices in relation to urban based food growing.

Tickets are £5, £3, £1 and can be booked at Ticket Tailor: https://buytickets.at/gentleradical/509648

For any further information, please contact divya@gentleradical.org

This will be an online Zoom event and films will be subtitled.
Please do get in touch with us to discuss any further access support
Look out for Zoom details nearer the time.

This event will be live captioned and films will be subtitled.