From Format to Forest: Media and the Amazon in the Environmental Crisis

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Focusing on Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela, From Format to Forest: Media and the Amazon in the Environmental Crisis calls for urgent attention to the ecological dimension of media by examining a transnational region where colonial and neo-colonial histories unfold alongside the uneven impact of climate change. As it acknowledges the embeddedness of technologies in economies of extraction, this dissertation argues for the Amazon’s centrality to understanding the reciprocity between media and environment. While conveying how trees and rivers not only register historical violence but also suggest critical responses to it, I both foreground the forest’s participation in creative processes as a category to think across the human and non-human and propose format as the analytical tool that accounts for these relationalities. I analyze the function of the canopy in a multisensory virtual reality experience and a forensic architecture investigation that center Indigenous sovereignty; the photographic role of rivers in Sebastião Salgado’s conservationist images of Amazonian landscapes; the potential of embodying a kapok tree through a virtual reality installation; and the implications of using 35mm film to render the forest in Embrace of the Serpent. By unpacking articulations of technology, culture, and nature, these chapters advocate for a film and media theory that recognizes the interconnectedness between human beings and the environment and searches for new relational possibilities to confront the environmental crisis.

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190 pages


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Amazonia; ecocinema; ecomedia; environmental crisis; format theory


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Union Local


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Keller, Patricia
McEnaney, Thomas

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Villarejo, Amy

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Romance Studies

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Ph. D., Romance Studies

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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