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The inaugural ReWilding: Climate-Focused Experimental Media-Arts Festival presents experimental climate-focused films, video art, and animations that move beyond documenting issues to engage audiences and spur activism.


The festival will coincide with Western Michigan University's (WMU) Climate Emergency: Spring into Action 2024 hosted by the WMU Climate Change Working Group.

Co-curated by Jacklyn Brickman & Eric Souther with assistance from KI student Natalie Wiersema

The following program consists of 15 Artists from around the world. Artist in order of the presented program:

RIP 9-5

Ben Alderman, United States

A Land Memory

T.J. Blanco, United Stated // Honduras, Columbia

A Valley Without Trees

Janelle VanderKelen, United States

coal mine

Ewelina Wƒôgiel, Belgium
If Only We Had Eyes To See

Peter Whittenberger, United States
Half Life

Laura Iancu, Romania
The Floating Gardens

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Mexico
Damp Moss

Christopher Thompson, United States

kaua ªi  ª≈ç ª≈ç

Samy Benammar, Canada

Anna Firth, United States
Life Touching Life, Episode 1: true love

Dakota Gearhart, United States
the static, the steam, the smoke

Lindsey French, Canada
Natural Disasters

Tiffany Jiang, United States // Chinese American
Lens is to Blame

Gosia Lehmann, Germany
The Stream XII-II

Hiroya Sakurai, Japan

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RIP 9-5

A Y2K apocalypse takes place inside of computers as a result of binary code and monopoly capitalism.

Director - Ben Alderman

Ben Alderman, also known as Wen-Ben, is an award-winning mixed-media moving image artist who specializes in hand-drawn aesthetics. Heavily influenced by postmodernism, he appropriates popular cultural icons, symbols, and images in his work. Several of his moving image projects have garnered international awards. His project from his first year at the Royal College of Art, 'RIP 9-5,' was honored with selections for BAFTA-qualifying film festivals such as the London Short Film Festival and the Bolton Film Festival. For more information, visit

ALM still 1.png

A Land Memory

A Land Memory asks after the response-ability of the living to the dead and the land they lay inside. The story revolves around the lives and deaths of farmworkers in Colombia, the state-sanctioned murder of Lenca land defender--Berta Cáceres-- and the filmmaker's own relation to their birth-land of Honduras.

Director - T.J. Blanco

Jordan "T.J." Blanco b.1998, is a white Latine, non-binary, experimental filmmaker based in Milwaukee, WI. They are interested in ancestral memory, mythic construction and the everyday absurdity of life under Neoliberalist Late-Stage Capitalism. Their work seeks to mine memory and hold the spirit, as an act of resistance to the psychic numbing of the contemporaneous moment many of us find ourselves in.


A Valley Without Trees

In "A Valley Without Trees," the lowly onion that burrows into the soil and spends most of its life underground is cast as an interpreter or potential sensory prosthetic that offers a different way of understanding (and perhaps communicating with) the land, planet, and cosmos in which it grows.

Director Biography - Janelle VanderKelen

Janelle VanderKelen is an artist, curator, and educator currently based in Milwaukee, WI. Her films and intermedia installations imagine alternative acts of relation between imperfect bodies (human, vegetal, geological, or otherwise) and make visible the agency of plants through experimental time-based media processes.


VanderKelen’s work has been exhibited at institutions including the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, CO; Anthology Film Archives in New York; and Bow Arts in London, England. Her films have screened at Athens International Film + Video Festival, Revelation Perth International Film Festival, IC DOCS, San Diego Underground Film Festival, and Antimatter [Media Art] Film Festival.

She currently co-curates a monthly non-profit screening series called aCinema with Takahiro Suzuki and teaches film and video at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she received both her MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres and her MA in Intermedia Art.


Coal Mine

A cacaphony of tales coming out of the ground told from the perspective of a coal mine that can be seen from the moon.

Director – Ewelina Wegiel

Multimedia artist interested in quasi-documentary work that puts her in contact with various human and non-human communities. Together with them, she looks at contemporary intuitions in the context of post-end-of-the-world reality.

In addition to the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, she studied at the the UdK University in Berlin, the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. Her works have been shown nationally and internationally- at Piccadilly Circus in London (by Circa Gallery and Dazed Magazine), at Manifesta 14, in Zachęta National Gallery, in Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Polish Sculptural Centre in Orońsko and are part of the Secondary Archive. After a year long residency organised by Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin and Münchner Kammerspiele, together with Anna Mazurek directed a piece in Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin. Laureate of Best Art Diplomas Competition in Gdańsk, finalist of the Class of 2021 (Circa, Dazed), Artistic Journey of Hestia competitions. She has collaborated with the Goethe Institute and the Harun Farocki Institute.


If Only We Had Eyes To See

If Only We Had Eyes To See explores how quickly fortunes can change for gatekeepers of safety, natural resources, and wealth in the ravages of climate change. Trapped by antiquated concepts of nationalism and land rights, a lone figure is left to find safety in an world that denies migration as a fundamental human right.


Director - Peter Whittenberger

Peter Whittenberger is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker whose work explores how the nature of the landscape serves as a continuous network of time and history, containing the data of all Earth’s species. Whittenberger has presented his work at the FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Digerati Emergent Media Festival in Denver, CO, the Future Visions Festival in Tokyo, Japan, the 2-Minute Film Festival at the Carnegie

Museum of Art in Pittsburg, PA, and many others across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, South America, and Australia. His work has also received funding from the Puffin Foundation and the Reno-Tahoe Artists Award for Best in Digital Media. Growing up in Southeastern Montana, Whittenberger received his BFA from the University of Montana, Missoula in Printmaking and his MFA from the University of Nevada, Reno in Interdisciplinary Art. Currently, Whittenberger lives and works in Reno, Nevada with his wife, three dogs, and two ferrets.


Half Life

Different worlds at different time scales.


Director - Laura Lancu

Iancu is a visual artist working primarily in experimental video forms and immersive 3D animation & gaming, with an expanded practice of installation and photography. Originally from Romania, she has been teaching, and making images in the US for more a decade. Currently Laura is an assistant professor of film production at Virginia Tech, School of Performing Arts.


Thematically she works around issues of ecology, ethnography, civic and political resistance under oppressive regimes of power and forms of humor as subversion mechanisms for prescriptive discourses and


representations. Her work originates from puzzling together all the hints of the world, the gestural intertextuality, the perceptive and surface qualities of objects, geographical mappings, aspects of sound art, critical theory, poetry, magic realism, pop/internet culture, dance, gardening and the myriad mutations of emerging moving image technologies, including the rise in Generative AI technologies.


The Floating gardens

This is the vision from the “chinampas", the hectic life in the floating gardens, an ancestral system of audiovisual planting.

Director Biography - Colectivo Los Ingrávidos

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos (Tehuacán) is a Mexican film collective founded in 2012 to dismantle the commercial and corporate audiovisual grammar and its embedded ideology. The collective is inspired by the historical avant-gardes, and their commitment to using both form and content against alienating realities. Their methods combine digital and analog mediums, interventions on archival materials, mythology, agitprop, social protests, and documentary poetry. Their radical experimentations on documentary and cinematographic devices produce images, both visual and auditory that are political possibilities in their own right.

The collective creates vivid and sparking films and videos of protests and labor, earth and sky in explosions of sounds and images that work toward decolonizing the ways of seeing the world. Often in experimental film, heavy-handed soundtracks can often overwhelm the force of the visual; but the work of Colectivo Los Ingrávidos integrates bold sonic choices with image in a pure and purposeful unification that can be, at times, sublime.

The work could feature an assortment of their visual styles, themes, and formats. The works vary from digitally animated arrangements of medical imagery, to pulsing ritualistic superimpositions, to delightful camera-dances with the sun and moon. It also features longer work on more focused themes, including works on political action and outrage, and one of their longer films featuring a jazzy soundtrack over lush layers of natural and poetic imagery of trees, flowers, totems, and dance. Colectivo Los Ingrávidos make some of the most striking, relevant, and rigorous work in the experimental film world today.


Damp Moss

Glittering illusions of vectorized providence attempt to emulate an inherited physical realm of diminishing significance.

Director Biography - Christopher Thompson

Christopher Thompson (1990) is a contemporary American artist and filmmaker whose work examines desire, capital, and the seemingly supernatural forces that govern its acceleration. His films and video works have been featured in film festivals and exhibitions worldwide, including San Francisco Cinematheque’s CROSSROADS Film Festival, Prismatic Ground, Mimesis Documentary Film Festival, the 5th Odessa Biennale at the Odessa Museum of Contemporary Art, and “Late capitalism, it's like, almost over” at The Luminary in St. Louis. He holds a B.A. from the University of Southern Indiana and an M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied video art and performance. He is also the director of HATERS, an online moving image journal. Thompson lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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kauaʻi ʻōʻō

In 1987, the song of the kauaʻi ʻōʻō, a bird endemic to Hawaii, is recorded for the last time. Its song serves as the starting point for a visual exploration of the landscape and the winged creatures inhabiting it. Mostly shot on location, the film is a visual poem caught between the chaos of disappearance and the calm of an aerial melody that takes us on a journey through seasons and territories.

Director - Samy Benammar

Filmmaker, photographer and critic, Samy Benammar holds a master's degree in film studies from the Université de Montréal,. His Algerian and working-class origins are central to his experimental work, which questions the socio-political stakes of archival and current images. His practice is as much interested in film (super 8, 16mm or 35mm), digital and analog media. This hybridization tends to question the interactions between technicality and politics of images.



Taking out the trash one night in total darkness one night, a small bat fell off the gate and grazed my thigh. Bat world and human world touched. I was grossed out but I shouldn't have been. What if I hadn't been? I could show the bat two experimental animations that make me tear up and my heart ache.

Time lapses by and every age becomes a coming of age. Your childhood room at night. A slow rapture. Light leafing through the hours looking for a spot to sit.

Director - Anna Firth

Anna Firth (she/her) is a California-based visual artist using traditional drawn animation methods to create gifs and expanded cinema works. Her animations often crowd anthropomorphic stock characters into the video frame and weave the characters' cartoonish bodies in infinitely looping scenes.

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Life Touching Life, Episode 1: true love

This is the first episode in the collaborative animated video series I direct where all beings live in a nonviolent future. In this pilot episode, we meet a mantis caretaker (Erika Kielsgard) and singing bioluminescent pixels who both reflect on the nature of true love.

Director - Dakota Gearhart

Dakota Gearhart is an artist, animator, and educator based in New York City. She creates a collaborative video series called "Life Touching Life" that invites scientists, researchers, and caretakers to share observations on consciousness and its relationship to biodiversity. Her work has been supported by the New Museum’s NEW INC program, Franklin Furnace, United States Artists, and the National Endowments for the Arts. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as Queens Museum, NY; Bronx Museum of Art, NY; Horse Hospital, London; Xanadu, Berlin; Lab’Attoir, Thessaloniki, Greece; Taiyuan University, Taiyuan, China; and International House, Tokyo, Japan.


the static, the steam, the smoke

"the static, the steam, the smoke" weaves together imagery, audio and text related to bull kelp of California, wildfire atmospheres, memory loss, and airborne atmospheric communication from plants through volatile organic compounds. Bull kelp, common on the west coast, contain a small bulb of carbon monoxide to keep them afloat; too much carbon monoxide in the air can cause memory loss. This serves as a starting point to consider the cultural amnesia required to continue to the harmful practices of settler colonialism, with undercurrents related to airborne communication, the materiality of communication, a focus on the receiver, and the shared communicative and political airspace of plants and humans.

Director - Lindsey French

Lindsey french (they/she) is an artist, educator and writer whose work engages multisensory signaling within ecological and technological systems. french earned an interdisciplinary BA in Environment, Interaction, and Design from Hampshire College in 2010, and an MFA in Art and Technology Studies in 2013 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in a community of artists that continues to shape her practice. They moved from Pittsburgh in 2021 to Treaty 4 to teach as an Assistant Professor in Creative Technologies in the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance at the University of Regina.


Natural Disasters

Reflecting on personal histories and trauma through the lens of so-called natural disasters, a misnomer in the name itself.

Director - Tiffany Jiang

Tiffany Jiang is an award-winning Chinese-American filmmaker who gravitates towards stories about identity struggles, cultural taboos, and personal traumas. Tiffany is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Media Studies at The New School.


Lens is to Blame

Hands gliding through illustrations of a brain, glitched with tree bark. A tiny glass lens inverting mountain summits. Night-vision camera capturing the hide and seek between fox and rabbit. Motion tracking of a dancing plant.


Gosia Lehmann (PL) and Caterina Gobbi (IT) present ‘Lens Is To Blame’, a psychedelic ride through different scales of perception. The artists disassemble image-making techniques by turning forests and mountains into a ‘film studio’, juxtaposing wilderness with the synthetic colour of a green-screen. The optical instruments scanning the landscape are accompanied by field-recordings of electricity lines, which are part

of the environment even in the most secluded places (as in this case the Aosta Valley Alps). Lens enables us to see inside of our body and out in the space, making us better understand what is around us and at the same time creating the separation between humans and what we consider as ‘nature’. In the measured world what does ‘natural’, ‘wild’ or ‘pure’ even refer to?


During their collaboration, the artists visited each-other, in opposite surroundings – the mountains in Italy and Berlin. The work combines their interests in feminism and ecology, hinting on the idea that the environment is an entanglement of different times, some that we can perceive as well as others existing at different speeds. Gosia and Caterina explore these diverse scales by imitating what is witnessed by rock formations or the slowest motion of lichen growth. Repetition, acceleration or deceleration are all relative to one single perspective, or is there a way that could open up new modes of perception allowing us to further engage with the non-human viewpoint?


Director - Gosia Lehmann and Caterina Gobbi


The Stream XII-II

Human beings act on nature in order to keep their lives.
From their activities, several streams are generated and landscapes are transformed. I focus on the beauty of transformation created through the relation between human activities and nature, and want to express the beauty as a kind of visual ballet.

In this film, I shot a scene of burning of reeds fields. When the reeds fields are burned carbon dioxide is generated, but newly generated carbon dioxide is absorbed by the spring reeds sprouts in their process of growth. Whole processes are carbon neutralized.


Director - Hiroya Sakurai

Born in Yokohama, Japan.
Professor, Seian University of Art and Design.
Sakurai’s work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada and J.Paul Getty Trust.

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