Award winning filmmaker and artist.
Film in collobaration with Clifton Evers - https://pollutedleisure.com/

This film investigates the dominant trope of surfing as fit young male surfers hanging out and surfing on clean sun drenched beaches.

“Polluted Leisure” picks up on this consideration from an older white male surfer perspective, one whose body is now soft and vulnerable, on the edge of the cold North Sea. His wetsuit is armour, sold to him through militaristic (its genesis) symbolism. It’s his ‘second-skin’ infused with histories of colonisation, a petrochemical industrial complex, and attendant wars.

This everyday militarism and petro-masculinity occurs at a site signifying the death of Empire: the post-industrial Rivers Tees in Northern England and its nearby socio-economically and health stressed community. He favours and even protects (through territorialism) a surf-break formed by waste matter borne of a redundant century-old steel industry. He regularly falls ill after surfing here. The waves also churn pollution from a nearby chemical plant, agricultural runoff, shipping port, nuclear power plant, and more. Nature is always-already toxic here, troubling ideas of protecting or sustaining some ‘pure nature.’

White male western surfers gesture toward a gendered intransigence in the Anthropocene in the midst of overlapping toxicities, masculinity, illness, pollution, government austerity measures, economic decline, and a bitter cold.


Screenings:
Festival International du Film Ethnographique, Canada, 2020

Experimental Film in Collaboration with Clifton Evers

Surf-breaks are formed by pollution. For example, one of the best in the UK is a product of slag, pollution stemming from a century-old steel industry. Uncertainty remains about water quality in this region given surrounding chemical plant, agricultural runoff, shipping, nuclear power, and much more. Surfers fall ill. Some use the illness and braving the pollution to gesture toward their resilience and commitment to surfing. It is not just the bitter cold of this region that signifies such. Polluted leisure is material and cultural.


Screenings:
Winner Best Experimental: Reel HeArt, Canada, 2019
Ethnografilm Festival, France, 2019
6mm Film Festival, UK, 2018





Film/Performance/Installation with Clifton Evers.

In 1997 Australian Indigenous artist Tracey Moffatt released a short film entitled Heaven. It inverted the white male colonial gaze directed at Indigenous women since colonisation. Moffatt compiles home video footage of fit young male surfers posing, surfing, and changing into and out of wetsuits. We pick up on this consideration from an older white male surfer perspective, one whose body is not hard but soft and vulnerable. For many such surfers the wetsuit is armour, advertised by companies through militaristic (its genesis) and cyborgian tropes. It is a ‘second-skin’ infused with histories of colonisation, a petrochemical industrial complex, and attendant wars. Polluted leisure is gendered, raced, colonial, and capitalist. White men-who-surf are ‘far from heaven’.


Screenings:
Honourable Mention, CanadaShorts Film Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2018
AnthropOcean, FMSH, Paris, France, 2018
6mm Film Festival, UK, 2018

Copyright: James Davoll