Deep Time Letters runs alongside Shezad Dawood’s research for the eighth episode of his ten-part film, Leviathan. Assembled over the course of five years, Leviathan exists in an unfathomable kaleidoscope of the intra-actions, interdependencies, and entanglements constantly at play within the microcosms that collectively form our precariously balanced planetary biome. His expansive research, involving collaborations with scientists, philosophers, and activists, reaches into the past to speculate on possible futures. Positioning a plurality and multiplicity of voices, at the core of the project is a critical and urgent gesture to illuminate the complex connections between ecosystems, localities, and individual lives.
For the Deep Ecologies programme, Shezad Dawood unfolds parallel and interconnected conversations with ecologist Nikita Zimov and Buryat shaman and ethnologist Galina Makhachkeevа. Through a series of handwritten letters, their conversations take a slow and intimate form. Reaching out across thousands of miles between the correspondents, the letters travel between vastly different landscapes and life experiences, yet find commonality in the care for the future of our shared planet
With one worldview embedded in the scientific and the other in the spiritual, the works of Nikita Zimov and Galina Makhachkeevа emerge from very different positions. Yet both are absorbed in an active allegiance with the ecologies of the landscape they live within: the past entangled with the necessity of nurturing collaborative relationships, to holistically care for future human and non-human generations.
Both Shezad Dawood and Nikita Zimov are fathers to three daughters, and in his opening letter Shezad Dawood reaches out in parental solidarity, addressing the complexity of navigating possibilities of action and agency. Galina Makhachkeevа shares with Shezad Dawood her spiritual worldview which is embedded in deep reverence for the environment of the Baikal region. The letters between the three correspondents offer a glimpse into the fabric of global interactions and their effects on these remote and precarious landscapes.
If you want to delve deeper into the permafrost, visit the full online programme Dissolving Earths HERE.