short film

Ballena:
between land and sea

by Alessandra Baltodano

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In this observational documentary, Alessandra explores our relationship to the sea through an ethnographic, multi-temporal and imaginative gaze at the first marine national park created in Costa Rica

Geologist César Laurito told me with certainty that we all come from the sea. He meant it. Everyone, at some point, evolved from a species that came out of the sea and adapted to land. He also told me that much in our bodies still reminds us of those submarine times. Our hands, our ears, our sense of balance… they give clues to an oceanic life.

 

When I arrived in the Ballena Marine National Park, I was interested in the concept of the boundary. That imaginary line that separates a protected area from an unprotected area. But very soon, intuitively, I began to think about rhythms and the temporal organization under which the institution manages the place. I realized that designating the area as a national park had introduced the modern rhythm of the clock into the place.

 

Sociologist Henri Lefebvre once described the clock as a “time that thinks itself”. Disconnected from the context, from the transitory condition of life, the clock’s ticking measures and commodifies. It is a logic that assumes everything to be static, inert, manageable. And therefore, it doesn’t notice the latent and unpredictable changes of a sensitive, interconnected, living landscape.

 

Beyond the institution of the park, though, more endogenous rhythms resist the abstract and desacralized time of the clock. From the matter that makes up the place and from those who know it, another story emerges. It is the story of a landscape in constant flux, of an animated place that participates slowly in its own formation and organization. Strata and waves suggest a much deeper chronology. 

 

What would happen if we attuned our attention to these geological rhythms? If we could place ourselves in the middle of that history between land and sea? 

In the depth of time, our bodies don’t seem that different from the stones, both patiently sculpted by a common ancestor: the sea.

CREDITS

Direction & Cinematography

Alessandra Baltodano

 

Editing

Alessandra Baltodano

 

Text

Alessandra Baltodano

 

2018. Ballena Marine

National Park, Costa Rica

 

Published in January, 2020

Volume 2, Issue 9

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