“Monkeywrenched Images: Ecocinema and Sabotage”

Fall in James Benning’s Stemple Pass
by Graig Uhlin

Excerpt: “Ugliness in modern art retains the persistence of a fear of nature that had supposedly been surpassed by modernity’s overcoming of the archaic. As Adorno argues, ‘the image of beauty as that of a single and differentiated something originates with the emancipation from the fear of the overpowering wholeness and undifferentiatedness of nature’ (50). Artistic beauty, and particularly its commercialization, is thus a form of denial of humanity’s entanglement with and dependence on nature. It is an aesthetic illusion of our mastery over it. Monkeywrenching’s ugly aesthetics addresses itself directly to this illusion, introducing a formal disturbance (like a crack in a dam) that gestures at what beauty aims to keep at bay.” Read full article here