This came into my inbox just this morning: A short art film by Lois Patiño, entitled “Mountains in Shadow“. It’s chilling. It’s dreadful. It’s stark and sublime. Patino’s monochrome hues and extreme wide shots, his depiction of humans as little ants traversing a cold, colourless mountain-scape of endless snow and shadow, reminds us of our insignificance. The film charts, poetically, man’s journey through earth and time. It begins with our labouring breaths, the slow, painstaking scratch of skis on snow, the ominous magnitude of the mountain stretching before us; it climaxes in the glow of technology, when knowledge tints the world in parts, though much of it is left in darkness, and ethereal music gives the moment a sense of fragile hope. We hope that it will last, this moment when man slides smoothly down the slopes, when we take lifts through the mists and our colony grows; but of course it doesn’t. Again silence resumes. We are immersed in darkness. Techne has come full circle and now obscures instead of illuminates. Still we carve the slopes, resolute in our own unnatural, blood-red light. And trail off, finally, into the dark.
It was painful, watching this. The long waits, the hope and the hopelessness. The yearning to hold on to that mystical time when man trod the delicate balance between knowledge and mystery, technology and nature. Can we return, or is it already too late?