The archives of the Anthropocene: Wildlife mockumentary and decolonisation of nature
The present article is set in the context of the discussion about the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch of Earth and the period of human dominance over nature. This debate is focused mainly on the relationships between scientific discoveries and politics. However, critics of the Anthropocene have pointed out the era of unprecedented exploitation of natural resources is accompanied by such forms of representing nature in scholarly discourse and popular culture which sanction the human dominance on Earth. In this context the text concentrates on wildlife documentary as one of the typical representational forms of the Anthropocene. However, the main thematic focus is on critical and parodic representations of documentary discourse, gathered under umbrella term ‘mockumentary’. Such parodic elements can be identified already in a canonical mockumentary The Falls (dir. P. Greenaway, 1980), which subversively quotes the methods of archiving natural anomalies after an ecological catastrophe. However, the latter part of the article is devoted to those films which manifestly depart from anthropocentric perspective. Their critical potential results from the dismantling of traditional conventions of representing nature, in order to introduce other, non-human points of view. In this context the text offers a comparative analysis of two thematically and formally linked mockumentaries (Farce of the Penguins and Surf’s Up, both 2007) which refer to a renowned French wildlife documentary March of the Penguins (2005). The comparison demonstrates the possible scope of the critique of the Anthropocene in popular culture.