Midway is, or will be, a film from the MIDWAY media project, and its trailer is one of those rare instances of the form that, like the megatrailer for Cloud Atlas, delivers a powerful experience in its own right.
Here’s what it’s all about:
The MIDWAY film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, our team is witnessing the cycles of life and death of these birds as a multi-layered metaphor for our times. With photographer Chris Jordan as our guide, we walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy — and our own complicity — head on. And in this process, we find an unexpected route to a transformational experience of beauty, acceptance, and understanding.
We frame our story in the vividly gorgeous language of state-of-the-art high-definition digital cinematography, surrounded by millions of live birds in one of the world’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries. The viewer will experience stunning juxtapositions of beauty and horror, destruction and renewal, grief and joy, birth and death, coming out the other side with their heart broken open and their worldview shifted. Stepping outside the stylistic templates of traditional environmental or documentary films, MIDWAY will take viewers on a guided tour into the depths of their own spirits, delivering a profound message of reverence and love that is already reaching an audience of tens of millions of people around the world.
In fulfillment of its description, the film looks to be beautiful, mesmerizing, haunting, and horrifying all at once. Nor is the convergence of these emotional and philosophical resonances an accident; the project’s director, the aforementioned Chris Jordan, is the internationally acclaimed artist and cultural activist whose startling, supersized images of Western culture’s almost inconceivable pollution and wastefulness — showing, for instance, how many paper cups or plastic water bottles we use in a day or a year — have achieved considerable notoriety and visibility in recent years, thanks largely to his widely circulated 2008 TED talk. Philosophically speaking, Jordan’s images
explore contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives, connecting the viewer viscerally to the enormity and power of humanity’s collective unconscious. Edge-walking the lines between art and activism, beauty and horror, abstraction and representation, the near and the far, the visible and the invisible, his haunting works ask us to look both inward and outward at the traumatized landscape of our collective choices.
Augmenting that description, Jordan’s own words bring out the deep fusion of ecological spirituality and authentic apocalypticism embodied in his work and mission:
I wonder if there may be some value in simply honoring this in-between place, acknowledging the space of open possibility where we stand. This is the moment of dissolution before the new form emerges, the imaginal space of potential from which all else will flow. As the marine scientist Sylvia Earle says: the next ten years are the most important in the next ten thousand.
It may be unnecessary to point out that this all resonates in perfect harmony and synergy with our focus here at The Teeming Brain on the deep meaning of apocalypse in an era of collapse, breakdown, revelation, and renewal by fire.