Goodbye Gauley Mountain

For the penultimate screening of our series, we are excited to invite Angela Anderson to screen Beth Stephen and Annie Sprinkle’s Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story.

Returning home to the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle share their doctrine of “Earth as lover”, literally embracing the natural world in the face of the coal industry's environmentally devastating practice of mountaintop removal (MTR).

Angela Anderson explains her choice as follows:

From Standing Rock to Northern Greece to Australia to Honduras to Ogoniland to Hambacher Forst and on and on, seemingly everywhere there are struggles playing out on the ground between extractivist industries and people who find themselves in the position of having to defend the places and ecosystems they cherish from irreversible and devastating human-induced destruction. In the face of these earth-devouring machines of extractive capital, one’s love for a tree or a stream or the sound of birds in the morning is brutally swept aside by the capitalist logic of what Felix Guattari terms “generalized equivalence,” or the reduction of every possible thing and relation to monetary value.

With playful intelligence and witty humor, Goodbye Gauley Mountain takes us to one of the hearts of the modern-day conflict between “labor” and the diverse and complex ecosystems we call nature. In the middle of Coal Country, USA, ecosexuals Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle fearlessly and performatively reclaim their love for the natural environment and the pleasure derived from it as powerful and legitimate motivations for standing up to the extraction industry. Through a wonderful series of encounters with a variety of local plants, animals and people affected by the coal industry’s horrifying practice of mountaintop removal, Beth and Annie discretely dissect the fabricated conflict between “jobs” and the environment, revealing extractive capital’s greedy, neo-liberal hetero-patriarchal core.

Angela Anderson is an artist and filmmaker working at the intersection of the fields of philosophy, ecology, economics, migration, media and feminist & queer theory. Central to her work is an awareness of the intimate connection between media production, memory and apprehension, and the potential of audio-visual media to open up new lines of flight. Since 2013 she has been collaborating with Angela Melitopoulos on the audio-visual research projects Unearthing Disaster, The Refrain (2015) and Crossings (2017) which was shown in documenta 14. In 2016 she produced her short film The Sea Between You and Me and is currently developing her feature film project Frostville. Recent exhibitions include Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco, 2017), Framer Framed–Amsterdam (2016), Holbaek Images (2016), and the Thessaloniki Biennale (2015). She is the exhibition designer for Forum Expanded at the Berlin International Film Festival and has worked with many artists and filmmakers on the realization of performative, filmic, and installation projects.

She holds a BA in Economics and Latin American Studies from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Film and Media Studies from the New School (NYC) and is pursuing her PhD at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She lives and works in Berlin.