(Im)material Worlds

Listening in the Dark (2018, Maeve Brennan) & How to Improve the World (2021, Nguyễn Trinh Thi)

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Listening in the Dark gathers a series of subtle but penetrating soundings of human beings’ impact on the natural environment. While there is a growing sensitivity to the ecological damage we are causing, we can also be strangely blind to things that happen outside of our consciousness. A creature that has often fallen beneath our radar is the bat. Undisturbed, and largely unchanged, for millions of years, its nocturnal rhythms are being increasingly interrupted by the presence of wind turbines. Taking the interaction between bats and wind turbines as its starting point, the film traverses geological, ecological and human time spans to navigate the complexity of the Anthropocene. As Nicholas Helm-Grovas has said of the film: Rather than hierarchical structures and instrumental reason, a different potential in science is highlighted in Listening in the Dark: patient, rigorous but flexible, ambitious but humble, tracing interactions between a multiplicity of actors in all their unexpected directions, learning from and with nature rather than dominating it.’


Maeve Brennan is an artist and filmmaker based in London. She is the current Stanley Picker Fine Art Fellow (2019-22) and is participating in British Art Show 9. Solo exhibitions include Chisenhale Gallery, London; The Whitworth, University of Manchester; Spike Island, Bristol; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin; Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku, Finland; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and OUTPOST, Norwich. Her films have been screened internationally at festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam (Tiger Shorts), Sheffield Doc Fest and FILMADRID (Official Competition 2018). Brennan was a fellow of Home Workspace Program, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2013 -14) and was the recipient of the Jerwood/FVU Award 2018 and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2021.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    44 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United Kingdom
  • Note
    Includes Subtitles for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Director
    Maeve Brennan
  • Screenwriter
    Maeve Brennan
  • Producer
    Laura Shacham
  • Editor
    Mariko Montpetit
  • Sound Design
    Tom Sedgwick