future ready: cusp |

by  KJ Edwards

Canada, 2023, 7 min

KJ Edwards is a Kanien’kehá:ka, mixed-settler filmmaker and media artist. Their family is from Kahnawa:ké and Longueuil, Quebec, Canada; while KJ was born and raised in Treaty 6 Territory, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Holding a BFA in Film Production from the Toronto Metropolitan University, KJ is trained in narrative, documentary and experimental filmmaking techniques, using both analogue and digital workflows. She is a 2023 MFA graduate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where her thesis work involved eco processing analogue film, reflecting on the unpredictability of the medium as that of a collaborator, and the ways that dreams and memory can offer creative pathways toward content creation.
A temporal observation of nature, reflecting on the relational: the tethering of animal, earthly and human energies through moments of connection, both calm and chaotic, moving toward a shared future shrouded in uncertainty as the planet warms.
The abstracted images are phytograms where the artist placed plants in an eco developer, then left the film strips in the sunlight for an hour. The artist then fixed the emulsion in place for three days in a salt bath. All B&W film was eco-processed with caffenol (made from instant coffee, vitamin C and washing soda), and done so by hand by the artist.

Director’s statement
“The experience of sitting in future ready: cusp (2023) is both calming and anxiety inducing all at once. Viewers have described being either overwhelmed or calmed while viewing the work, and also as feeling both things simultaneously. It has been my intention to comment on the disconnect many of us have from nature and animal life in our day-to-day experiences.
The work reflects on climate disaster and the idea of earth resetting itself. I utilized sound effects like earthquakes, volcanos, and avalanches, to create a four part cycle. The Air segment begins with light exterior ambient sounds overtop of images of mountain ranges, eagles, tall grass, and grazing horses. Black and white phytograms appear as a warning signal, as the images begin to distort, moving into the Earth segment. Low rumbling risers and an earthquake sound are slowly introduced overtop of images of the moose and eagles. My portrait flashes, signaling the start of the Fire segment, where the brightly coloured phytograms overlay trees, suggesting that they are burning. I then bring in volcano and avalanche sound effects, while whale, elk, and moose cries fade in and out. The loop comes to a climactic point as my eyes stare at the viewer from behind the red abstracted blaze. Then comes the aftermath of the change, wherein the earth rebuilds itself. This is the Water segment, with water being the power behind all life on earth.
As the sound design calms down, whale calls, rather than cries, sit quietly underneath a deep ocean ambience, suggesting a great flood from the melting of glaciers has cleansed the land and that life will continue on. These sounds are paired with images of water, salmon, Castle Rock, and flashing blue spirit light. This segment suggests that there is hope: that as a result of whatever change is coming, life will continue on in some form.”