Out West student blog

Researching Art, Environment, and Ecological Society for Galatée Films


Hiking the Stanford Dish during a research break.

By Marina Luccioni '21
Hometown: London, UK
Research Intern, Galatée Films

Why did you want to do this internship?

I want to explore the ways different people relate to i) the environment ii) art/creativity, and how those topics interplay. What are the different ways we think and feel about “nature” (or do we think of it as nature at all?) and how does that inform how we act in turn? In what ways do we use art to express our experiences in the environment, and how do our experiences of the environment shape our art? I am fascinated by the unique ways different communities and societies answer these questions, looking both to the past and also to different social or geographical pockets in the present day.  The topics I am researching at Galatée are fascinating case studies of these questions; and the project itself, Galatée - based in France - making art (a film) about Yellowstone National Park, is even a meta-example of what I am interested in observing.

How does your role support the host organization's mission?

I am doing historical research that will support and inspire plot development and film details for Galatée’s film: The Photographer, which will imagine the American West in the late nineteenth century.

How would you describe one of the projects you will be working on this summer?

One of the topics I am researching is the idea of having an “ecological society,” a term frequently applied to native peoples all over the world, carrying a sense of being in-sync with nature. What did that term mean to Native Americans? What did it mean to whites? In 1860s-1880s? And now?

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

I’m excited to ask questions about the mindsets and ontologies that underpin different types of human-environmental systems. I would also like to one day direct films myself, and look forward to being able to ask questions and get advice about the film-creation process from my mentors at Galatée.

Has anything surprised you about the work, the organization, or the environment?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how hard it is to keep on track and focused on specific questions. This week I was mainly making an overview/timeline of Native American events around the Yellowstone region in 1860-80, but also spent many hours reading about psychoanalysis of rock art and a fascinating book on native religion/spiritual beliefs and contrasts with Christianity (God is Redby Vine Deloria, Jr.).

Research materials from the Native American Cultural Center on Stanford's campus.


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