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New Film Premiering at 2019 Rockaway Film Festival

As If Sand Were Stone will premiere on Sunday, October 20th at 1:30 PM as part of the 2019 Rockaway Film Festival. The program, “Embodying Urban Coastal Knowledge,” also features Nathan Kensinger’s Managed Retreat (2018, 18’) and Pat O’Neill’s Water and Power (1989, 57’).

As If Sand Were Stone… is a 35 minute essay documentary examining the making and remaking of urban waterfronts in New York City. Narrated by landscape architect Gena Wirth, the film analyzes processes of dredging and sand filling as a key infrastructural process in the production of urban space. The film combines observational footage of New York’s massive harbor deepening project with a series of self-reflexive research spirals that take place within the director's imagined computer desktop. As a result, the project not only explores the making of urban coastal landscapes, but also how these sedimentary landscapes are entangled with digitally mediated spaces of discourse and image.

Please contact me for an online screener, and stay tuned for more news on film festivals and other public screenings.

Screening + Symposium at Penn, September 2019

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Geosocial Encounters connects documentary artists with researchers and scholar-filmmakers in the environmental humanities. What can video art, experimental documentary, and sensory ethnography teach us about the practice of critical urban, spatial, and environmental research? Conversely, how are scholar-filmmakers utilizing audiovisual tools and contributing to these genres of film and video art?

The symposium is co-organized by Dr. Rahul Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Television and New Media Studies, and Dr. Ben Mendelsohn, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities. The event will begin with a film screening at Slought the evening of Thursday, September 19 and continue with a series of panels throughout the day on Friday, September 20.

Visit for more info

2017 Global Urban Coast Year In Review (2018)

This video was completed in March 2018 to reflect on the deluge of flood images throughout 2017. How should we approach this slow motion horror show of intensifying urban floods throughout the world? And knowing that the worst flooding often happens where land has been "reclaimed" from water bodies, why do humans keep trying to turn sand into land along the global urban coast?

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors (2011)

Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. This short documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible. Written and edited by Ben Mendelsohn, shot and animated by Alex Chohlas-Wood. Completed as part of my MA thesis in media studies at The New School, the project was advised by Shannon C. Mattern.

Protective Ecologies (2013)

Selected submission to MoMA PS1's Rockaway Call for Ideas to create a sustainable waterfront. Proposal by Gena Wirth, video by Alex Chohlas-Wood and Ben Mendelsohn. Historic Jamaica Bay map courtesy Regional Plan Association.