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Isabelle Carbonell

PhD in Film and Digital Media, 2022
Expanded documentary, experimental ethnographic film, environmental justice, eco-disasters, multispecies ethnography, invasive species, the anthropocene, and jellyfish.
Research Interests: 

Isabelle Carbonell is a Belgian-Uruguayan-American award-winning documentary filmmaker and a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz thinking through a cinema of the anthropocene. Her work lies at the intersection of expanded documentary, environmental justice, invasive species, eco-disasters, multispecies ethnography, and “the possibility of life in capitalist ruins”. Her scholarship has been published in the Internet Policy Review, Conexión Journal, and the Cultural Anthropology Journal. Recent complete film works include:

  • The River Runs Red (2018) is a multilinear web-based documentary exploring the question suffering in a post-disaster landscape on the Rio Doce Brazilian iron-ore tailings dam disaster.
  • The Blessed Assurance (2018) is a sensorial documentary experience, a meditation on livelihood exploring both man and jellyfish in the otherworldly ecosystem found on an American trawl boat. Visceral images and sounds immerse us in a primordial world, decentering the human and even going inside a jellyfish. 22 mins
  • The Camel Race (2018) is a visceral ethnographic experience in four takes of a camel race in Qatar, complete with robot jockeys and remote-controlled whips, interweaving human, animal, and machine. 25 mins


Selected Publications: 

A Correspondence of the Senses: Panesthesia as Research Method

Coming to Our Senses beyond the Talking-Head: the Panesthetic Documentary Interview
The Ethics of Big Data in Big Agriculture
Golden Snail Opera: the More-Than-Human-Performance of Friendly Farming on Taiwan's Lanyang Plain

Education and Training: 
M.A. Film & Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz
B.A. Environmental Science, the University of Michigan
B.A. RC Social Science, the University of Michigan