The Alluvials is a new film by Alice Bucknell that explores the politics of drought and water scarcity in a near-future version of Los Angeles.
The story is told through a variety of nonhuman and elemental perspectives, including the Los Angeles River, wildfire, a 400-year-old sycamore called El Aliso, and the ghost of the city's celebrity mountain lion, P-22. Following a rich, multi-chapter narrative, Bucknell creates a world rooted in the slippery interplay between engineered ecosystems, nonhuman characters, and the natural resource market that together define the future of Los Angeles.
The story is told across media, including custom-built game environments, "modded" versions of the fictional city of Los Santos from Grand Theft Auto 5, 3D scans of the city captured by drone, and Stable Diffusion artificial intelligence "hallucinations" merging historical images of the River with existing proposals for its redevelopment. The Alluvials also utilizes pollution datasets collected by local organizations including Friends of the LA River, converting this data into audio-visual assets that appear in the video and game world, encountering players.
Ultimately, The Alluvials asks after the future of water systems in Los Angeles by looking into the region’s deep past. Acknowledging Indigenous relationships to water, particularly the Tongva People of the Greater Los Angeles Basin and their understanding of the LA River as an ever-morphing entity, the project underscores that nature is an intelligent system, a technology in its own right. Through the emergent practice of worlding, or the co-construction of new worlds with human, nonhuman, and machine intelligence, The Alluvials expands on the idea that the end of an anthropocentric world-view is not the end of the world.
Here's the approximate schedule for viewing The Alluvials:
Thursday & Friday (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM):
04:00 PM, 04:38 PM, 05:16 PM, 05:54 PM, 06:32 PM, 07:10 PM
Saturday (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM):
02:00 PM, 02:38 PM, 03:16 PM, 03:54 PM, 04:32 PM, 05:10 PM