Photo: Mac Andre Arboleda and Rollyna Domingo

Pictures of Nothing

Mac Andre Arboleda (PH), Rollyna Domingo (PH)

“In the context of a political regime that severely represses dissent, including environmental activism, Mac Andre Arboleda and Rollyna Domingo’s Pictures of Nothing offers a simultaneously minimal and profound gesture through the juxtaposition of image and text in filmmaking. Their film poignantly brings attention to what appears meaningless or empty – nondescript animal camera trap footage – and combines it with a textual reflection on the endangered work of frontline activists, as a way of reflecting on an increasingly oppressive culture of surveillance.”

Jury Statement

Pictures of Nothing is a video essay exploring the connections between animal conservation and human surveillance. Using otherwise useless camera trap data in the conservation of the elusive and endangered Palawan binturong in the Philippines as a starting point, the work surfaces and contemplates the stark terrors facing the country: that the Philippines is among the deadliest countries for environmental activists, the Philippines is a country most at risk from climate crisis, and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., son and namesake of a former dictator, is now the president of the Philippines and is prioritizing digitization efforts (meaning: more intense surveillance) under his regime.

Mac Andre Arboleda

Mac Andre Arboleda is an artist interested in exploring the sickness of the internet through research and dialogue, art and text, organizing and publishing. He is a master student of Media Arts Cultures on an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship.

Rollyna Domingo

Rollyna Domingo is a wildlife biologist and artist passionate about wildlife conservation, climate justice, human rights and children’s books. She is currently involved in interdisciplinary conservation initiatives and small carnivore research.

Filmmakers: Mac Andre Arboleda and Rollyna Domingo
Camera trap data courtesy of ABConservation

Support received from: