The Transect in Three or Four Modes of Observation

The Transect is an experimental documentary that began in 2015 when Graydon first followed a pair of ecologists into the field on the island of Maui in Hawai’i. Kim and Forest Starr track the Ope’ape’a bat, the only endemic land mammal in Hawai’i and an endangered species about which little is known. To begin telling the bat’s story requires untangling a rich braid of findings and histories, beginning with the bat’s own voice: in recording ultrasonic calls, which we can’t perceive directly, the scientist has to decide how to translate the calls into a trace that we can hear or see. Meanwhile, Forest and Kim are themselves intriguing subjects who weave many other tales and follow tangents about the islands, the sciences and human knowledge, language and translation. In tracing the bat through its own voicings into the complexities of its life and our shared environment, The Transect emerges as a story about how narrative traces, frames, and invests our world.

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