There is a robin that lives in my neighbourhood and it’s been trying to make a nest for a few months now just outside my doorway. I have a sort of porch or balcony that has arches, wooden columns, and other 150-year-old-house-in-Toronto architectural details. It’s situated on a residential road between two major streets. There are tree-filled parks just on the other side of each of the roads and quite a few in between as well. The streets parallel, like my own, are lined with trees as well.
Ever-busy Robin has collected detritus from the garden, bits of straw-like tubers that have been left behind by last year’s greenery, and has sneakily been plucking plastic threads from my neighbour’s tarpaulin in order to build this nest. But the nest has never been built. It is in a state of either being built or being blown away. The nook that Robin chose to make the nest in is not so much of a nook at all. It is more of a ledge, quite a small ledge actually, and is open to the winds. Each time this bird puts down a piece of malleable straw and tarp, it just falls to the ground or blows away. Its own wing-beats sometimes push away the mess of efforts it has just made.
Carolina Fusilier and Miko Revereza’s film El Lado Quieto looks at a possible world, post-human-inhabitation, through more-than-human eyes. Shot from the point of view of a Siyokoy, a Filipinx mythical creature, the film asks its watchers to consider the abandoned resort that is the movie’s subject from another perspective. At one point, Miko and Carolina are heard talking about concrete buildings as analogous t to mountains:
Miko: Maybe we’re creating these buildings that will one day be empty and then become habitable for other creatures once they’ve been deserted. Then I wonder if creatures will just inhabit these buildings and just think they are really cheap mountains, this is a very low-quality rock…
Carolina: These empires of buildings are made for human needs.
Miko: They’re not made to last…
For some reason, Robin chose this spot to fulfill the Sisyphean task of making and remaking their nest. But I wonder now, is the column that the ledge sits upon just tree-like enough to confuse the bird? Or has Robin made some concessions, opting for the low-quality tree because it is located in what might be called a good, safe neighbourhood to raise chicks? Have our more-than-human kin already begun to adapt to the concrete empires that could outlast us? Might they inherit the earth?
— This program is part of the suite ok to rest curated by Jaclyn Quaresma.