Songs for Earth and Folk is a very direct attempt by Smith to describe our dysfunctional relationship with our planet, our willful ignorance, our psychotic cruelty to living things and ecosystems. The film was produced as part of a residency Smith participated in at the Chicago Film Archives. The found footage in the film is structured like a blues song and paired with a live-improvised, electro-organic soundtrack created by the Chicago-based band The Eternals.
“For me it’s urgent in terms of having a sense of place on the planet. What ground can I claim, where on earth would I, an alien, a being born out of circumstances unprecedented in human history, be welcomed? I feel like taking on Land Art was a step along the way to confronting the stakes of being human in the 21st century. We really need another radical shift in consciousness, […] And now the entire planet has adopted this notion of the human as being a creature that defines itself by what it accumulates. Sylvia Wynter calls us Homo economicus. If humans can endure a radical shift like that, surely we can do it again. We have to if we want to remain on this planet; we just have to.”—Cauleen Smith