Stan Brakhage’s Mothlight (1963) can be seen as challenging traditional notions of representation and storytelling. Brakhage's use of organic materials directly on the film strip bypasses the need for traditional cinematic mediation and instead presents a “direct” encounter with the textures and forms of nature. The film can be viewed as an exploration of the eventful nature of the world, where each flicker and movement of the moth wings becomes an event in itself. Each strip exists in an ephemeral leak of light through wings of the decaying. Taken together with the Spotted lanternfly event, Mothlight returns as a non-hyperbolic disaster film that disrupts the typical cinematic apparatus, expanding the boundaries of representation. Brakhage's Mothlight explores the transformative power of encounters and the disruption of convention. As with Derrida’s theory of events, the film resists fixed and definitive interpretations. The strip becomes subject and object, creating connection between the viewer and the ‘natural’16 world, which is in a fragile state of flux, entropy and decay. When erupted into contemporary spaces it contextually sits in conversations of extinction and can be read in the framework of the ecological crisis of moth species.
Similarly "Mothlight" incites discussions around the necessity for a camera apparatus. Because the material is placed directly onto the strips of cellulose, the act of preserving of the film by way of camera capture, speaks to the extinction of film as a medium that does not require a camera apparatus. Any representations of the film - such as this youtube representation, are inherently "bootleg" iterations, since the film lives in the context of the topical medium and the ephemeral subject.