A film by Misho Antadze and Peter Hammer
Production: near/by film
As the Doomsday Clock shows 90 seconds to midnight, nuclear war becomes ever more likely. Shopkeepers and electricians, students and retirees in remote parts of the globe maintain a network of sensitive monitoring devices that acts as the ears of a network that might be preventing the end of the world.
The Listeners is a poetic, observational film about unlikely civilians who might be preventing the apocalypse, and the invisible legacy of nuclear testing. In remote corners of the world, everyday people are put in charge of maintaining sensitive listening devices that monitor the world for nuclear explosions. Far from the human infrastructure that can interfere with the transmission of these signals, they are surrounded by beautiful landscapes that are often also lonely and inhospitable.
Photo credits: IS18, Qaanaa; a listener at the worlds most remote inhabited islad, Tristan da Cunha Station; CTBTO Public Information;
Over 300 such stations are scattered across the globe, belonging to this network run by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), a lesser known UN organization aiming to prevent nuclear testing.
While the signals of nuclear tests are waited for, the devices register other traces of life and destruction: whales singing, volcanoes erupting, glaciers melting from global warming, and even submarines sinking. Woven in between their portraits and visually expressive representations of the signals invisible to the human eye are landscapes that come to life to reveal their painful, hidden history.