Prophesy of Present Value

By Evan Charles Marcus with Maya Nadine Billig

2021 • 10min • United States • English

By applying critical perspectives of colonialism, development theory, and critical work on financial logic to the contemporary socio-economic conditions of Greater Miami, we begin excavating Miami’s transnational colonial heritage to provide insight into the stark socio-economic inequalities Miami exhibits today, and identify emerging forms of climate governance which has roots in social organization and exile since the city’s founding. This is a dance performance film accompanied by compositions of Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam through the waterways of Miami. Emahoy is a Ethiopian composer whose musical compositions speak to her experience in political exile during the colonial Italian-Ethiopian war of the 1930’s. The compositions deeply resonate an emotional landscape of exile and homelessness. Current scholarship on climate and gentrification points to an exile facing future Miami citizens is already and will in the future follow specific racialized patterns of economic violence in Miami, and therefore far from being environmental, remains political. Following the framework of sociologist Randy Martin, we observe the city, in prioritizing short-term economic growth in lieu of other long-term solutions, has confined the movement of bodies through space via financial valuation. In this way, the official city policy creates increasing risk for situated, low-income families of color who do not orient themselves to this slow-rolling disaster to experience a devastating, vulnerable future of homesickness and exile. This performance film emerges in the discrepancy between theory and lived experience: “how do we realize the present value of future risk?”. Just as financial transactions realize future market projections by discounting values to the present rate, we appropriate the same financial logic to take scientific projections and ‘realize’ the human impact into present values based on the current public policy outlook, closing the gap between scientific projections and racialized colonial histories.

Funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts via WaveMaker Grants.


Evan Charles Marcus •

Cite this film:

Marcus, Evan Charles, and Maya Nadine Billig. 2021. ‘Prophesy of Present Value’ (10 minutes, HD). In Annals of Crosscuts: Journal of Transmodal Environmental Humanities 1 (1)CERN: Zenodo. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.4303893.