This article considers the cinematic works of the contemporary American artist Sharon Lockhart in the context of what it identifies as philosophies and practices of “the casual,” from the impact of Emersonian aesthetics on post – World War II American avant‐garde cinema to Lockhart's unique version of “hanging out,” which resonates considerably with how Leo Bersani defines sociability. Viewing Lockhart's aesthetic signatures (her use of extreme long takes, static long shots, the natural settings of the majority of her films, and the anonymous identity and relations of her subjects, many of whom are children) first as manifestations of Emerson's and Heidegger's efforts to avoid the violence of Western thinking that they call “clutching” and “grasping” at the world, and then as instantiations of Bersani's notion of sociability as “a form of relationality uncontaminated by desire,” the article argues that her films manifest an eco‐cinema that proposes living less invasively in the world. It goes on to show that, for Lockhart, this environmental ethos emerges from her use of the casual to delicately craft a cinema of social care that allows its subjects the freedom of not having their relations or identities defined by or within the cinematic frame. Lockhart's cinema is thus unique for deploying an aesthetics that can be described as casual, oblique, and nonchalant, toward ethical ends that have both sociological and environmental implications, what Bersani terms “queer ecology.”

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