We are indebted to the artist Mariam Ghani for alerting us to the remarkable work of the poet Solmaz Sharif, whose recently published Look explores and explodes the duplicitous language of state violence, as well as the unrelenting violence against language.
A morning of reading and research eventually led us to Sharif’s brilliant Kenyon Review “credo”, A Poetry of Proximity, excerpted below.
The images are taken from Ghani’s 2011 video The Trespassers, a subtle and incisive exploration of the ambiguous role of diasporic translators during the interrogations of detainees, deep inside the gulag of the Forever War.
Here at DP, we have placed an order for Sharif’s Look with our local bookseller; once it arrives, we shall certainly have more to say about this important poet.
We note the recent release of documents related to the process through which the targets of drone assasinations are selected and executed. Apparently this is intended as evidence of the Obama administrations commitment to openness and transparency; after all, during a staff swearing-in ceremony in January, 2009, the President had stated: “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
Below, we provide a visual representation of these touchstones, excerpting from what is known – perversely – as “the playbook”. This is what transparency looks like in the Age of Extralegal Obliteration:
For more on the relationship between secrecy and obliteration, see Out of Darkness Floods the Light; for more on this President’s fundamental misunderstanding of his primary obligation, that is, to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, see Turning and Turning.
On this Hiroshima Day, we turn to Thomas Merton:
To quote another American poet, Carl Sandburg, from a poem that predates the birth of the original child:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.
Now comes Naomi Klein, with excerpts from an excellent recent essay that explores the relationships among climate change, fossil fuels and violence by way of revisiting certain ideas expressed in the past by Edward Said, regarding the limitations of environmentalism. The images are from the richly recycled oil cans exhibited within the online gallery of Cal Lane.
For those who – perversely enough – continue to beat the [oil] drum of America’s “greatness”, let us keep firmly in mind that such ephemeral greatness has been achieved largely through cultural genocide; desecration of the landscape; the destruction of worker lungs and bodies; and the global export of our most precious “service”: violence.
What would it mean if we were to choose instead to become, as Klein suggests, great ancestors?
On the eve of our own departure for a solitary walk through mountain forests, we invite consideration of a few passages from Frédérick Gros’ Philosophy of Walking:
We shall continue our DP navigations in a few weeks when we return from the middle of nowhere.
On this day when we celebrate a declaration of independence that centered around the revolutionary idea of inalienable human rights, we turn to a film released by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), in collaboration with Tree Media:
CELDF executive director Thomas Linzey expands on these ideas in an appropriately urgent op-ed, excerpted below, in which he proposes a Liberation Ecology that would be rooted in the inalienable rights of local communities. Images, added by DP, are from the gallery of Mark Dion.
LIBRARY FOR THE BIRDS OF MASSACHUSETTS
MUSEUM OF POISON (BIOCIDE HALL)
MONUMENT FOR THE BIRDS OF PUFFIN ISLAND
POLAR BEARS AND TOUCANS
That is : from the head!
Amidst all the hysterical and self-serving post-Brexit commentary squeezed out like cheap vinyl caulk from the various tubes of the mainstream media, we discovered a sensible, accurate analysis from the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, excerpted below. Images are from the gallery of Eli Levin.
CLASS SYSTEM ALTARPIECE
PRAISE THE LORD, EAT SHIT AND DIE
As wildfires rage in the vicinity of the City of Angels, and as the Governor of California fiddles with plans to “manage” sixty six million dead trees in the Sierra, now comes Peter Wadhams, whose book A Farewell to Ice will be available in September from Penquin. In a recent interview, he summarizes the major environmental impacts resulting from the disappearance of arctic ice.
One certain result?
THIS FIRE BEGAN IN THE ARCTIC
A faithful DP correspondent, reflecting upon the arrogant vacuity of the Further Future festival, alerted us to a project by Nicole Dextras; statement and images below, with captions added by the artist.
THESE FASHIONISTAS HAVE TURNED TO ARTISTS TO CREATE THEIR OUTFITS AS THE DESIGN HOUSES HAVE ALL BUT VANISHED.
FIVE-INCH LONG BRIGHT YELLOW THORNS OF THE PALM LEAF ARE USED AS PINS AND ORANGE DRACAENA SHEATHS MAKE UP A NOT SO BILLOWY SHIRT FLOUNCE.
THE DRACAENA DRESS INSTALLED IN THE DESERT SECTION. TO THE FAR LEFT IS THE DRACAENA DRACO TREE FROM WHICH THE LEAVES WERE GATHERED.
We shall be further exploring the fashionable dystopias of Nicole Dextras in a subsequent post, once we have fully digested Persephone’s pomegranate.
Turning to the the Annals of Human Ecocide, we take note of a massive coral bleaching event along the vast expanse of the Great Barrier Reef, as reported by the Guardian. Among those who have witnessed the facts at close quarters with eyes (and nostrils) wide open, diver Richard Vevers recounts his recent experience surveying one section of the reef:
SKELETON AND CORPSE
Marine biologist Justin Marshall, who has studied the reef in the vicinity of Lizard Island over the course of many years, meticulously documents the two stages of coral death: bleaching followed by seaweed proliferation.
STAGE ONE: SKELETAL BLEACHING
STAGE TWO: DEATH BY SEAWEED
Now we turn to the inevitable deniers. Most conspiculously, consider the words of a man named Col McKenzie, who presently serves as the CEO for the Australian Association of Marine Park Operators. Mr. McKenzie simply dismisses the overwhelming empirical evidence while taking cheap pot shots at the messengers:
THE FACTS AS THEY ARE: “BLOODY DISGUSTING”
Perhaps Mr. McKenzie might consider partnering with Leo DiCaprio in developing a new sort of monomanical marine park, one that would feature the genesis of a man-made environment so spectacular that we would never miss the disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef.
We close with the honorable Justin Marshall, who urges individual action in the face of government and corporate indifference, dereliction and turpitude:
BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF AN EMERGING GRAVEYARD