Messengers of the Rope

Now come a few brief passages from a lucid December 2016 conversation with philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, as transcribed from a radio program affiliated with the Los Angeles Review of Books, Entitled Opinions.

The mission of such conversations, as described by host Robert Pogue Harrison: “To practice the persecuted religion of thinking; to think in the midst of the wasteland; to make sure the wasteland does not grow within.” Such is also the mission of DP; onwards to the Zarathustrian rope-walkers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The above three images are from the studio of Heather Pickwell. She writes:

My subject is growth, the imperceptible growth of cells, of plants; the incremental growth observed in shells and coral and the explosive growth of mutating organisms. I take my inspiration from close observation of the woods, fields and coastline of Lincolnshire. I work with natural materials – rope, wool and charcoal – these materials best reflect the physical world for me as I strive to suggest natural forms without reproducing their likeness.

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Power Into Silence

We are grateful to a distant DP reader for steering us to the illuminating, amplifying and enlivening work of artist Lena Herzog, above all the body of writings and audio-visual media related to her project Last Whispers. Below, the opening paragraphs from a talk given at MOMA, linked via the first image.

Clicking on the second image will bring you into the world of the silenced, a world where everything that was once possible to think within a specific language has been irretrievably obliterated; yet another dimension to the mass extinction event that will, in time, deal with our lethal, murderous arrogance.

 

 

 

 

 

We close with her final paragraph from the same talk, something to think about during this holiday weekend:

 

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Membranes Into the Future

Now comes the voice of one our favorite writers here at DP: Robert Macfarlane. Below, brief excerpts from a. recent interview conducted in the philosophical environs of his most recent book, Underlands. Images are three iterations of Bruce Nauman’s Three Dead End Adjacent Tunnels Not Connected, dating from 1981.


 

 

 

 

 



Beyond Human Supremacism

It seems logical that reversing the vast environmental damage caused by the Great Acceleration will require an equally as forceful Great Deceleration. Yet at exactly the time when humans need to do less via dramatic contraction, both economic and biological, we prefer to sustain the delusion that we can fix the broken world with yet another spasm of frantic human activity.

This week, we relay brief excerpts from a December 2018 article by Eileen Crist that provides a concise delineation of the human supremacist self-understanding we must overcome if we are to avert the worst consequences of the deepening ecological emergency.

Images are from recent mass civil disobedience protests against the perpetuation of lignite coal mining in Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disimagination Machine

Now comes Ronald Purser, author of the recently published McMindfulness: How Mindfulness became the New Capitalist Spirituality. His recent “long read” essay in the Guardian summarizes the central thesis. The entire essay is worthy of serious consideration; we find the below excerpts particularly compelling, including a lucid description of neoliberalism’s most pernicious ideological mantra. Images are relayed from the studio of Greg Dunn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Essential Conversation

From the imperative of love springs the need to re-conceive and re-member that most essential conversation: the dialogue between humans and the rest of life.

Below, a few excerpts from a wide-ranging interview with Paul Kingsnorth, whose writing and philosophy revolves around the recuperation of stories and voices embedded within the natural world. Images represent different seasons in Natalie Jeremijenko’s MASS MOCA installation, Tree Logic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More from the voice of Paul Kingsnorth, this time in a more recent essay relayed from his own website:

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And finally, linked through the below image, a VPRO documentary about Kingsnorth and his County Galway homestead, highly recommended for consideration:

 

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The Imperative of Love

This week, we return to our familiar motif of “inverted utopia”, a world wherein we cannot imagine the implications of our clever technologies. Such is the case in many reactions to climate catastrophe: fear not, we will invent new tech and engineer ourselves into a Green New Deal

Yet fixes that leave deep structures in place will have the same result as wrapping infected wounds with bandages without treating the infection. Without a fundamental change in the relationship between Homo Sapiens and the whole of life, ever more clever tinkering will only serve to deepen the crisis while feeding the toxic delusion that we are in control as rulers supreme. 

With this in mind, we turn to a a few passages from recent reflections made by Barbara Cecil in counterpoint to Dahr Jamail. Images are from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana.

 

 

Her closing sentence, which should be inscribed in the heavens:

The work of these times is not about saving the world but in belonging to it more fully.

 


Lining Up For Oblivion

Longtime DP readers will be familiar with one of our central themes: of all the “isms” that plague us, Human Supremacism surely excretes the most virulent toxins.

The below image shows what has previously been described as a “human snake” — a clot of consumers lining up to complete their purchase of a coveted “conquest”.

 

QUEUE FOR THE ULTIMATE SELFIE

 

As Ralf Dujmovits put it, way back in 2012:

People nowadays treat the mountain as if it was a piece of sporting apparatus, not a force of nature. It really makes my soul ache.

Everest has been pushed to its limits, and a complete change of mind needs to take place otherwise we’ll see many more tragedies taking place. We need to debunk the myth of Everest.

It’s spoiled for me now. And it’s too dangerous. There are simply too many people on there who should not be there.

Alas, during the subsequent seven years, nothing has changed:  the shoppers huff their oxygen, and wait their turn to attain the pinnacle of their deluded monomania.

As an “adventure consultant” pitches the “experience” online:

 

 


This Blitzkrieg of Idiocy

Now come a few insights and questions from the ever-luminous Arundhati Roy, beginning with the opening paragraphs of her recent PEN America Speech.

Images are from the archive of Richard Long’s perambulatory text works.

 

 

 

 

Roy sharpened her focus on the most pressing issue of our time in a subsequent interview with Democracy Now:

 

 

 

 


From Rights To Obligations

Today, shares in a dystopic “gig economy” company (Uber) will be offered to a public apparently willing to swallow even the most outrageously distorted narrative.

Concurrently,  the CEO of one of the most toxic companies in history (Amazon) has announced his plan to “build a road in space”:  “Do we want stasis and rationing or do we want dynamism and growth? This is an easy choice. We know what we want. We just have to get busy.”

Oh my. A man apparently addicted to “getting busy.”

Earlier this week saw the release of a report documenting abundant evidence of accelerating extinction rates while craven officials licked their chops over the opportunity to drill drill drill; busy, busy, busy.

In the midst of this death dance of neoliberalism, we turn to a historian who has devoted a lifetime of research to recuperating and celebrating histories of resistance to the commodification of every living and dead thing: Peter Linebaugh.

Excerpts from a recent interview below, with images from Doris Salcedo’s “Shibboleth”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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