What can art do in the face of the unfolding climate crisis? This simple question haunts the editorial offices of DP like an angry ancestor.
James Berger, author of the excellent After the End, offers a few helpful insights in an interview that first appeared a month or so before Covid 19; we relay a reprise below, with images from the now dismantled Banksy Dismaland.
As wildfires continue their hungry devastation across California and Oregon, we have been re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a spare yet powerful novel that we have always thought of as an anticipatory documentary narrative, describing a near future now in the process of presenting itself.
A favorite passage:
NOTHING TO SEE
And the closing passage:
Now comes a trio of statements released in opposition to yet another spasm of human supremacist violence, this time in the shape of fish farm legislation promoted by an ecocidal administration under cover of Covid.
First up, from the Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition:
Next, from coalition member Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA):
And finally, from the Recirculating Farms Coalition:
Lest we forget, Mother Ocean is the mother of us all;
one day in the not so distant future she shall rise up and swallow us whole,
and bring such toxic delusions full stop.
Now comes faithful DP correspondent Jon Swan with a few Chekhovian thoughts on life in the pyrocene. Captions to widely circulating images added by DP.
TINY HOUSE FOR WOOD DEMONS
California wildfires once again remind us that the Climate Emergency is not something that happens in 2030 or 2050: the Climate Emergency is happening right now, and we are in the midst of its varied modes of contagion.
We turn to fire historian Stephen Pyne whose recently updated Fire: A Brief History is highly recommended to those who wish to understand how we arrived into an era he suggests we name the “pyrocene”.
Excerpts from an essay published during last year’s Season of Fire Siege below; images are from news accounts, with captions added by DP.
LITHIC LANDSCAPE AT FLASH POINT
CONTAGION UNMASKED WITHIN THE PYROCENE
This week, we stay with Elaine Scarry and the Boston Review, via a 2011 interview following the publication of her book, Thinking in an Emergency. Her thoughts (excerpted below) resonate all the more strongly nine years later, within the context of our deepening ecological and political crisis. Images are self-explanatory.
During this week of commemoration, being 75 years since the United States dropped two bombs on overwhelmingly civilian populations in Japan, we turn to Elaine Scarry in the pages of the Boston Review.
The entire essay is worth a close read; excerpts below, with archival photos added by DP.
This week, among the many books that have sustained us during CovidTimes, we celebrate the voice of Ocean Vuong, both in his “memoir” (in quotes because it is so much more than that!) and in his equally as exhilarating book of poems, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, a title we wish we had found ourselves.
In roaming through various interviews online, we are relieved to find the same exceptional qualities in dialogue with others. Excerpts from one of these (within the worthy On Being project) below, with images relayed from the studio of Chie Hitotsuyama.
Following a week in which fundamental constitutional protections have come under relentless criminal assault from an increasingly violent, extremist and lawless administration, we turn to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of the forthcoming Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present.
Excerpts from a recent interview below, with images from Robin Bell’s NYC Trump Hotel projections. Relayed from Bell Visuals, we get this week’s title from one of them.
About his projections, Robin Bell says:
“I was reading this thing about when you deal with authoritarian governments, you have to create your own story. If we’re reacting to these people all the time, they can just play us. So, part of the thing is making things that you can laugh at, that you can share, that aren’t just reacting to them.”