As the long-suppressed transition from a culture of extraction to a culture of connection gains momentum, there are increasingly frequent occasions to celebrate, such as the death knell for a decades-long effort by developers to brutally transform pristine and sacred wilderness into a glaciated playground for the world’s most conspicuous consumers. From the press release:
For those not familiar with the long struggle to keep Jumbo wild:
Fortunately, we can now change the verb tense in the first sentence above, from “is” to “was”.
DEFEATED MASTER PLAN FOR A JUMBO DESECRATION
As for the noble Griz:
CLICK FOR VIDEO FROM THE KTUNAXA NATION
We are indebted to a DP correspondent for nudging us towards a new book by Susan Neiman, provocatively titled Learning From The Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. As we await the book’s arrival to our local independent bookstore, we relay the below excerpts from the publisher’s website. Images are from the lifelong researches of Christian Boltanski into, through and against the darkness.
TABLEAU NOIR 2007
ENTRE TEMPS 2004
SHADOWS FROM LESSONS OF DARKNESS 1987
In an early DP post, we identified the transport of Chiricahua Apache to Florida as a prequel to the more fully articulated transport and concentration camp network that would emerge fifty five years later. So it goes.
As fires continue to devastate the Amazon, another conflagration rages out of control in nearby Bolivia. This week, we relay an outstanding alarm bell essay by a former Bolivian ambassador to the UN named Pablo Solon, translated and published on the website of Ecologist: The Journal for the Post-Industrial Age.
As Solon points out, the Bolivian government appears to think that deforestation is ok if the resulting land is used for the production of “sustainable” biofuels. Such thinking will eventually have unthinkable consequences.
Meanwhile, a fire extinguishing boat has recently arrived on the shores of Turtle Island:
On arrival, the distinguished passenger shown above stated:
Even on a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I heard about the forests in the Amazon rainforest — the fires in the Amazon rainforest, yeah. And it is, of course, devastating, and it’s so horrible. It’s hard to imagine. So, I mean, we need to — I mean, this is a clear sign that we need to stop destroying nature, and we need — and our war against nature must end.
Now comes artist Alvaro Enciso, with his efforts to recognize and commemorate hundreds of deaths in the Sonoran Desert; human beings seeking sanctuary within the northern “Goliath”. From a recent interview
on Democracy Now:
In an Artist Statement, Enciso writes:
And finally, from his own story:
“Proper credentials” be damned — we are grateful for such art.
We are indebted to an especially well-informed correspondent for steering us towards the documentation for a “convening” this past April at the Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study.
Conceived and brilliantly directed by Sarah Lewis, the event explored themes of race, identity, power and justice in relation to a wide variety of visual materials, including both that serve the mutating yet ever-present regime of racial terror and those that form the heart of a powerful and emancipatory counter-narrative.
Given the ongoing eruption of xenophobic and racist messaging and actions, such questions (and such convenings) are more essential than ever. The below image links to an introductory video, worthy of your close attention.
Below, excerpts from an interview with Sarah Lewis related to the opening of a museum exhibition that posed similar questions in the context of a gallery installation, this time with a focus on what constitutes American citizenship.
WHAT WILL ANIMATE US TO ACT AS CITIZENS?
In the aftermath of this year’s Hiroshima Day, we offer a few excerpts from a wide-ranging interview with Elaine Scarry roaming the key themes of her book, Thermonuclear Monarchy, published (and largely ignored) five years ago.
Page images are from Shomei Tomatsu & Ken Domon’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document that first appeared in 1961.
Scarry’s ultimate prognosis?
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen this year, or whether it’s going to happen this century, but it’s almost inconceivable that nuclear war isn’t going to happen.”
No, this week’s title does not refer back to last week’s snapshot of hubris and delusion; rather, we relay the most recent assessment of the Greenland ice sheet from a keen observer of climate collapse in the Arctic, Jason Box. Below, excerpts from today’s interview with Amy Goodman:
Now please consider a simple graphic depiction of the number of passengers conveyed via air travel between the years 1970 and 2019, charting an increase from four hundred thousand to four billion. That’s a ten thousandfold increase, well within a single lifetime!
We no longer fly here at DP; anyone who thinks that we can address the climate emergency without dramatic and immediate changes in human behaviors is not honestly confronting the implications of the data.
As we have noted previously, surely Jeff Bezos occupies a cosmic category all his own within the Annals of Hubris and Delusion. The below excerpts are from a February 2019 interview; images, from the website for this spectacularly toxic and dystopia vision of the future, with captions added by DP.
WOW, LOOK AT THAT COOL DESOLATION WE CREATED DOWN THERE!
THE ULTIMATE INVERTED UTOPIAN
We do not pretend to know the future here at DP. Yet the above nonsense reminds us of the famous lines from Tacitus in Agricola: Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.
In the Peterson translation: To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.
And then there is the passage from Gunther Anders to which we return again and again, and that we recommend to Mr. Bezos for his evening meditation as he gazes ad astra:
Neoliberalism, representing the subjection of all life forms to the economic needs of a single supremacist species, incorporates a concentration of violence so extreme that resistance often appears futile. Yet, as we have long proposed, the Gandhian concept of “satyagraha” offers a viable path towards some other orientation for living on earth, an orientation based in connections and relations rather than dominance, extraction and commodification. Embracing the spirit of satyagraha, Extinction Rebellion (XR) represents the single best chance we presently have to avert irreparable and irreversible climate breakdown, with horrific implications for all species, including Homo Sapiens.
Below, excerpts from a recent essay by XR vision coordinator Skeena Finebaum-Rathor elaborating on the ethos of non-violence as both a tactic of disruption and as the direct embodiment of a deeply transformative love and respect for all life forms. When we “draw the line” against ongoing neoliberal plunder (such as opportunistically expanding resource extraction in those regions that are most vulnerable to climate collapse), it is not a line of “battle” but a line from the heart, in the spirit of compassionate self-sacrifice.
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: