We a grateful to a DP correspondent for reminding us of an essay by scientist, writer and citizen of the Potawatomi Nation Robin Kimmerer. First published by Orion in 2017, the essay becomes ever more relevant with each passing day. Excerpts below, interwoven with images of braided sweetgrass relayed from Whispering Wind.
Now comes artist Maya Lin with an NYC Madison Square installation created from forty-nine white cedar trees transplanted from the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The project raises numerous questions, both exposing and embracing an ethos of human dominion over nature.
Image and text relayed from the project’s website, followed by a link to a documentary video.
Now comes Mark Bittman, author of the recently publishedAnimal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal.
Interview excerpts below, with images mirrored from the website of artist Pamela Michelle Johnson.
About her work, artist Pamela Michelle Johnson writes:
Teetering towers of hamburgers, drippy stacks of syrupy waffles, sticky piles of sugary candy… Junk food. It’s the taste of America. It is what we eat. It is who we are. The insatiable American appetite is set on a path of consumption. Devouring to the point where we are left with nothing, nothing but the consequential garbage. Quintessentially American, junk food is not just part of our diet, it epitomizes our cultural ideals and social norms. Through my work, I strive to invoke reflection on a culture focused on mass-consumption and mass-production, where the negative aspects of overindulgence are often forgotten or ignored. The work questions a culture that equates fulfillment, pleasure and happiness with what we consume.
Whether it is gluttonous quantities of larger than life junk food or the solitary empty wrapper, abandoned soon after devouring was complete, the images are charged with social relevance. The work flaunts our culture back at us. It questions embracing a culture of complete and instant gratification while ignoring the consequences of our indulgences. The work questions many of our cultural ideals and social norms. These are the pictures of our insatiable appetites; they are the pictures of the consequences. The heightened realism of these paintings serves to remind viewers that this is a mirror to our culture.
On the day after Earth Day, we relay the voice of Melanie Yazzie, Diné co-founder of The Red Nation, a grassroots Indigenous liberation organization, and assistant professor of Native American studies and American studies at University of New Mexico. Excerpts from yesterday’s Democracy Now interview below, with images of a Raven Portrait Mask by Janice Morin, mirrored from the Raven Makes Gallery.
Now comes the well-named environmental philosopher Melanie Challenger with an important new exploration of how human supremacism came to be the entrenched self-identity for “civilized” mammals within the less well-named species, Homo Sapiens.
Now comes Soul Fire Farm co-director and farm manager Leah Penniman, with two excerpts from a recent essay in prayer and praise for the gift of ecological humility vividly present within Black ecological thought, free from the death spiral of extractive white supremacism.
About her interdisciplinary practice, Harrower writes:
As an ecologist and multimedia artist, I specialize in species interactions under climate change. I am greatly interested in the processes by which those interactions break down and their resulting environmental consequences, currently witnessed as massive species extinctions, forced migrations and the mistiming of biological events. Approaching these topics as an interdisciplinary researcher, I engage diverse communities on local and global issues to understand how ecological research that is connected to an arts practice can impact social change. […] The resultant symbolic representations and interdisciplinary narratives provide unexpected ways to engage with species and environments, encouraging a radical reimagining of our relationships as living beings on this planet.
This week we bend our ears towards the Galician artist Isaac Cordal in conversation with LARB’s Brad Evans, convener of an exceptional ongoing series probing the subject of violence, in all its modulations.
Two excerpts below, with images from Cordal’s installation People of Trees, dating from the early days of the pandemic, relayed from his website.
Let’s all repeat that last sentence together:
Creation and the solidarity it fosters may just be the only thing that save us.
This week, we simply relay the following deep message from adrienne maree brown: poet, writer, pleasure activist, doula, wedding singer (!) and, to our ears, an essential and transformative voice beckoning us towards a viable future, if we are brave enough to live beyond the wounds and wounding: “the healing path is humility, laughter, truth, awareness and choice.”
And a few lines later: “we are our only possible medicine.” Best read out loud, and then read out loud again!
As Swan convincingly documents, the toxicity of “modern” life has not only saturated the world’s oceans and most distant deserts, but has also brought polluting “externalities” into our own bodies, bringing fresh dimension to Günther Anders maxim :a world without us.
An excerpt below, as released by the publisher. Images are from the remarkable “Red Body” series by Valentina De’ Mathà, as relayed from her website.
Yet we are sure to cook up some clever “disruptive” tech to resolve this issue through cryonics, nano-robotic sperm, embryonics or some other hubristic device that will permit us to survive as lab-grown meat without changing a single twitch of our collective behavior. As for other species, well, they might remain available for our entertainment and nostalgia-binges via VR and possibly even in hermetically sealed zoos and aquaria.
Now comes the voice of this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Louise Glück, whose quiet excellence we have long admired, and whose aversion to the “collective” tribunal in favor of precarious, accidental intimacy we most certainly share, hence our longstanding rejection of social media. Excerpts from her brief Nobel Lecture below, with the Emily D. poem, strangely (though unsurprisingly) misrepresented on the Nobel website.
Not unlike how we welcome those who find their way to DP.