A central theme for DP over the years: the violence we do to other life forms, and to our living earth, will eventually become manifest within our own bodies, hearts and brains. Such manifestations are inevitable, given that — despite our delusional protestations to the contrary — we are part of nature, and not lords over her.
Now comes artist Gillian Genser, whose generous, luminous presence in the face of tragic agonies was brought to our attention by a faithful DP reader, for which we are deeply grateful. What magnificent creations, birthed from Genser’s studio, at the cost of her own health and well-being!
The below testimony, first published elsewhere, is relayed below with permission from the author. Images are from her website, where her entire body of exquisite work, made from the memory of joy, can be studied and celebrated.
“Re-expressing what should have been our first human perceptions of the ecosystem, his brain contains butterfly pupae and a filigree depiction of an intercellular/ inter-ecosystem network as he ponders our place in the world.”
“His heart (a fragile brachiopod) displays an opal (symbolizing hope for our planet) where the shell’s inhabitant one resided.”
It is impossible to arrive at consensus over what we must collectively do when there is not even the dimmest outline of consensus regarding what is happening, or what part of our imaginary narrative is real. Many years ago, Philip K. Dick identified reality “as that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Yet strange beliefs become ever more fervent — transcendent, even — as the weight of factual reality slowly and oh so surely attains a crushing critical mass.
Now comes sociologist and political economist William Davies with an essay extrapolated from his recent book, Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World. His closing paragraphs, excerpted below. Images are from Alfredo Jaar’s 1984 project, Searching For K.
Nervous states have a way of resolving through nervous breakdowns.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer: you know the rest.
On a day when the spirit of giving thanks, already strained by the historical realities of genocide and environmental exsanguination, distorts even further into the perverse frenzy known — fittingly enough — as Black Friday, we turn to the deep Indigenous wisdom of Sherri Mitchell with an excerpt from Sacred Instructions. Against the death-dance of consumption and commodification, she proposes a dance of life that begins simply, by listening to the one continuous song of the universe.
Images are from the Rockland, Maine studio of Eric Hopkins.
WAVES AND CLOUDS
CURRENTS AND CLOUDS
The recent release of a manipulated video to justify the exclusion of a journalist from the press corps provides yet more evidence that we have passed, possibly irretrievably, from a world of facts into a world of delusions, dreams and projection. The inability to distinguish between reality and fabrication suggests the presence of psychosis, whether at an individual level, or as evidenced in collective behaviors such as political rallies.
Now comes filmmaker Amanda Zackem, with excerpts from an interview in which she discusses her recent film with its title descending from an essay by Chris Hedges, who has been identifying critical pathologies within the American body politic for many years. On the big picture:
On gutting the Humanities within our education system:
On toxic masculinity:
The entire film is worth close viewing/listening, and is freely available on vimeo:
In the essay predating the film, Hedges refers to Dr. Joost Meerloo, in his pioneering research on the psychology of mass mind control, menticide, and brainwashing. Excerpts below, with images added by DP:
FAT ON CONFUSION
WAVE OF TERROR WRAPPED IN FLAG
During a week that has starkly exposed the ethical and spiritual crisis of our times, and as we continue to consider the implications of fresh data confirming the accelerating death spiral of anthropogenic climate breakdown, let us bend our ears to the soulful voice of Terry Tempest Williams, presently Writer in Residence at the Harvard Divinity School.
Below, excerpts from a recent interview, with images from Bear Ears country.
DP commends Harvard Divinity School for taking the lead on forthrightly and compassionately engaging with the deep ethical and spiritual crisis that threatens to envelop us, as human supremacism comes up against its own inherent limits, and as toxic neoliberalism begins to cannibalize itself, having exsanguinated, commodified, consumed and evacuated everything else.
This week, we note the death of fellow desperado philosopher Paul Virilio. Below, a montage of excerpts from a 2012 interview, bristling with ideas that have become ever more urgently relevant, as the world careens into dark spirals of toxic algos and avatars.
The images are details pinged from the extraordinary gunpowder paintings of Cai Guo-Qiang, featured at a recent exhibition at the Prado.
Virilio writes in Open Sky that one day the day will come when the day will not come; that day has come for him, in this fleeting iteration. May his ideass reverberate through the cosmos, jamming the fear.
Now comes law professor Fania Davis, with excerpts from prescient remarks delivered at the 10th Annual Howard Thurman Convocation in San Francisco, way back in 2005. Is it not high time to hear her words with fresh ears?
Images are from an intermedia installation titled Flow: Web of Interconnection, created by Beth Racette and Barbara Westfall.
That perilous future has arrived.
This week, as we continue our summer meditations on the splats and spasms of human supremacism, we simply relay information regarding a laudable exhibition assembled by curator Randy Jayne Rosenberg. Titled Ethics, Excess, Extinction, the exhibition took “meat space” within the El Paso Museum of Art until this past May, yet is still available for online perusal via Artworks For Change, for whom Ms. Rosenberg serves as executive director.
Rosenberg’s curatorial statement is excerpted below, with two pinged images from the contributions of Gale Hart.
YOU DON’T PICK HOW THEY ARE KILLED
BEFORE AND AFTER
As much of the world continues to boil and burn in a La Niña heat wave, we stay with the theme of how literature responds to climate change. A DP correspondent steered us to Amy Brady’s consistently engaging Burning Worlds column in the Chicago Review of Books, and in particular to her interview with poet Megan Hunter regarding her first novel, The End We Start From.
Hunter’s replies to Brady are excerpted below, followed by a passage from Ernst Bloch and an image from the studio of Antii Laitinen.
On making dystopia personal:
On floods at the beginning and at the end:
On finding the scraps of hope:
From Ernst Bloch’s introduction to The Principle of Hope:
And finally, a drowned selfie:
SELF-PORTRAIT ON THE SWAMP