Category Archives: buoys

Just How Blind, America?

We have received a number of emails from correspondents far and wide, asking us to explain how “drain the swamp” became “grow the cesspool”.

For decades, we have been stuck in the corrosive and demoralizing limbo zone that philosopher Antonio Gramsci called “the interregnum”, a time during which the Old Order is dying yet keeps itself alive through active vampiric suppression of the new body politic that struggles to be born.

During this time, Gramsci notes, “a great variety of morbid symptoms” are likely to be present. Limbo limbo, how low can we go? Thus we bend an ear to the voice of Gil Scott-Heron from the year 1974; the year of H2O-Gate Blues. The image within the interregnum — an untitled Car Crash by the German artist Dirk Skreber.

Beneath the audio file, a few choice GS-H lyrics that underscore the tragic fact that we have been here before, though now at an even lower level of the limbo. And we will be here again and again — lower and lower — unless we can break the deadly cycle, such that new life might enter the world with a fresh, powerful voice and take us somewhere else.

 

 

 

 

[….]

 

And then the last four lines……..

Four more years,

Four more years,

Four more years,

Four more years of THAT?

 

˜˜˜˜˜


Rescue Into Emergency

Now comes philosopher Santiago Zabala, in an interview from the invaluable ongoing Histories of Violence series convened by the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Images are from an environmental installation by artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho: Lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

About Lines, Niittyvirta and Aho offer the following thoughts:

The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long-term effects. The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea-levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future.

Art has the potential to convey scientific data, complex ideas and concepts, in a powerful way that words or graphs fall short of. Hopefully, through this work, people can better visualise and relate to [the] reality. 

Humans have been influencing the climate since the beginning of the industrial revolution and the effects have only been accelerating. LED lights visually resonate with contemporary consumer society. 

We felt that this solution possibly illustrates dystopian projections of the sea-level rise in the most tangible way: a threat that is encountered within coastal communities all over the world.

˜˜˜˜˜


Tyranny of Mammon

There was a bit of nervous tittering and tweeting among the clotted toffs and nabobs assembled at Davos when even the Crown Prince of the Windsor dynasty suggested the need for a “revolutionary paradigm shift”.  Wait — what?

Below, we turn to a few crystalline paragraphs written by Humanities professor Eugene McCarraher way back in 2011, yet ringing ever more truly during the present “forever hunger” omnicide. Italics and images added by DP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We highly recommend Professor McCarraher’s recently published The Enchantments of Mammon: How Capitalism Became the Religion of Modernity,  through which he amply expands on the above with rare historical insight, subtlety and wit.

˜˜˜˜˜

We also take a moment to commemorate the comic genius of Terry Jones, as embodied by our favorite avatar of Mammon here at DP: the immortal Mr. Creosote. The setting is a well-known bistro at Davos frequented by peckish members of the World Economic Forum, who observe Mr. C. from an unsafe distance……..

 

˜˜˜˜˜


A Tale of Two Fires

Onwards we sail into a new decade, during which many members of the species homo sapiens will be obliged to learn all over again that reality consists of that which does not go away when you stop believing in it.

Wildfire has a way of burning through even the most compelling alternative facts. 

 

FANTASY: BUSINESS AS USUAL


REALITY: CLIMATE EMERGENCY

Cheers to all; ever onwards into the smoke.

From This Sweet Earth

While political events continue to serve as massive noise generators that obscure the deeper stories unfolding around us, stories that may eventually enfold and envelop us — among them, the slash & burning of the Amazon rainforest — we listen to a pure cry of visceral pain transcribed into the body of an essay by writer and climate activist Elisabeth Peredo Beltrán.

A few excerpts below, with images from an installation by Ai Weiwei, using roots and trunks from ancient Pequi Vinagreiro trees, gathered by local artisans in the Bahian forest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

 


Here We Are Again

Yet another COP. Yet another chance for global leaders to take meaningful action. Yet another chance to dither and fiddle.

More promising: yet another Global Climate Strike. More voices than ever in the mix. A rising wave of global youth that will bring change whether the thoroughly discredited and delusional global “elites” want that change or not.

This week, in the midst of the compromised COP and the rising wave, we simply relay two statements from 350.org, the first from Executive Director May Boeve:

 

 

Next, from Latin American director Nicole Oliveira:

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜


You Be Good

Now comes a video/installation project created by visual artists Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, in collaboration with sci-fi writer Ted Chiang. The project interweaves filmed footage from the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope in Puerto Rico with acoustic and visual portraits of endangered parrots living in the forests nearby.

Chiang’s story The Great Silence serves as the narrative text, “spoken” by one of the surviving parrots. Excerpts from the text below, interwoven with images documenting the construction of the radio telescope, courtesy of the Arecibo Observatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

Below, a link to the video, an interspecies contact call worthy of close consideration:

 

˜˜˜˜˜


Scent of the Latent Commons

This week, we turn to a fearless and creative trans-disciplinary explorer of the emerging interplay between violent disappearance and the resplendent shimmer of life within the rhythms of the Sixth Extinction: Anna Tsing.

The below excerpts are relayed from an  excellent interview relating to the 2017 publication of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene, for which she was a co-editor.

Images are bounced from the website of artist Sadie Memphis Hennessy.

 

AEON

 

 

NANNY STATE

 

 

CYTOPLAST

 

˜˜˜˜˜

In closing, a quote from Tsing’s astonishingly inventive 2016 book, The Mushroom at the End of the World:

“Without stories of progress, the world has become a terrifying place. The ruin glares at us with the horror of its abandonment. It’s not easy to know how to make a life, much less avert planetary destruction. Luckily there is still company, human and not human. We can still explore the overgrown verges of our blasted landscapes – the edges of capitalist discipline, scalability, and abandoned resource plantations. We can still catch the scent of the latent commons – and the elusive autumn aroma.”

˜˜˜˜˜

 


Roots Into Deep Time

Now come two extraordinary artist projects that celebrate the ancient elders of our Earth, while exemplifying how art reveals, magnifies and teaches essential truths about how humans relate to the whole of life.

Below, excerpts from a brief essay by Rachel Sussman, relating to her decade-long project to visually document the Oldest Living Things in the World.

Images are relayed from the website of John Grade documenting his ongoing project Middle Fork.

 

 

 

 

 

˜˜˜˜˜

About Middle Fork, Grade writes:

The sculpture is informed by a living tree that stands within a forest near the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in the Cascade Foothills in Washington State. After the sculpture has completed its exhibition cycle, it will be laid at the base of the original tree to gradually moss over and disintegrate into the ground. The process of decay will be captured with time-lapse photography and motion sensor video. Over 4000 people have contributed to the creation of the sculpture. Each time Middle Fork has been exhibited, its length and width have been increased to specifically engage the new space.

The below video highly recommended:

 

˜˜˜˜˜


Just Beyond Yourself

A frequent occurrence here at DP: we begin down one path in search of a particular voice, only to hear the call of some other being in an entirely different direction or dimension.

This week, we intended to reflect upon a few provocative utterances on the nature and culture of violence from the voice of Roy Scranton, yet we were led astray — happily, willingly — towards bells and blackbirds as embodied in the thought and poetry of David Whyte.

Two brief excerpts below, with images from a recent exhibition of “just beyond” works by the extraordinary Chiharu Shiota.

UNCERTAIN JOURNEY

REFLECTIONS ON TIME AND SPACE

In an earlier interview, Whyte expands on what it means to live at the frontier just beyond the self, with reference to his time as a marine biologist:

˜˜˜˜˜

Chiharu’s website provides the following artist profile:

Confronting fundamental human concerns such as life, death and relationships, Shiota explores human existence throughout various dimensions by creating an existence in the absence either in her large-scale thread installations that include a variety of common objects and external memorabilia or through her drawings, sculptures, photography and videos.

˜˜˜˜˜