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.
Today, as Florence makes landfall and releases her vast quantities of water, we offer a poem by Conrad Aiken, Hatteras Calling.
Cape Hatteras defines a southerly coastline for Hatteras Island, among the barrier islands of the so-called Outer Banks and in the path of over one hundred hurricanes during the past century and a half. In August 1889, a surgeon named William Aiken and his very pregnant wife embarked on a voyage along the North Carolina coast. One account reads as follows:
Their ship was caught in a hurricane, floundering against the rocky shore off Cape Hatteras, and William and Anna were handed to safety with the air of a human chain formed by the crew only a short time before a wave washed away the deckhouse where their cabin was located. But Anna suffered no ill effects, and she and her husband reached their new home . There on August 5, 1899, their first child was born . ”
A child they named Conrad, who in 1942 would write the following lines:
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.
Now comes the venerable Mark Kurlansky with an excerpt from Nonviolence: The HIstory of A Dangerous Idea, dating from 2006 yet more relevant with each passing day of madness and mayhem. Interwoven iterations of Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s Knotted Revolver added by DP.
As the political circus continues to release one tragic clown after another into the remnants of the public sphere, we urge DP readers to turn attention away from the delusional ringmaster and focus on the national prison strike now underway.
Demands are listed here.
From all the many important voices that have come to the surface, we relay an excerpt from an anonymous “jailhouse lawyer” representing the organization Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, addressing issues of racial terror and prison slavery:
Next follows an excerpt from a Democracy Now interview, transcribing the voice of made by Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood In the Water: the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.
To repeat the last part of Ms. Thompson’s final sentence:
People standing together to let us know this system is broken and we’ve got to change.
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
During a strange New England summer of extreme heat waves, monsoon rains and an unnerving paucity of flying insects and pollinators, it is difficult to avoid slipping into the dark selfie-swamp of radical dystopia, the one where we (homo sapiens) disappear from the universe; thus we turn to an illuminating excerpt from an essay by China Miéville, exploring the interplay between apocalypse and utopia.
The images are pinged from the studio of Ruth Ewan, selections from a series of nineteen woodblock prints titled Unrecorded Future, Tell Us What Broods There.
Miéville adds texture to the debris rotting beneath the Angel of History in an excellent interview that appeared earlier this year in the pages of the Boston Review:
And finally, from the hand of Paul Klee, and with a nod to Walter Benjamin:
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