What can art do in the face of the unfolding climate crisis? This simple question haunts the editorial offices of DP like an angry ancestor.
James Berger, author of the excellent After the End, offers a few helpful insights in an interview that first appeared a month or so before Covid 19; we relay a reprise below, with images from the now dismantled Banksy Dismaland.
Now comes a trio of statements released in opposition to yet another spasm of human supremacist violence, this time in the shape of fish farm legislation promoted by an ecocidal administration under cover of Covid.
First up, from the Don’t Cage Our Ocean Coalition:
Next, from coalition member Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA):
And finally, from the Recirculating Farms Coalition:
Lest we forget, Mother Ocean is the mother of us all;
one day in the not so distant future she shall rise up and swallow us whole,
and bring such toxic delusions full stop.
California wildfires once again remind us that the Climate Emergency is not something that happens in 2030 or 2050: the Climate Emergency is happening right now, and we are in the midst of its varied modes of contagion.
We turn to fire historian Stephen Pyne whose recently updated Fire: A Brief History is highly recommended to those who wish to understand how we arrived into an era he suggests we name the “pyrocene”.
Excerpts from an essay published during last year’s Season of Fire Siege below; images are from news accounts, with captions added by DP.
LITHIC LANDSCAPE AT FLASH POINT
CONTAGION UNMASKED WITHIN THE PYROCENE
Parallel to the coronavirus pandemic, we have a toxic infodemic that magnifies the sense of helplessness and fear. Here at DP, we struggle every day with the question: what more can we do to help navigate such riptides?
At the very least, we can keep a close ear to those who best understand the genesis of what we are facing, such as the voice of David Quammen whose Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic was published in 2012. Excerpts from a recent Orion interview below.
For a book, we would encourage settling in with Richard Powers’ The Overstory. Two of our favorite quotes below:
“People aren’t the apex species they think they are. Other creatures-bigger, smaller, slower, faster, older, younger, more powerful-call the shots, make the air, and eat sunlight. Without them, nothing.”
“You and the tree in your backyard come from a common ancestor. A billion and a half years ago, the two of you parted ways. But even now, after an immense journey in separate directions, that tree and you still share a quarter of your genes. . . .”
And finally, a link to an outstanding performance of the Albinoni Adagio, offered as protection against useless panic and fear:
We are grateful to our colleagues at Rewilding Earth for publishing an excellent, detailed report on the threat of extensive deep-sea mining, written by Abundant Earth author Eileen Crist. The article includes an extensive bibliography, as well as the outlines of a non-extractive alternative way of connecting with seaborne earthlings and their magnificent habitat.
Brief excerpts below, together with a few images of hungry ghost maw-machines relayed from the website of a “pioneering” sea-mining corporation. They communicate the dark, indiscriminate and savage sort of supremacist violence that has become the signature of an extractive capitalism gone berserk, through an “always encroaching’ (see below) greed for plunder and profit.
As wildfires continue to rage throughout Australia, with smoke plumes crossing the Pacific above New Zealand, turning the glaciers brown, and detectable in Chile, the ongoing devastation being inflicted upon the Amazon rainforest has once again disappeared from view.
The costs of our collective inability to sustain attention, let alone take action, will eventually become manifest, and with a vengeance. Consider these words of warning from Raoni Metuktere, chief of the indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people. No images necessary; listen for the winds.
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 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:
Now comes Ronald Purser, author of the recently published McMindfulness: How Mindfulness became the New Capitalist Spirituality. His recent “long read” essay in the Guardian summarizes the central thesis. The entire essay is worthy of serious consideration; we find the below excerpts particularly compelling, including a lucid description of neoliberalism’s most pernicious ideological mantra. Images are relayed from the studio of Greg Dunn.