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.
During this time of year, we reflect on the mirabile mysterium, the word made flesh; that explosive presence of the divine as expressed through the birth of Jesus.
In the story of Mary, we are also reminded of the sacred nature of words; that the power of speech itself might well be considered as a sacred offering. It would then follow that when we abuse said power to deceive, manipulate or incite violence against each other or against other sentient beings, we are performing acts of profound desecration.
In the spirit of such reflections, a recent interview caught our ear, with Karen Armstrong discussing key themes explored in her magnificent and essential book, The Lost Art of Scripture. Excerpts below, followed by a link to a spirited performance of the Jacobus Gallus setting for Mirabile Mysterium, as performed by La Main Harmonique.
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.
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:
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jon Swan is a poet, translator, and free-lance writer, whose articles on environmental issues have appeared in several magazines, including Tikkun. New and collected poems can be found on-line at jonswanpoems.He and his wife live in Yarmouth, Maine.
DP readers will be familiar with the critique, one that we explored in numerous posts. Yet the publication of McNamee’s ZUCKED brings fresh texture and personal details to a story that will end, in time, with the widespread rejection of Facebook by parents (FB is toxic), teens (FB is so uncool), and by legislators (FB is a corrosive threat to fundamental values within democracy).