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dust_and_shadow:fieldnotes_1 [2019-09-09 21:04]
maja
dust_and_shadow:fieldnotes_1 [2019-09-10 08:10] (current)
maja
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 <​cite>​The Wilderness Act, 1964</​cite></​blockquote>​ <​cite>​The Wilderness Act, 1964</​cite></​blockquote>​
  
-We had arrived in the Sonoran desert. A place of desiccated time, layered time, geological, vegetal, human time. Time kneads the Earth’s crust into deep folds, cracks and canyons. Plants lay dormant through cycles of drought or grow slowly for centuries, bursting into blossom after the first rains. Humans come and go. Blown through the ages like tumbleweeds. Things don’t really decay here. They shrivel, dry up or slowly rust, yet remain present, as they gradually erode into dust. A thick, dusty atmosphere of things that were, things that are and things that might be. Densities and intensities coagulating on a larger than human scale, illuminated by stark light or lurking in the deep shadow.+Sonoran desert. A place of desiccated time, layered time, geological, vegetal, human time. Time kneads the Earth’s crust into deep folds, cracks and canyons. Plants lay dormant through cycles of drought or grow slowly for centuries, bursting into blossom after the first rains. Humans come and go. Blown through the ages like tumbleweeds. Things don’t really decay here. They shrivel, dry up or slowly rust, yet remain present, as they gradually erode into dust. A thick, dusty atmosphere of things that were, things that are and things that might be. Densities and intensities coagulating on a larger than human scale, illuminated by stark light or lurking in the deep shadow.
  
 <​blockquote>​There is enough here to sustain, but no lush overabundance of life. Much like the dark night of the soul, the desert gives little comfort, almost nothing. There is a scarcity which just barely supports life. This almost nothing is also just enough, a desert which will sustain and transform life upon it. <​blockquote>​There is enough here to sustain, but no lush overabundance of life. Much like the dark night of the soul, the desert gives little comfort, almost nothing. There is a scarcity which just barely supports life. This almost nothing is also just enough, a desert which will sustain and transform life upon it.
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 </​blockquote>​ </​blockquote>​
  
-Our first experience of Phoenix was that of sprawling suburbia, a seemingly endless grid of ordinal numbers and presidents. A city of three million people keeping the desert at bay. Yet the desert refuses to be tamed. ​The dust from the big “beyond” blows across the streets on the hot wind. It covers all surfaces, forms a thin crust and penetrates everything. A reminder that the heart of darkness is our neighbour. Hidden beneath otherworldly rocks. A vast expanse with “outstanding opportunities for solitude” protected by the Wilderness Act and it’s own indifference. A vastness that remains incomprehensible despite the many attempts to focus and frame it, from early Hohokam sites to contemporary land art. +The dust from the big “beyond” blows across the streets on the hot wind. It covers all surfaces, forms a thin crust and penetrates everything. A reminder that the heart of darkness is our neighbour. Hidden beneath otherworldly rocks. A vast expanse with “outstanding opportunities for solitude” protected by the Wilderness Act and it’s own indifference. A vastness that remains incomprehensible despite the many attempts to focus and frame it, from early Hohokam sites to contemporary land art. 
  
 <​blockquote>​Vast is the kingdom of dust! Unlike terrestrial kingdoms, it knows no limits. No ocean marks its boundaries. No mountains hem it in. No parallels of latitude and longitude define its boundless areas, nor can the farthermost stars in the infinitudes of space serve other than as a twinkling outpost of a realm as vast as the universe itself. <​blockquote>​Vast is the kingdom of dust! Unlike terrestrial kingdoms, it knows no limits. No ocean marks its boundaries. No mountains hem it in. No parallels of latitude and longitude define its boundless areas, nor can the farthermost stars in the infinitudes of space serve other than as a twinkling outpost of a realm as vast as the universe itself.
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-The world speaks to us in material forces. We gradually begin to sense its overlapping relational fields. Other-knowing,​ co-existence and reciprocal engagement. Communing rather than examining, cross-pollination rather than exploitation,​ reconciliation rather than reduction+The world speaks to us in material forces. ​
  
  
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 </​blockquote>​ </​blockquote>​
  
-We are witness to grand visions refusing to fade from matter to memory. Domed structures barely holding onto existence. Failed utopias hovering in some zombie half-life; Biosphere 2, Arcosanti, repeating groups of eight. Half dust. Half baked. What would a banishing ritual for these haunted utopias look like? Could they be transformed,​ or should they be reused and recycled, like planes in the boneyard? There are high risks to experimentation. Most recently, techno-utopian experimentation. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale. The New Age perversion of spirituality tourism in Sedona. Neoreaction (Dark Enlightenment) and New Age existing as each-other’s flipsides, collapsing the complexities of uncertainty into a few select parameters or platitudes. The questions that uncertainty gives rise to are answered with a reversion to a mythical ‘golden age’ or mistaking a local maxima for something more. These are warning signals of the pre-modern perverted, gone astray, of confusions between signal and noise. So, how can we animate non-modern sensibilities without becoming entrapped by dualisms of light and darkness, good and evil, us and them, love and power?+We are witness to grand visions refusing to fade from matter to memory. Domed structures barely holding onto existence. Failed utopias hovering in some zombie half-life; Biosphere 2, Arcosanti, repeating groups of eight. Half dust. Half baked. What would a banishing ritual for these haunted utopias look like? Could they be transformed,​ or should they be reused and recycled, like planes in the boneyard?
  
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 <​cite>​Timothy Morton, Humankind</​cite>​ <​cite>​Timothy Morton, Humankind</​cite>​
 </​blockquote>​ </​blockquote>​
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-Perhaps we’re after a humanist (or at least humane) view without anthropocentrism,​ balancing on a fine edge between social constructivism and social engineering. Moving from social contracts to a natural contract. From value to valuation (of matter, of ecology, of experience…). From sequential decisions to layered selections. From static matter to a space of operation. From the frame to framing. From facilitating to communing, catalysing and spawning. How do we decentre without falling into the abyss of nihilism? Finding a place of care, empathy and conviviality within the contemporary worlds. Increasing the porousness between interiority and exteriority. From the space between the cells to the space between the stars. Animism, animation, re-animation. 
  
 <​blockquote>​To engage with animism necessarily involves being provoked to think more carefully about what it means to be a person. [T]he understanding that persons always live in relation with others and, in animist communities,​ are regularly encouraged to act respectfully — especially towards those one intends to eat. That is, this animism is always local and specific. It might not be at all romantic, transcendent or esoteric, but might instead be quite practical or pragmatic as people negotiate everyday needs. <​blockquote>​To engage with animism necessarily involves being provoked to think more carefully about what it means to be a person. [T]he understanding that persons always live in relation with others and, in animist communities,​ are regularly encouraged to act respectfully — especially towards those one intends to eat. That is, this animism is always local and specific. It might not be at all romantic, transcendent or esoteric, but might instead be quite practical or pragmatic as people negotiate everyday needs.