loose in the forest encircling the city and the sown land

  1. There have been periods of my life when I’ve filmed incessantly. I miss that.
  2. “It is the spirit of the unknown and the disorderly, loose in the forest encircling the city and the sown land… wildness makes of these connections spaces of darkness and light in which objects stare out of their mottled nakedness while signifiers float by. Wildness is the death space of signification.”
    —Michael Taussig
  3. Flat against the dirt of this island shivering in a northern ocean, I look for wildness in cracks.
  4. Earlier this year I spent a few days as part of a group studying with an artist in rural Cambridgeshire. Among the many things discussed — and put into practice — was the idea of body-knowledge (a topic pertinent to the work I was currently engaged in; it still is).
  5. Following a session of meditation and movement (attempts at the former never quite work out for me, but the capacity of my body for the latter regularly surprises and intrigues), I took some time to walk the perimeter of the art centre, a former farm.
  6. The dull, startling base of the bird-scarers.
  7. Utopia in intimate gesture.
  8. Utopia is wish landscapes
  9. (someone said the wooden house sculpture in the woods was built by that artist who paints on the gum stuck in the metal slats of the Millennium Bridge)
  10. “Wildness must take us into its mottled embrace and press us to stare into those places of slippage between language and experience and life and death; wildness can give us access to the unknown and the disorderly, and we will enter there at our own risk.”
    —Jack Halberstam, Wildness, Loss, Death
  11. I was given a small, cheap video camera for my birthday this year. It becomes both talisman and prosthetic.
  12. “Our machines are disturbingly lively and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”
    —Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto
  13. I remember my first weeks in England. The realisation that mud could freeze. The browns of Oxfam knits and dead leaves. Seeing my fingers change colour as I never had before. I didn’t know I’d be an alien when we got here.

 

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A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be

Ursula K. Le Guin, A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be:

Utopia has been euclidean, it has been European, and it has been masculine. I am trying to suggest, in an evasive, distrustful, untrustworthy fashion, and as obscurely as I can, that our final loss of faith in that radiant sandcastle may enable our eyes to adjust to a dimmer light and in it perceive another kind of utopia. As this utopia would not be euclidean, European, or masculinist, my terms and images in speaking of it must be tentative and seem peculiar.

Non-European, non-euclidean, non-masculinist: they are all negative definitions, which is all right, but tiresome; and the last is unsatisfactory, as it might be taken to mean that the utopia I’m trying to approach could only be imagined by women — which is possible — or only inhabited by women — which is intolerable. Perhaps the word I need is yin. Utopia has been yang. In one way or another, from Plato on, utopia has been the big yang motorcycle trip. Bright, dry, clear, strong, firm, active, aggressive, lineal, progressive, creative, expanding, advancing, and hot. Our civilization is now so intensely yang that any imagination of bettering its injustices or eluding its self-destructiveness must involve a reversal. …To attain the constant, we must return, go round, go inward, go yinward. What would a yin utopia be? It would be dark, wet, obscure, weak, yielding, passive, participatory, circular, cyclical, peaceful, nurturant, retreating, contracting, and cold.

I have not been convincingly shown, and seem to be totally incapable of imagining for myself, how any further technological advance of any kind will bring us any closer to being a society predominantly concerned with preserving its existence; a society with a modest standard of living, conservative of natural resources, with a low constant fertility rate and a political life based upon consent; a society that has made a successful adaptation to its environment and has learned to live without destroying itself or the people next door. But that is the society I want to be able to imagine — I must be able to imagine, for one does not get on without hope.

The full text can be found here.

process was all

Two complementary passages that I came across during the early stages of researching weird nails, the performance piece I’ve been developing for the past six months or so. With less than a week before the work-so-far is shared with an audience, I find it reassuring to remind myself of them…

José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, the Then and There of Queer Futurity:

An emphasis on means as opposed to ends is innately utopian insofar as utopia can never be prescriptive of futurity. Utopia is an idealist mode of critique that reminds us that there is something missing, that the present and presence (and its opposite number, absence) is not enough.

Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed:

 …and the separation of means and ends was, to her, false. For her, as for him, there was no end. There was process: process was all. You could go in a promising direction or you could go wrong, but you did not set out with the expectation of ever stopping anywhere, all commitments thus understood took on substance and duration.

The here and now is a prison house

José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, the Then and There of Queer Futurity:

The future is queerness’s domain. Queerness is a structuring and educated mode of desiring that allows us to see and feel beyond the quagmire of the present. The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalizing rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for the minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.