This book tells a story of contemporary life that accentuates its moments of enchantment and explores the possibility that the affective force of those moments might be deployed to propel ethical generosity. It claims both that the contemporary world retains the power to enchant humans and that humans can cultivate themselves so as to experience more of that effect. Enchantment is something that we encounter, that hits us, but it is also a comportment that can be fostered through deliberate strategies. One of those strategies might be to give greater expression to the sense of play, another to hone sensory receptivity to the marvelous specificity of things. Yet another way to enhance the enchantment effect is to resist the story of the disenchantment of modernity.
For that story has itself contributed to the condition it describes. Its rhetorical power has real effects. The depiction of nature and culture as orders no longer capable of inspiring deep attachment inflects the self as a creature of loss… While I agree that there are plenty of aspects of contemporary life that fit the disenchantment story, I also think there is enough evidence of everyday enchantment to warrant the telling of an alter-tale. Such sites of enchantment today include, for example, the discovery of sophisticated modes of communication among nonhumans, the strange agency of physical systems at far-from-equilibrium states, and the animation of objects by video technologies–an animation whose effects are not fully captured by the idea of “commodity fetishism.”
To be enchanted is to be struck and shaken by the extraordinary that lives amid the familiar and the everyday. Starting from the assumption that the world has become neither inert nor devoid of surprise but continues to inspire deep and powerful attachments, I tell a tale designed to render that attachment more palpable and audible. If popular psychological wisdom has it that you have to love yourself before you can love another, my story suggests that you have to love life before you can care about anything. The wager is that, to some small but irreducible extent, one must be enamored with existence and occasionally even enchanted in the face of it in order to be capable of donating some of one’s scarce mortal resources to the service of others.
(10 gallon) hats off to Studio-x for mixing urban and non-urban considerations of architecture.
I’ve been ruminating (yes) about how to better interface with and represent ecocritical investigations on remote public lands, and have the work BE more salient to an urban public.
I sometimes (often) get blank looks if I talk about the fact that we all own the USA’s public land. So much real and symbolic action takes place on this vast area (over 95,000 square miles) of high plains and high desert*.
In response to the interview about virtual fences, I’m thinking about
- at what point in the interview Anderson (and interviewer) mentions animal welfare – not until midway or later in article, certainly framed as secondary or even an after thought
- how easy it is to privilege convenience and human progress, continuing to make animal welfare second to your priorities (if that)
- looking at Anderson’s enthusiasm about technology controlling our literal actions (and not even in the future, right now, how that’s leading us)
- cows are ‘handed’ (left and right) as we are. They can recall where virtual fences were (because they experienced unpleasant feedback to approaching theses zones)
- question: to surveille the animals via drones and electronics performs what in relation to control of human biopower?
- can one *really* fence off poisonous plants (a single one?)?
- can the drone birds be sent to frighten off wolves and lions and bears (oh my)?
- can songs be sung for other purposes across that landscape, like Anderson does in the cows’ ear pieces?
- the ‘new aesthetic’ privileges a remote sensing of the world, acknowledging the ever-decreasing direct apprehension we have or are interested in having (what are we doing with all that time we gain?)
- the ‘new aesthetic’ takes non-critical pleasure in surveillance, distance, and the production of accidental wonders. how does this operate with real animals (and real meat and money) at the end of the line?
- the positive impacts of the virtual fencing are great: ease of moving livestock away from riparian areas and depleted landscapes, away from predators, away from wild herds, removal of hard fencing helps wildlife’s mobility.
- remote sensing from drones (robo birds) can tell you a detailed story of the current conditions of the landscape:
Christie Leece (my collaborator on Gila 2.0) and I are trying to figure out next steps — hopefully in Arizona.
On a related note, basal ganglia controlled (like the robo rat in the Anderson article) in mice is featured on Radiolab: Damn It, Basal Ganglia
Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.
The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.
January 29th, 2013 | Category: animals | Comments are closed
I have an exhibition at bitforms gallery in New York through Feb 15, 2013.
It is my first solo show at the gallery, and a further development of “Necrocracy,” the work I began at Diverseworks in Houston, Texas, as a commission in March 2012.
New work includes a Petrochemical Self-Assessment Form, as well as a series of body bags for humans and companion animals.
I’ve posted the Petrochemical Self-Assessment Form here.
If you are interested, please empty your pockets and examine your hang tags, and fill it out.
Then you can
a> mail it back to the gallery, or
b> scan it and email me at marina at o-matic dot com