Indigenous Consciousness, Bella Vista
In this landscape, the Syilx learned to live as this grassland. The grassland and the Syilx became themselves together. Through attention, the Syilx maintained it. Then they were removed, so that it could be a wilderness, which could provide re-creation for a socially-constricted culture in the North American East. The process takes the above grassland and makes it into this:
Settler Consciousness, Bella Vista
Grass removed by plow. No life left.
The living earth, now a wilderness, is turned into land. As land, it is suitable for development into the image of social and personal health and renewal that was behind the entire resettlement project. That looks like this …
Ready for tomatoes and peppers. The plastic is to keep down weeds and to heat the soil, so that the crops are ripe earlier in a landscape not really suited for them. Because there are no living bacteria in the soil, the nutrients they provided are replaced by petroleum-based fertilizers.
After ten years of this, the fields look much like the urban image that grew up with them and of which this new plastic technology is a reflection …
Back Alleys looking like agricultural plow lines. Here, the only life is artistic. This is steam punk land, with old images recombined to make elaborate artworks. Look how the shadows of the sun are taking part, laying their own subdivision lines on the land. This is the real wilderness.
But even here, the living earth reasserts itself. In the following image, a birch tree planted in the 1970s as a steam punk reminder of wilderness and the indigenous earth it replaced, is setting the scene for the return of the living sun …
Once the domain of the sterile petunia. Now with no landscaping budget (or interest), the weeds are reclaiming the land. In the wild city, the living, indigenous earth is reasserting itself.
Humans are in a conversation with the sun and the earth. They are not always leading the conversation. I see the future here: if humans can reclaim the wild city in the way cities do, as steam punk artists including the living, indigenous earth in their palette, following it rather than leading it, helping it in its work, this will once more be civilized land. Health is to be like the Syilx and to realize that there is only wilderness where humans make it.
The Okanagan Wilderness, Kelowna
This is the real Kelowna: a beautiful steam punk artwork of deep honesty and presence. The tourist brochures about lakes and vineyards are a different kind of steam punk art work, using 100 year old images to make images of health.
Humans love bling, but they also love life. The trick is to bring them together. Weeds and problem deer are a large part of the solution. Weeds can move out into the living earth and compromise its life, but the wild earth can also move into wilderness and bring it back to life. That kind of earth is all around us. If we follow it, we will find life.