This image of paradise …
The Vineyard at the Rise
… laid over this image of paradise…
The Memory of the Syilx, a Displaced People, on the “Bella Vista Hills”
…is violence. Perhaps you can see that. Remember, this land …
… is not paradise. Paradise is a walled garden in Ancient Persia, where water from qanats, sheltered from the desert sun, is delivered into edible images of prayer.
6,000 Years Later
There arose images of the body as a walled garden, decorated and adored: not just the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but the Hebraic image of the body as sacred Earth.
6000 Years Later, The Grove to the Right of the Cloud Houses More Life than the Walled Body to its Left
Today, these understandings of spirit…
have been made real through the violence of naming. Rather than name things for what they are, the old tradition of naming them as paradise, however that is understood, continues.
This is our legacy. But what is paradise? It is a deep body image of security and protection, or as our ancestors put it, a guard, a yard, or an orchard: a protection against violence. This most intimate of places is itself violent.
It is a claim to Earth, which cannot be owned, with the entire weight of state violence to support it. As humans, a violent predatory species, most of us participate in this mapping out of the Earth in defensive lines to defend our fragile bodies and the intimacies of sharing them with the ones we love. It is an image of hope, that by drawing this line we can stop the violence — not of wolves or coyotes or cougars but of each other. It is what we have to work with. Creativity is violent, but hopes with one bold stroke to set violence aside, forever. In whatever form…
… it is a charm.
It must continually be washed of the world, if it is to contain its power, whether that is in the walled garden of a museum or just with a scrub brush.
It can even be alive, a kind of extension of the world’s will into intimate space.
No return to the original conception of paradise will heal the violence. It is not the return to violence or creativity that will heal the violence. It is the gesture of hope and compassion that will, shared.
It is an extension of the Earth’s sharing with us. Flax, Síya? and Rose, for instance, attract us from the Earth, the way we attract cats, shall we say.
We are their means of walking.
We carry their seed. We share this work with bees.
Nothing will heal the violence, but there is this connection, spirit to spirit, this acknowledgement of submission.
It is a living concept of the body. It is a ripening. It doesn’t happen all at once. It can be transferred to children. Currently in the administrative province, a kind of yard or garden, called British Columbia, the focus on the body is represented by the following graphic from the B.C. Ministry of Education Fine Arts Curriculum.
Notice that this image of a nuclear fast breeder reactor…
… represents Art-making as a language. It is culturally-interpreted. The child, the “learner”, is placed above the centre of a group of four abstract concepts. Where they intersect are unbounded regions of ideas, like the patterns of magnetism around a magnet.
It is a world of individuals, socially reacting to each other, with forays into the world beyond the garden, but always returning to its protection. Like everything else in this long tradition, it is violent. The old need for protection from others of our own kind remains, although there are other images we could follow, such as the salsify that gives itself to the wind.
One observation: no artist creates according to the image presented by the B.C. Ministry of Education, except those trained to understand their experience in its metaphors. One could draw the conclusion that the artists are among the group of those most needing control, if humans are to be protected any longer from the natural consequences of their guarding.
Grand Coulee Dam
The debt that this guarding has towards the Earth is massive. It is time to start training children to build different walls against violence, ones that include the Earth. We can’t keep racking up this debt. For example, when grass…
… is not a crop or a lawn, what is it in and of itself? The point is not to have ideas about it but to remember that we don’t get to make this stuff up, even if “making up” is the foundational principle of the liberal West, where the primary drive is to create artificial intelligence, little images of the body that continue past the body’s boundaries and ultimate death. In terms of what humans are capable of, and what the Earth speaks, the image below is primitive.