Images of a Dramatic Science at Work and Play in Cascadia

On the principle that a science that creates linkages based on the replicable observation of an individual observer (a fine principle)…

Spillyay at Work, Columbia Gorge

… leads to individual observers and linear narratives…

Horsethief Lake State Park River Shore Approach

…which are linearly-arranged assemblages of points of portable individual observation…

The Real Ellensburg

Tourist Ellensburg, from

Note how these lonely individual points of observation are guided (comforted) by familiarity.

Let’s Forget the Annual Salmon Rendezvous of the Yakama People or the Bloody Cowboy History of Jack Splawn Ellensburg

There is a danger here of laying distant images on top of place.

Let’s Not Mention That the Grain is Grown on Flood-Irrigated Plots on Suburban Lots for Aesthetic Reasons in a Water-Starved Region Ellensburg

Ellensburg is a lovely, fun place, full of beautiful, warm and genuinely friendly people, and it’s easy to reach from Seattle, but it does display the dangers of an entire metaphysical structure built around individual points of view.

Not Just Ellensburg But the Mouth of the Columbia, Too

Whee. This is Archie Country.

1958 Forever

What is precise and humble at one level becomes blurry and arrogant at another. Well, that’s human nature. It’s an irony waiting to be overlooked. Here’s Archie’s dune buggy converted into an even older folktale, and painted blue.

Astoria County Jail

This is Johnny Cash country!

It’s 1966 forever!

What if we were to mix that self-referentiality up a bit, and not overlook the ironies in favour of creating a linear narrative. If that were so, this image …

… would record a beautiful art installation (which it does) and the image below …

… although a fine art installation in and of itself would represent not art but self-capitalization, self-alignment to universally-familiar colours (an up-dated form of quilting using glass, selling Seattle art to Seattle people on holiday) and the careful and expensive process of choosing which pre-made images to place in one’s home to create the best possible environment of display (social positioning). For this culture, creation is a form of assemblage of sold images of the self. It is collecting.

What if we were to create a method based on the replicable inhabitation of a multi-layered process of commentary and irony, without editing it down to narrative or framing it for display?

Ceremonial Stage, Lone Pine Replacement Fishery, The Dalles

What if we were to live it?

A Land Without Children: Soap Lake

I rode that duck on the left when I was five. There were children everywhere back then, but then the United States became disunited.

Would an approach centred in everything-at-once give us narratives in which each point, or intersection, became a simultaneous point of observation?

This is a Narrative

Bentwood Box by “The Master of the Black Field”

Would that not invite community more than the loneliness below?

Or the means of turning that into connection, by reducing angst?

Big Mammals Need Calming When in Displaced Conditions

Rather than being the plot of a novel, the earth and human social interactions, would be best represented socially and scientifically as a drama, with all points of view being present. The Earth would be a stage.

Prosser, Washington, and the Yakima Valley:

Not a settlement but a drama. Not Our Town but War Booty Seized by Vigilantes in a Staged War and then Cast With Players Who Are Also Their Audience

On a stage, even light is a character, and all characters are, first and foremost, bodies in space.

Mount Hood With Barbed Wire

The point of words is to bring those bodies into action, and to present them in the same space inhabited by bodies in the audience. All drama does that.

Ruby City, the Wildest Gold Town in the West, in Its Closing Act

It’s 1871 Forever

What would it look like, in a documentary form? Well, not a series of graphs, statistical charts, and so on, like this series:

Salmonid Fishing Mortality, Wells Hatchery

State of Fish and Fish Habitat in the Okanagan and Similkameen Basins

Number of Redds (Salmon nests) in the Okanagan-Similkameen

… but all of them at once, with testimony from the salmon as well, which might be this …


Johnny Cash Channelling the Okanagan Salmon at Folsom Prison

… or might be this…

Similkameen River at Shanker’s Bend

… all on the stage at the same time. Decisions would have to be made, but they would be enacted with all players on the stage, asserting their bodily space, not through law, either human or ‘natural’ but through presence and voice. In other words, it would not be a Western scientific or social structure, and its primary art form would not be the novel but the drama, where everything, of every possible form, is present at once and speaking by its presence.

The Dalles



Soap Lake


Without that drama we have the same sequence of images but after narrative has left them: empty, narratively-bereft, without-a-story,

The Dalles



in the middle of nowhere,



Soap Lake

lost and ruined.


Linear narrative has had its chance to make a better world. It has done great stuff for social worlds. For the Earth, though, and the integration of social worlds and the earth, it leaves us only with illusions, images, advertisements and truths bent until they are no longer recognizable.

Drugs and plastic toys that teach that interpersonal violence is joyful play only give the illusion of helping with the loneliness.

Johnny Cash Takes a Bow

Compare the trickster above, the heart of Western culture, with the one below, the heart of Plateau culture…

An Actor Takes the Stage

Neither is us. Both will outlive us. One is intelligent.


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