The Power of Words

If we call this wetland, runoff, mud, rot, ditch or swamp, we are talking about a social relationship to it, and not the thing itself.

If we call the beautiful surface of the water “water tension,” we are reducing this living force of the universe to a category of thought, or at least an application of a “law” of “nature” — something to be judged and dismissed before we consider the next case before us.

If we call these photographs, such as they are, “art”, however poor it may be, or comment on Harold’s “eye,” or “creativity” (whatever that is), we rely on a social relationship that places an image, such as the ones above, in a non-practical space, one that moves no energy or does no “work,” in the sense of the forces described by the science of physics, as follows…

In physics, a force is said to do work if, when acting, there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force. For example, when a ball is held above the ground and then dropped, the work done on the ball as it falls is equal to the weight of the ball (a force) multiplied by the distance to the ground (a displacement).

Work transfers energy from one place to another or one form to another. Source: Wikipedia.

I dunno, but that sounds like a description of this to me…

Perhaps it is not considered so by the science of physics because the energy involved does not move things from one place to another, except, well, light, protozoa, human hearts, and so on … rather passive energies that flood into empty space not by moving but by filling or appearing.

And that is called, for some reason, “art” or “poetry” instead of “physics.” Here, let’s see what the collective porridge pot of the world has to say about that:

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.[1][2] Source: Wikipedia

Well, that’s simply untrue. It says that art is a way of creating artifacts, that these artifacts express imaginative or technical skill, which is limited, and that the artifacts are defined by an intent for them to be appreciated for beauty or emotional power. The human or bot that wrote that is neither an artist nor a maker of tools for physicists. Words have such power to bring us close or to distance us. What, though, if we chose words that did not set us at a distance, and called this…

Skin.

Or life. Or breath. Or mind.

Could we make that “work”, in the sense of physics, by moving our cities from one state (environmental decay) to another (environmental integration and growth)? Sure, but it wouldn’t be “work,” and so an attitude embalmed in language deems it not to be. It would be “art” to this distancing attitude, and thus can be dismissed, should one choose to, as “not practical.” A new physics, an indigenous one, that starts from the land, will have to start on different principles, one in which any equations include the observation that this…

… is this …

… is this:

… is this …

… is this:

W = τ θ

In other words, every calculation of physical forces contains calculations of perceptual forces. The forces are all equal, socially, but their disruption into different realms gives them roles to which they are then bound. These are strong 18th and 19th century European values regarding social order. Indigenous systems of law do include such calculations. So can all.

 

 

Come Join the Discussion on Visual Culture on Tuesday, December 5

Where: Alternator Centre for the Arts

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Date: Tuesday. This Tuesday. December 5.

I hope you can come and take part in a discussion about the visual culture of the Okanagan. Tania Willard and I will be speaking at Kelowna’s Alternator Centre for the Arts from 6 to 8 p.m. on December 5, which is this Wednesday. Tania will be talking about her #Bush Gallery curatorial project and her work as a Secwepemc artist and curator. Expect to learn about this exciting work:

I will be speaking about the connection between eye and world in the valley, through a discussion about English as an Earth Language. I will work to set the concepts of Land, Landscape, Property and Place to the side and replace them with living terms. Expect to see images from Iceland, the Okanagan and across the Pacific Northwest, as I explore the words of my ancestors, including “Far”…

 

 

…”Head,” “Fell,” “Thick”, “Eye”, “Flow” “Self,”… class mapping in Downtown Kelowna…

… and this guy’s Mexican woes.

I hope to see you there. There will be lots of time for you to speak as well. The event is organized by Katherine Pickering of the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and, yes, UBCO landscaping will form part of the show. See you there, eye to eye.

 

What Colour is a Damselfly Anyway?

Note how the damselfly in the water is tall and full of energy, while the one on the butt of the birch log is weary and weighed down by the weight of the sky.


And look how the one in the water has taken on the colour of the birch, while the one in the sky has taken on the colour of oxygen. What a beautiful world!

~

Gardom Lake

The Ripeness of Colour

The emotional colourings of trees and the balance between these colourings can be very beautiful.

This form of art is as much a garden harvest as any other. In this case, the art is in an old, private graveyard in Zurich. It is a place of great spirit. This form of ripeness — this agricultural harvest —  cannot be created by landscaping or by work. It has to be allowed to find its balance. By it, we can find our measure. Beautiful!

All That Blood Spilling Out So Sweet

Taking away the leaves and showiness, and the sun reflecting in a white glare off of the scales of her limbs, and what is a saskatoon? Just look at her palette, from rose to plum, or as close as a camera and photoshop can come.sask Of course, she is a rose, so rose colours are just right, but look what happens when she puts her leaves back on to eat the sun. They’re just that process. They are her blues stripped of red and drenched with yellow, so that they are green. You need that to eat the sun, yet out of her core comes fruit, and what is that fruit but her pink and purple blood blooming, oozing out, spilling into the world, for us to carry away and bring inside us.
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The leaves and their yellow mysteries make what is winter’s bitter bark sweet, but at heart she is this rich blood spilling out.

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I mean in the language of bodies and the world.

Art and Ethics on the Okanagan’s Ancient Water

The sun rises.p1430784

It draws the night fog off of Okanagan Lake. It’s early and 18 Below Zero. The gulls sleep on.p1430791

The gulls that seem to have erupted from the lake. The lake that is feathered with frost.

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The frost that is like eiderdown. Such mysteries here. p1440285

Such beauty.p1440345

The lake turned into art by geese.

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Geese with cold feet.p1430923 That warm the lake in goose-shaped blotches to get those feet warm.
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Artist geese.p1430934

What a show! p1440028

What a beautiful earth, all linked together like frost.

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Under the open stars.

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And the Milky Way.

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With a view right to the Big Bang.

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Ah, but what’s this?

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Oh, bugger it, that’s not fog. That’s smog spewing north from Kelowna, a collection of wineries, wine bars and chain stores skirting a thirty-kilometre-long strip mall of car dealerships and bars twenty kilometres down the lake.

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This is our shame. Look hard. This is what a failure of ethics looks like.