Tapio Wirkkala: Paadarin jää (Ice of Padaa) vase, ca. 1960.
Handwriting practice from a Victorian schoolgirl named Ethel Wass, ca. fall 1885, via Honey and Wax Booksellers.
Sand collected by Isabella Stewart Gardiner on a trip to Egypt, ca. 1874.
What mechanisms — what sorts of evidence, what kinds of narratives — can jolt the brain out of its set patterns of denial, accommodation and adjustment? New forms must be forged; new traps set; new words invented, like “solastalgia,” that sidestep numbing jargon. Artists thinking seriously about depicting the climate crisis join a contentious conversation among scientists and activists who have long been struggling with the “narrative problem” of the climate emergency. How do we write a story with an antagonist when we are the antagonist? Do we have a responsibility to avoid narratives of blame and despair, lest they stoke our sense of hopelessness and passivity? Or is there a value, even a moral imperative, in presenting the threats, as frightening as they are?
Parul Sehgal, "How to Write Fiction When the Planet is Falling Apart." NYT, 2/5/2020.
“My own temperament is that I’ve always been able to go on, even with a sense of loss, and have kind of a cheerful attitude toward the future as a practical matter,” he says. “But now that I feel personally and intimately anchored in the future in a different way, I feel a different kind of fear. The fear is right up against my heart in a way that makes it harder to think about what comes next.”
Jedidiah Britton-Purdy, quoted in "How climate experts think about raising children who will inherit a planet in crisis," by Caitlin Gibson, The Washington Post, 2/14/2020.
I always thought it was ridiculous to try and fight for social change when I couldn't even get my own house in order. How could a meat-eating, plane-flying, march-hating person like me ever find a place in the climate justice movement? But then I started to read about all the different ways ordinary people were refusing to give into fatalism and were exploring the possibilities of what they could do, what they might fight for in this half-ruined world of ours.
There were saints among these accidental activists, but also stone-cold hypocrites like me. Slowly, I began to see collective action as the antidote to my dithering and despair.
There's a way in for everyone. Aren't you tired of all this fear and dread?
Jenny Offill, Obligatory Note of Hope.
Yes to every word of this: "Our job is to stop fascism here in America."
Canto Rodado, by Leonel Vásquez: mechanized sculptures of copper, stone, and wood that conjure the sound of water on rocks and the passage of time.
I do not read Spanish, so I relied on Google Translate to understand part of this caption:
The stone was before and will be after. The water does not disappear, the music of these rocks has been there and will remain. We will not have the same fate of stone, water and its music. Maybe this is the message.*
“There are so many futures between doomed and fine.”