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"Deflecting Our Hunger"?: Towards Day 24 (Thurs, 4/16/15)

Anne Dalke's picture

On this -- day, Celeste is situating us ---

* your last site sit is due this weekend

last weekend, a very few of you continued to experiment, w/ shape, form, situation--
Maddie's "Friday's Weekly Wild Attempt!" was shapes,
Abby shared her doodles,
Teresa drew the "City vs. BMC"--
by the end of today, maybe you'll all have some new ideas
about playing with this assignment
(esp. now that you know it's the last one!)

* on Tuesday, we'll discuss four essays
about climate change, all written last year:
Elizabeth Kolbert's piece in The New York Review of Books: "Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism?"
(who heard her speak last semester, and /or read her book, The Sixth Extinction?)
the Introduction and Conclusion to Naomi Klein's book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate,
& Claudia Dreifus' New York Science Times article, imagining the "Future History of Climate Change."

* by midnight on Monday, please post a response to some/all of this,
so I have some notion of how to direct Tuesday's discussion

* ...when Nkechi will pick our site

* Maddie's reflections on our last class: it was nice being "back inside":
stuffy, but more structured (and so helpful to her);
also noted several of you lying down for a portion of the time,
wondered what would happen if we talked lying down, and/or w/ our eyes closed...?

II. Your initial reactions to the writing of Terry Tempest Williams were mixed
(and of course the collection of essays is itself mixed--lots of different stuff going on there):
Maddie was interested in oyster restoration in Pelham Bay,
Amala in Williams' Uncle Alan, who felt conflicting emotions at the same time,
Tosin in the "natural" give-and-take between Coyote and Georgia O'Keefe.
Marian objected strongly to the safari with which the book opened,
but was also drawn to the same chapters as Amala and Tosin, about Uncle Alan and Coyote.
Theresa liked the location, in the southwest, but was bothered
by the erotic relation between the woman and the bear.
Caleb didn't speak of coyote or bear, but did compare Williams' themes to
MFK Fisher's use of the "wolf" to figure human appetite, desire, despair--
"a cry to live a wild life, filled with feeling and open to risk."

So I tried to start us out with, on Tuesday, with these emotions--
appetite and desire, maybe despair--what the title essay calls "unspoken hunger."
We spent just a bit of time working through that essay,
asking what the "unspoken hunger" is that Williams is talking about,
and how it is deflected by eating avocados with "sharp silver blades."

In an interview called The Politics of Place, conducted by
Scott London (on the Insight & Outlook radio show),
Terry Tempest Williams said,
"We're animals. I think we forget that. I think there is an ancient archetypal memory
that still exists within us. If we deny that, what is the cost?  So I do think
it's what binds us as human beings. I wonder, what is it to be human?
Especially now that we're so urban. How do we remember our connection with place?
What is the umbilical cord that roots us to that primal, instinctive, erotic place?

...I worry that we are a people in a process of great transition and
we are forgetting what we are connected to. We are losing our frame of reference.
Pelicans pass by and we hardly know who they are, we don't know their stories.
Again, at what price? I think it's leading us to a place of inconsolable loneliness.
It's what I mean by 'an unspoken hunger.'
It's a hunger than cannot be quelled
by material things. It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by constant denial.
I think that the only thing that can bring us into a place of fullness
is being out in the land with other
. Then we remember where the source of our power lies."

I now want us to read another (related) passage aloud together, from "Winter Solstice," pp. 61-65:
D.H. Lawrence writes, "In every living thing there is a desire for love, for the relationship of unison with the rest of things." I think cautious I have become with love. It is a vulnerable enterprise to feel deeply....If I choose not to become heart cannot be broken because I never risked giving it away. But what kind of impoverishment is this to withhold emotion, to restrain our passionate nature in the face of a generous life...? A mind...who reins in the heart...can only expect more isolation and greater ecological disease. Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land....Audre Lorde tells us, "We have been raised to fear...our deepest cravings"....Wildlands' and wildlives' oppression lies in our desire to control and our desire to control has robbed us of feeling.

III. I'd ask you bring with you today not only Williams' text, but a page of your own site sits

--everyone have this? /oneworld/tags/site sits/your user name
/oneworld/tags/site%20sits/Anne%20Dalke )

I want you all to take some time now to review what you have created,
through the lens provided by TTWms:
* do you note any unspoken hunger in your notes?
* any deflections?
* any desire for love?
* any caution in expressing it?
* any impoverishment or restraint?
* any desire to control?
* perhaps most importantly: any shift in the course of the semester, in tone or focus?

Where else in your writing (or thinking, or reading) this semester have you expressed a desire for love,
a search for intimacy with others, and/or the world? (Or avoided doing so....?)
How do you understand the relationship among these cravings?
(And your decision to represent them....or not?)

Write about this for 10 minutes.

Go 'round, reading these passages aloud:

What sort of narratives are we constructing
about ourselves in this environment?
How is our own work like/different from TTWms, and/or like
the kind of work she encourages us to be brave enough to do??

This is of course a warm-up not only your one remaining site sits,
but for your final webevent and all your work forthcoming in your life!

IV. This is not just my wierd thing! Cf. recent CFP for Disability Studies
Disability Studies…fosters subversive communities that supplant neoliberal and meritocratic ideals of productivity, efficiency, and individualism with radical and collective forms of interaction and communication. Why, then, does this crip politic so often stop at the page? Why is disability largely represented, composed, and reified within disability studies through normative forms such as essays and monographs? 

What might it mean to break form and “get the story crooked” …. To stutter composition itself, creating “gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning” that de/re/compose disability in ways that cannot signify monolithically?

We seek submissions that engage in playful, non-normative, experiential, and experimental formats and that use such (de)compositional forms to create/explore crip knowledges, enactments, aesthetics, and corporealities…. crip offerings that engage with access as a central practice of creation, and as inextricable from the argument and aesthetics of the work. Possible submissions may include, but are (definitely) not limited to (a blurring, bending, or mingling of):    

aphoristic writing      soundscapes                    poetic essays                 multi-voiced articulations

diffractions      video art/poems           polymonographs                found artifacts

       hypertext and digital offerings               research creation    subvertisements

                         duoautoethnographies                        manifestos        graphic memoirs



                                             performances   cut-upsar.

V. Other essays by Williams to revel in/reflect on:
"Water Songs," pp. 39-48:
"The idea of finding anything natural in the built environment...seemed unnatural" (p. 41).
"Our wetlands are becoming urban wastelands" (p. 43).
"Lee Milner's...stalwartness...offers wetlands their only hope...she was showing us the implacable focus of those who dwell here. This is our first clue to residency" (p. 44).
"I kept thinking about Lee, who responds to Pelham Bay Park as a lover, who rejects this open space as a wicked edge for undesirables, a dumping ground for toxins or occasional bodies. Pelham Bay is her home...a sanctuary she holds inside her unguarded heart...the water songs of the red-winged blackbirds...keep her attentive in a city that has little memory of wildness" (48)

"A Patriot's Journal," p. 97f.
cf. Ursula LeGuin, writing in The Left Hand of Darkness about the absurd limits patriotism, of drawing a boundary around what one loves and hates: How does one hate a country, or love one?…I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls not on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the names ceases to apply? What is the love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. It it simply self-love?…one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession….Insofar as I love life, I love [these] hills…but that sort of love does not have a  boundary-line….