BLOG: To Become Visible

California
  • Entanglement: An Incidental Inquiry

    “Caught in the affectIve entanglements of inquiry, it becomes unclear who is animating what and what is animating whom.”   Natasha Myers [1]

    Artifacts, evidences, entangle not only inquiry but the very ground.  Ground in the sense of the foundation of what we see and believe to be true. Each particular extends away to the edge, to a between, to a curve out of sight.  Evidence always implicates its source, its placement, its sedimentation.

    As Tim Ingold reminds us, “The environment comprises not the surroundings of the organism but a zone of entanglement. Life in the open, far from being contained within bounded places, threads its way along paths through the weather world.”[2]

    The photo-images assembled in the Evidence:Entanglement, an incidental inquiry, were recorded during a few days in November 2019 adrift in borderlands of Oregon-California-Nevada, the conjured Three-Corners.  These lines from Wallace Stevens’s A Postcard from the Volcano come to mind:

    And least will guess that with our bones  
    We left much more, left what still is  
    The look of things, left what we felt

    At what we saw.

    [1]  Natasha Myers, from Becoming Sensor in Sentient Worlds, in Between Matter and Method Encounters In Anthropology and Art (2018), Editors: Gretchen Bakke and Marina Peterson.
    [2] Tim Ingold, "Bindings against boundaries: entanglements of life in an open world" (2008). In Environment and Planning (journal).
    
[3] Wallace Stevens, "A Postcard from the Volcano" (1923) in Collected Poems (1954).
    Photo above: Petroglyph, Canyon Wall
    Photo below:  Tower anchor, Pacific Intertie - Powerline conveying electrical current from hydropower (The Dalles Dam on The Columbia River) to 2 million homes in Los Angeles.

  • ALL WATCHED OVER

    When I see — and hear — transmission towers looming over petroglyphs I think of this poem. The suspended humming wires — the “programming harmony.” I think of vision and absence. Passage and pulsating power; the racing, erasing current called time.

    All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace
    — Richard Brautigan

    I like to think (and
    the sooner the better!)
    of a cybernetic meadow
    where mammals and computers
    live together in mutually
    programming harmony
    like pure water
    touching clear sky.

    I like to think
    (right now, please!)
    of a cybernetic forest
    filled with pines and electronics
    where deer stroll peacefully
    past computers
    as if they were flowers
    with spinning blossoms.

    I like to think
    (it has to be!)
    of a cybernetic ecology
    where we are free of our labors
    and joined back to nature,
    returned to our mammal
    brothers and sisters,
    and all watched over
    by machines of loving grace.
      
    LINK to album:  Petroglyphs Watched Over

    Richard Brautigan’s 1967 prescient poem spins precisely along the accelerating curves of our self-identified twenty-first century trajectory.  A dream of loving grace while here, now, we humans glut and gloat our Earth home.  Wrapped with the poem’s unresolvable tensions, we can be terribly thankful we can fall toward metaphor.  Because if a cybernetic ecology is indeed our conjured and powered reality — now, what?

    A note.  Poet Richard Brautigan graduated from Eugene High School in 1953 in Eugene, Oregon.  The school building long gone, the one-square-block is now occupied by the “church” New Hope: “We believe that every person, Christian and non-Christian alike, is valuable to God and to His Kingdom.”  As I walk by, I do wonder if “valuable” includes grace?  —Douglas Beauchamp

  • Emanation

    Two carved images directly connect with natural orifices in the stone surface.  As a flowing it appears.  Emanation comes to mind.  Orifice as origin, or perhaps aperture leading inward, an infusion. What the carvings mean or indicate is unknown.  We may speculate: a movement of spirit-power in some way.  Perhaps the carvings were made in gratitude, in hope.  Perhaps representing an experience or a desire through which the act itself releases energy.
    The first image (top), from well-known Chalfant In Mono County, California, is carved into Bishop tuff - Chalfant, an eastern cliff edge of the Volcanic Tablelands.  The second image (above), from a basalt rim in central Lake County, Oregon.  Both overlooking close-by water flows.  Both with clear mountain-ridge views and toward the rising sun.
    These images seem to emerge from unconscious patterns, archetypal forms, which as they are formed by the carver vary as influenced by culture and landscape.

    On form, Henri Focillon writes, “Although [form] is our most strict definition of space, it also suggests to us the existence of other forms. It prolongs and diffuses itself throughout our dreams and fancies: We regard it, as it were, as a kind of fissure through which crowds of images aspiring to birth may be introduced into some indefinite realm.” (from The Life of Forms in Art, 1934)

  • Gravity and the mystery of water

    Rock art abides in the landscapes of the desert west.  Quiet tension between stone and the ephemeral of endurance. It’s gravity, volcanics, the mystery of water. The exposure of stone. The human markings reflect the fluid past, the bone dry seasons, spirits of place. Aspiration, nurturance.

    Four images below from the Volcanic Tablelands, Inyo/Mono Counties, CA, March 2019. Included in Landscopes II - an album of a March 2019 Equinox road trip in western Nevada and eastern California

  • The Inhabited Land, Seasons Round

    Toward the autumnal Equinox in Lassen County CA, September 2018.  A land inhabited for millennia, shifting radically in the last two centuries as indigenous peoples were discounted and displaced as euro-americans claimed, named, and settled in.  Still, the seasons, they go round and round, melding change, circling, spiraling, segmenting a wholeness. Sun, moon, earth, water: a reminding as time becomes space, space folds into time.

    Two collections of images:
    Lassen Inhabited: Canyons, roads, rocks, ancient and modern
    Seasons Round Cycles of Being and Becoming

  • An Image in Volcanic Tablelands

    How and where does an image begin or end.  To re-present a petroglyph in a photograph is always to contain.  This re-imaging becomes imaginal, an interpretation.  When the petroglyph suggests flight, or soaring, perhaps it is a moment to follow along, drift, look out, up, and away.  

    The three photos below offer aspects of this east-facing petroglyph-on-basalt.  This petroglyph is one among the countless array at the well-documented, public BLM site called Chidago/Red Rock (MNO-8), located about 20 miles north of Bishop CA. (Photos Douglas Beauchamp, April 2018)

    The image appears bi-symmetrical. Suggesting wings, feelers or streamers, antennae or pincers, extend from a segmented “body” with a three-part “tail”.  Perhaps of a spirit-being realm.


    The image extends beyond the stone, here in landscape-view looking south toward the Owens River Valley and beyond - the Sierras.  One of many ways to see.


    Another series of markings, perhaps a second petroglyph, is below the first image. A different time or different intent? Or related? If so, how?