Photography and Poetry: A New Route to Addressing Human Dimensions of Climate Change

13880190_1771312253105837_5704968328655280162_n

I-94 Black Lives Matter Action (Annabelle Marcovici)

My friend Annabelle Marcovici took this photo of the #blacklivesmatter I-94 occupation and it was feature in Wired magazine (here). She is offering photography lessons in Minneapolis. I decided to start some regular lessons with her. She is awesome. So, contact her and setup your lessons. Fair price and exceptional insight. Furthermore, her heart is gold.

Contact her at ab (at) annabellemarcovici dot com

I just finished writing and publishing a Amazon book of poetry that addresses my vision of what is going on globally around the intersection of socio-economics, race, and climate change.

img_0150

Based upon the speed that many of the events around insurrection pertaining to the United States 2016 election I decided to just get the book up on Amazon as fast as possible bypassing the difficult process of getting the book accepted by a poetry press.  Eventually, I hope that getting the book out will help speed my transition to poetry publishing.  One of the poems in the book will appear in the next issue of the Atlanta poetry journal Calamaro.

The poem that will appear in the journal is:

Headed South: The Tango Over Damascus

“DAMASCUS 00005399 004 OF 004 is a rare occurrence, our DATT was convoked by Syrian Military Intelligence in May of 2006 to protest what the Syrians believed were US efforts to provide military training and equipment to the Kurds in Syria…”
– Wikileaks

Anyone who thinks must think of the next war as they would of suicide,
On an airplane, grounded, ready for takeoff,
Merlot blood, mind dissociated from body,
Damascus, drunk with your love, flowing,
Blood river, child appears by my side,
She will be my companion on this flight,
Mother waits at home, headed South,
Home from the land of 10,000 lakes,
This week, the fire lit, white and black collision,
A cumulonimbus cloud on the horizon,
In the distance, molecular vibrations rising,
Heat, up, up we go into the future,
Carbon, captured, stored, burned, smokestack century,
Flooding the air with a blanket, heater, warmer,
Electric blanket, wrapped around earth,
My mind drifts back,
You do not want to fly off into space do you?
Into the air, or into the black hole,
Into the air, wings flowing fast, lift,
Yes, it is take off time and it is time to accelerate,
Into the future, runway of the soul,
It is night after all and the crescent moon is veiled,
Hidden by those storm clouds,
Lightening and thunder ahead,
Colliding water particles, static collision,
Static electricity, violent electromagnetic chaos,
Electronic vibration, thermodynamic amplifier,
Wires around earth, the internet, an iron maiden,
Orange amplifier, accelerating, heating,
Islamic jihad, Judeo-Christian crusade,
Sublating each other in my travel companions blood,
My blood, human blood, shed for what?
Allah? God? Adonai?
Amplifier of Gaia’s warming shell,
Atmospheric container, we are changing,
Taxiing to the runway, flaps down,
A rush of color to the heart comes,
Golden, ethereal blue, Gaia’s magnetic core,
My heart in resonance, mother and son,
Star specks of white on black,
Day and night melt into one,
Speed, accelerating, faster, faster, faster,
Accelerating into the sky,
We go, a soul is meant to fly,
Leaving body and drifting to heaven,
Or descending to hell, thrown by the past.

I addressed the issue of climate change and human welfare through the racial binary that I grew up with in Atlanta, white and black.  The book explores this intersection weaving dystopian abstract ideas and intimate personal narratives and experiences.  The book is just a start in an exploration of these topics.  I hope to work with Annabelle to develop the ability to capture with a camera photographs that can complement my poetry and narrative.  In an era of social networks and digital communication visual media are extremely important for the transmission of scientific, human, and spiritual realities.  I have a video drone, a video camera, and a photograph still camera and hope to use all three in exploring the topics in this poem.  I am interested in the radio waves and their influence in human behavior.  I explicitly address this idea in the poem in these lines:

Static electricity, violent electromagnetic chaos,
Electronic vibration, thermodynamic amplifier,
Wires around earth, the internet, an iron maiden,
Orange amplifier, accelerating, heating…

The idea of this block of the poem refers to a cloud of consciousness that the theologian and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called the noosphere.  The modern communication infrastructure including the Internet, radio, satellite, cable, etc. facilitates a cyber war.  Another set of lines in my book refers to the War on Terror as World War III in the poem 1013ed:

On the cyberfront, the [second] American Civil War,
World War III is a cyber war, 0’s and 1’s,
Binary, black and white,
White 0’s and Black 1’s,
Annihilating each other…

Looking at the recent Wikileaks release of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the corresponding political fallout (Russian involvement, Trump, etc.) I see a future expansion of this reality.  While many technophiles view this communication infrastructure as fundamentally positive, I tend to be more pessimistic.  Terrorism is so effective these days because of constant nonstop media coverage.  Public opinion is influence to make money and drive war.  As Dave Mustaine say:

Peace sells, but who is buying? 

Thinking about the fact that technology seems to be speeding up the pace of global change, where are we headed as a species?

Speed, accelerating, faster, faster, faster,
Accelerating into the sky,
We go, a soul is meant to fly,
Leaving body and drifting to heaven,
Or descending to hell, thrown by the past.

The climate crisis is perhaps the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced.

A cumulonimbus cloud on the horizon,
In the distance, molecular vibrations rising,
Heat, up, up we go into the future,
Carbon, captured, stored, burned, smokestack century,
Flooding the air with a blanket, heater, warmer,
Electric blanket, wrapped around earth…

A massive amount of carbon is burned each day to sustain the global communication infrastructure, the global electric blanket.  I am interested in exploring in photography the invisible fields of radio waves.  I found a book entitled Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves that explores this in art.  I want to start just exploring and mapping the cell phone towers in Minneapolis in photography, collecting GPS coordinates of my angles of photographic viewing.  Eventually, it would be fun to embed these photographs into some kind of electronic map.  Further interests for this project are finding ways to visualize the results cellular communication.  Photography of Uber and Lyft cars, a significant advances in what is referred to as the Internet of Things (linking car transportation to the Internet), would be obvious preliminary targets of interest.  Documenting the recent trend of Pokemon Go is another interest.  While these topics of interest seem unrelated to the topic of my poem Headed South: The Tango Over Damascus the thoughts behind it are to document the first world realities that rest on the fossil fuel economy.  I feel few link in their minds energy and communication technology, so finding ways to illustrate connections in photography will be interesting.  One photograph I took yesterday I feel captures some of this:

atlanta - 1

The lines of poetry from my book that seem to go with this are:

Anyone who thinks must think of the next war as they would of suicide,
On an airplane, grounded, ready for takeoff,
Merlot blood, mind dissociated from body,
Damascus, drunk with your love, flowing,
Blood river, child appears by my side,
She will be my companion on this flight,
Mother waits at home, headed South,
Home from the land of 10,000 lakes,
This week, the fire lit, white and black collision,
A cumulonimbus cloud on the horizon…

From Invisible Fields: Geographies of Radio Waves:

“Electromagnetic space – also called Hertzian space – is physical and nonvirtual.  In consists of a ghostly poetic ecology that exists just beyond our familiar perceptual limits.”

Lucy Bullivant (2005)

Imagine yourself sitting inside a plane.  You are still on the tarmac of the runway, waiting impatiently for takeoff, looking forward for going home.  Chances are you have been here before.  As you listen to the pilot apologize for the delay, you look nervously at the stream of emails that keep arriving on your smartphone.  You may even post a tweet that lets the world know you are not particularly happy about this situation.  You are aware of the roar the stalled engines and the voice of the pilot, but what are you actually waiting for in a signal – an electromagnetic transmission coming from the control tower of the airport, which will reach the radio in the plane’s cockpit, reporting the good news to the pilot: “permission to fly.”

Now your crew can take you home, and, for that, they will rely on another series of signals: those coming from the network of satellites in the Global Positioning System, letting them know where you are and where you are headed.  These signals let you know, too, since the plane has become a pulsating icon on a world map, shown on a screen in your cabin.  The crew also rely on the expertise of a network f air-traffic controllers, reporting on the radio incidents and last-minute changes in atmospheric conditions at your destination.  You remain, though, cut off from the outside world, since you were requested to turn off your mobile device as soon as our plane started moving.  For passengers, most commercial flights are the last bastion of radio silence.  You are reminded of this as soon as you land, as the noise of the engines is replaced by a symphony of cell phone ringtones and SMS alert notifications coming from every corner of the cabin.  Welcome back to reception space.

Fossil fuels burn to power the plane, radio communication network, smartphones, computers, and every other part of the anthropogenic electric blanket of earth:

Amplifier of Gaia’s warming shell,
Atmospheric container, we are changing,
Taxiing to the runway, flaps down,
A rush of color to the heart comes,
Golden, ethereal blue, Gaia’s magnetic core…

The question for me is that of human consequences of fossil fuels consumption.  Consider the following photograph a picture of climate change fallout:

three-year-old-drowned-syrian-boy

The Syrian civil war may have been accelerated by a climate change induced desertification of the fertile crescent (See study in PNAS).  Do people understand the data in this article on an emotional level?  No, not most.  So, that is what this photograph does, it translates science into a relatable human image.  Consider that a goal of this project.  With a recent connection I have made to a man in Greece working with Syrian refugees, I hope to connect the climate refugee crisis to first world dynamics.  Perhaps a tale of two cities.  This photograph captures some of the sentiments in my book:

13626531_1762165014020561_6364133591564232177_n

A photograph called the Solar Poem Machine on my thoughts on the previous photograph directed to the police:

13310532_1748450532058676_5592106718199767382_n

There is a curious idea I had a while ago, what would be possible if we could directly transmit thoughts through wires?  Would that be telepathy?  What would be the human consequences of that?  Would we all go insane, or would it be a good thing?  Would human emotions such as anger and hate dominate?  Not sure.  Honestly, I am not sure.  I would like to remain optimistic, but sometimes it is hard.  Let’s wait and see:

Silly reptile brain,
Shut up, I am human.

The hope for a peaceful future is captured by the last image in this post made from a wood carving of a close friend:

img_0066-1

The other orientation of it might be more accurate, not sure…

img_0061

Advertisements

About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s