31 August - 7 September 2022
Durations of existence are tepid and unclear; neither is every interval of time a watershed, nor is the smallest unit of the hour entirely frivolous. The stretches of time vary, by definition, as eons, eras, periods, epochs and ages but such categories are human interferences, constructed, archived and run through as the consequences of collective action. The Anthropocene, for example, is an unofficial unit of geological time concerned with the significance of impact human beings have had on the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. But even as the planet’s textures and symbolism undergo perceivable environmental surgery, a hopeful suspicion clouds the debate. Won’t the Earth survive as it always has? While Nature may endure self-fulfilling prophecies, our own hyperactive fates are more uncertain.
In an ode to the survivalist tendency of memory, Native Indian poet Joy Harjo speaks movingly in her poem titled ‘Remember’: Remember your birth, how your mother struggled / to give you form and breath. You are evidence of / her life, and her mother’s, and hers. / Remember your father. He is your life, also. / Remember the earth whose skin you are: / red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth / brown earth, we are earth. We are Earth, in the tumbling echoes of living and dying well as Nature intended it, but also in our grit to overwhelm, encroach and unsteady others’ rights to life. Our symmetries of skin are just the topsoil of deeper connection; they are transient membranes that carry boilersuit impressions of change with hidden traces of impact. Patterns travel, like us, through us, through time. If the figure is the landscape, we are each of us Earth, alerted to a spinning axis that both darkens and lightens us.