Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Art of Freedom: 2 Years Since Fukushima in the Post-Scientific Era

"The existence of nuclear weapons means we could potentially create a disequilibrium, an imbalance, on the planet and the atmosphere by the launching of some of these systems, some of these systems. There are 27,000 of these systems. This is more than enough to wipe out the whole planet. You also got people working to say, 'you know you gotta save the planet.' Well you're right, we've got to save the planet. And so the whole environmental effort, as laudable and as absolutely critical as it is, can be for absolutely not in the space of hours if these guys actually went at each other." Lt. General Romeo Dallaire (Ret.) Pugwash Canada

Today is the two year anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In my previous post, Hatsuyume of Peace, I kicked off a new paradigm in the life of this blog with reference to the apocalyptic transition that nuclear energy essentially means for life on earth. This is an enduring creative metaphor, a source of reflection that begs to be heard and never left in the silent empty ignorance. For, as the unrivalled Persian poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad said in her landmark film to inspire Iranian New Wave Cinema, a groundbreaking force of thought, emotion and impeccable insight, "There is no shortage of ugliness in the world. If a man closed his eyes to it, there would be even more." Her film, The House is Black is about a leper colony, and the humanization of treatment for a disease that simply requires attention. While the impacts of a nuclear disaster do indeed course through the blood and infect the children of the victims, there is even more recourse to action, to look, and with the kind of remembrance that breathes in the present moment, to see the eyes of the victims as through the eyes of our own children, our own mothers, fathers, and siblings. For there is evidence that it could be forty years or more to clear up the Fukushima disaster, which is the worst of its kind since Chernobyl. The transition of nuclear energy as a weapon, the atom bomb, has essentially moved the world from the era of World War, into an era primarily defined by war over intelligence, the post-cold war era. Vietnam is an example where the government authority of the United States actually never declared war, incapacitating the ability to detonate another atom bomb on a human population in Asia. We are now living in the post-scientific era, and the Age of Reason is long past. Our existence is not defined by scientific knowledge, but of technical know-how.

On an investigative bend, I took the time, as part of the research praxis of a literary arts journal, to go to photographer, Arthur Nishimura's exhibit, "Dream Country" at the largest university in town. In the exhibit, Nishimura creatively interposes landscape photography with prepared or rendered film. I went for the purpose of interviewing others who happened to stroll through the exhibit about the significance of today's anniversary remembrance of Fukushima, not only as a Japanese disaster, but as a world disaster. What do the photos of a globetrotting Japanese nature photographer say about the remembrance of Fukushima? My questions, and my approach to a conscious public as an experimental journalist fell on a silent room. In the last hour of the gallery's opening today, not one person visited Nishimura's exhibit. Instead of heading into abstract philosophic directions regarding the nature of public ignorance, I peered deliberately, patiently and acutely into the breathtaking symbology of a master photographer.

Let me take you through an abbreviated version of the exhibit, and how I related my experience of "seeing" to the memory and lasting impact, and future legacy of Fukushima. Firstly, Nishimura's piece, "The Book of Flatland Dharma - Of Two Religions: Conclusion" (1978) captivated me. It is a juxtaposition of a sacred Japanese temple, as a diptych next to a silo in the Alberta countryside. This struck me first, because Nishimura captures the elegant majesty of mystery and beauty all over the globe, yet Japan and Canada have sacred significance, yet the cultural dissimilarity could not be more clear in the way that aesthetics are a reflection of social expression. Next, in his Homeland Tourist series, "Higashi Honganji Temple (1978) flattened me with its elusive doorway of symbolic insight. The bicycle in the foreground, outside of a sacred temple in the background, emphasizes that while there is a sense of the infinite within us, we are after all impermanent, and as we ride the mundane bicycle of worldly experience to its end, the higher awe of spirituality lives on, with or without us. Finally, while there were others that struck me uncannily, I will leave off with one last one that took even more time to set in than the rest, however after peering into its silvery textures, and its striking imagery, I latched on to a hint of perennial truth. The work, "Pre-dharma Sentience" (1978) in The Flatland Book of Dharma - The Singularities series, a stone lies in the foreground. In the background, an open landscape, with a path leading to the horizon, to nowhere. What this says to me is that, essentially nature, as with our nature, is fundamentally meaningless. Nature, in its raw, open and original forms do not offer the human heart a rest stop on which the mind may imagine and conceive a reason for being. The meaning of no-meaning is the great point of flux in realizing our humanity as vulnerable, fleeting, and if at once emergent with direction, also futile and unimpressive. As Paul Valery said, "God made everything out of nothing, but the nothing shows through."

On my return home, on this unusually warm Canadian winter day, I read a very short Associated Press article buried in Metro Calgary on the legacy of Fukushima. In the article, 'Outlook bleak two years later' a quote read, "Everyone, from bureaucrats to construction giants to tattooed gangsters, is trying to prey on decontamination projects. And the government is looking the other way," said Nakamura, who refused to give his first name out to the press for "fear of retaliation". As I reflected on my train ride home through the downtown corridor, passing above rivers of melting ice and the glare of the profound midwestern sky, where the rich sunlight exposes the midriff of an aging humanity, I had a realization. Being human means taking the responsibility that we have as stewards of the land, as a conscious potential unmatched in the known universe. If we do not take responsibility for being human, then there will soon be no more human beings. We do not write the highest law, and we can not speak the highest truth. 

She sets the stage with a sweeping introduction. In the impeccable garb of a beauty queen in love with life. The public gushes with heart-sleeved pandering. The world is set like a red carpet before her.

Queen by Sten Porse
The musical ambiance, the tone, is grandiose and emergent as the Jonah-swallowing fish of all-conceived breathtaking wonder. Her introduction is the mindful worship of momentary repose, for the elemental truths to seduce all through her sonic dance of grace.

Female Musician by Anonymous
She continues ever on, without me. Frustrated by my own deviance, and in the backwash tunnel of personal failure, I triumph in disaster. The airs of isolation breathe a sad remorse, the regret of guilt itself takes over like an icy bath.

The Ambassadors (detail) by Hans Holbein the Younger
I strain over my broken instrument, and snap its neck in one fell swoop. Not even a ping from the cracked strings are heard in the overarching foment of fanatic bursts and swoons of delight as the mob breathes down the throat of my love the kiss of popular contagion.

Interesting enough, the short dream sketch narrative above, and that described in my last post, where I exhibited a noetic travelogue through Sudan, have coincided with the events of the days to follow. In the previous incident, I had dreamed that I was traveling through Sudan, and had born witness to the social resurgence of positive forward movement. So, on that day, I met and interviewed Emmanuel Jal, as he accepted the Calgary Peace Prize on behalf of all South Sudanese people. Similarly, though without such heavy global precedence, the events within the dream sketch illustrated here preceded a botched concert appearance by none other than myself to accompany my Love onstage.
My first exhibition of an original "sounding" in the internal collaboration of creative music with creative writing. Improbability in Upswing, was published at poeticdiversity: the poetry zine of los angeles in December 2012. In my reading, with relation to the content of this post, I am taking off towards the eye of the sun. The teeming cloud-born sky quakes with the burning rush of human flight. Riding through the energetic outpouring of modern rocket fuel, I feel a beneficiary of similar technologic might that burned the bodies and fuelled the fires of war. Nuclear energy is not far distant, and my body begins to churn with the physical imagination of experiential interdependence, smouldering at the cusp of freedom and death.

To set forth another tradition of self-publishing, every week from now on, as I offer a "sounding" of spoken word and original music, I will release a chapbook of the section from which the "sound poem" derives in the series of collected experimental writings. Enjoy and ponder the experimental imagination through visions of "Aircloudsky".

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