Sunday, March 28, 2010

shaman & salmon

As reported in the NY Times: "more than two dozen Native Americans embarked from here [San Francisco] on a spiritual mission to New Zealand, where they will ask their fish to come home to California."
"The fish in question is the Chinook salmon, native to the Pacific but lately in short supply in the rivers of Northern California, home to the Winnemem Wintu — a tiny, federally unrecognized and poor tribe"

The whole story involves technology, politics, polis, and animality. The Chinook were important for the spiritual and material prosperity of the tribe. Salmon thrived until the Shasta Dam was built in the 1940s. After that, the fish population steadily declined. As techne and fortunes would have it: "the United States government once bred millions of Chinook eggs from the McCloud River and shipped them around the world in hopes of creating new fisheries, including a batch that went to the South Island of New Zealand, where the fish thrived."

The tribe apologized to the salmon for allowing the dam to be build and not doing more to preserve the fish dwelling. The called to the salmon to come home. And so, we wait...

Drunk Pennsylvania man tried to revive dead opossum

Okay, this is the title from the Associated Press for the Times Tribune article. The police, the law, the State calls to him, hails. But this fellow--Donald Wolfe--is out of it, out of bounds. The police, the law, the State see a drunken man trying to revive a dead opossum; they see him gesticulating over the road kill. But for another angel, the animal revolutionary knows what this is about: it is a Dionysian rite in which the mangled body of the god/animal is brought into contact with the human.

"The trooper says one person saw Wolfe kneeling before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance, while another saw the mouth-to-mouth attempt. Levier says Wolfe was 'extremely intoxicated" and "did have his mouth in the area of the animal's mouth, I guess.'" Yes, a seance but who is calling to whom? Intoxicated Wolfe refuses the proper name, the social name, and reverts to its material animality... in animal state he is called by the non-State player, the animal before him, he follows after. Where will this lead? Can the opossum's spirit be translated? The police fail to investigate the opossum's death and do not ask it any questions. Their omission is itself a tale.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Return of the Urban Animal

Thanks to
Bryndis Snaebjornsdottir for noticing this. In
I Like America and America Likes Me, for three days Joseph Beuys lived in a gallery space with a coyote in the Rene Block Gallery at 409 West Broadway in New York. The piece was a gesture of pidgin language between world and across politics (German, American, and animal).
You could say that a reckoning has to be made with the coyote, and only then can this trauma be lifted.
A reckoning, indeed. Now, the coyote is back in New York. Is this an offspring from the coyote Beuys met? Is the critter looking for Beuys or his artistic descendants? Does he want a rematch? There is more reckoning to be done--more thinking, more reconciliation, more aktion in an Event "to-come."

Thanks to Angela Ellsworth for calling my attention to this--humans are walking the tracks of the coyote in a meandering becoming-other creating political alternative cartographies. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Landmine Detecting Rats!

The Revolution knows how to burrow. From the organization APOPO come rats trained to find and dig mines. These HeroRats are trained to be sent into fields and detect and dig for mines. Other specialty rats sniff out tuberculosis. "APOPO’s mission is to train and disseminate sniffer rats to save human lives- by detecting landmines and disease."

My dear reader: rats + mines. Is this not the sign of a revolution. Once they nourish active rebellion, where can a human hide that a rat will not sniff out, burrow, bury. Think Willard (either the 1972 version or the 2007 version). And yes, think swarm as in Ben (1972).
My thanks to Jane Prophet for pointing out this moment of revolution.