The One Language Project exhibit of my dog portraits with essays by the owners opens officially today at Mass. General Hospital’s Yawkey Clinic as part of the Illuminations program at the hospital. I was told that I could make a few remarks along with the other artists during the reception and, although I think art should speak for itself, I delved for more inspiration into my treasure-trove of Naturestage books on animals, the environment, eco art, poetry and mind shift. The first page I found in David Abram‘s book, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, was about our kinship with other species as Darwin had discovered and cultures long before ours knew intrinsically.
I found the passage that I thought would be worth sharing on the next page:
Despite all our giddy technological dreams, this vast and inscrutable land–drenched by the rains and parched by the summer sun–remains the ultimate ground, and the final horizon of all our science. It is not primarily a set of mechanisms waiting to be figured out, this breathing land. It is not a stock of resources waiting to be utilized by us, or a storehouse of raw materials waiting to be developed. It is not an object.
It is, rather, the very body of wonder–a shuddering field of intelligence in whose round life we participate. And if, today, this dreaming land has been forgotten behind a clutch of flowing screens that intercept the fascination of our focused eyes–if it has been eclipsed by styles of speaking that deaden our sense, and by machinic modes of activity that stifle the eros between our body and the leafing forests–then it is time to listen, underneath all these words, for the animal stirrings that move within our limbs and our swelling torsos. It is time to unplug our gaze from the humming screen, walking out of the house to blink under the river of stars. There are new stories waiting in the cool grasses and new songs.
To reconnect with our kinship with other species and to find a compassion, humility, eradication of loneliness, and an inspiration for harmony and balance is the goal of this ongoing project of gathering animal portraits and stories of interspecies connection.
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.