in which witness is borne: birds, politics, fiction and critical art theory

making book

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Many thanks to dear Abbyg. (of Drop Earrings fame) for showing me (and a roomful of wannabe temp tutors--long story) how to make a book from a single piece of paper. i made one today from some sketches and typewritten mumblings and it don't look half bad. i'll have to get more of these made & get 'em up on the website so people can order 'em (for free of course--though stamps would help a bunch.).
of course as the fever subsided once & for all yesterday the self-doubt monster crept into its place.
so lets unpack a bit, shall we, what it is that is on the mind of Mar-Mar:
under the influence of stan allen, jacques derrida and anne carson and, vaguely, jean baudrillard, bertrand russell, and hermann hesse, we come to the insight that all has not yet been revealed. That what's known only represents a farcically small fragment of the whole of things, that subtle internal meltings and condensations help to shape the iceberg as substantially as dramatic breakaways and avalanches. Fine.
But what about our responsibility to what IS known? WHich is more important to my world: what is being withheld from me that i never knew i could have known, or what i did know that has now been taken away? Let's look at the issue of extinction among birds.
Another species, the Hawaiian po'ouli, became extinct in November 2004 when the last known specimen died in captivity. This bird is one of several varieties of the "honeycreeper" which is apparently like a very small sparrow, or maybe a large hummingbird. Scientists tell us that this extinction is probably a direct result of increased development of resorts and such human habitations on Maui, the only known habitat for the bird. Yet we also know, thanks to Darwin, that extinctions are part of the process of natural selection and happen both because of, and despite, human interventions.
Now,back to the po'ouli: Hawaiians who knew the bird existed will no doubt be outraged and sad to see it go. Visitors and natives alike will probably mourn its loss as a sacrifice to progress and economic needs of islanders. But there are vast unknown territories inside of this extinction: we have no idea what impact this will have on the forests of Maui; what plants might die off because of increased insect populations; what lifeforms might be adversely affected by the lack of the po'ouli's curved bill pollinating their flowers; what the new, po'ouli-less Maui will look like in 100 or 1000 years.
So what should we be doing? Must humans, in building their habitat, destroy the habitat of birds? Is there another way that is just beyond our minds right now, a way of building that is being withheld, that would in subtle or dramatic ways do more to avoid the extinctions we now know are coming?
10:19 AM :: ::
  • M-
    Have i mentioned you are the only "birder" i've ever known? This is a mysterious world indeed. one that continues to intrigue and ellude me. Thanks for the cross referencing and I'm glad you enjoyed the books. THey're wonderful right?! We need to talk about innagural action...
    you are the best. You've helped me a lot this semester. Thank you.

    By Blogger Abbyg., at 5:31 PM  
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