Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

I just found this beautiful interactive map of the stars, as well as the largest model of the solar system in the world. also, a UFO was spotted by multiple people at multiple times in Denver. Made me think of this story:

"They're made out of meat."
"Meat. They're made out of meat."
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."
"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"
"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."
"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."
"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."
"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."
"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."
"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."
"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"
"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."
"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."
"No brain?"
"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"So ... what does the thinking?"
"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."
"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"
"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"
"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."
"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."
"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"
"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."
"We're supposed to talk to meat."
"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."
"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"
"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."
"I thought you just told me they used radio."
"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."
"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"
"Officially or unofficially?"
"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."
"I was hoping you would say that."
"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"
"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"
"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."
"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."
"That's it."
"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"
"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."
"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."
"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."
"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"
"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."
"They always come around."
"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."
the end
This story originally appeared in Omni April 1991 and was nominated for the Nebula Award. It is taken from the collection 'Bears Discover Fire'. You can find out more about Terry Bisson on his website.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

As a Painter

 Two new biofilm studies. I'm still trying to figure out my thesis.
Bacteria. We are in them as much as they is in us (one to ten ratio, us to them, "within" every body!). We depend on each other; it's symbiosis everywhere! Also, in the myths we came from mud, from muck. From LUCA. We came from a rock (panspermia). Or from the geomagnetic field around the third rock from the sun. We came from angels, precipitated from subtler energy constelations singing mathematics throughout the universes; we are lightbeams from source, from self, from origin. We are witnesses and phase-spaces. We are spaces. As an artist, I have to know the artist legend, that we have insight into something relevant, some truth and vision that is practical. Maybe we perceive other realms or systems and things, not in words, and maybe we just remember things, from deep time, voices, experiences, movements. Artists can see how poetry accelerates imagination and catharsis. They know creative gestalts always are at play, and that the mind makes connections. They know communication beneath/beyond words is "truer" in a sense...? I have no idea. I suspect my art and passion is about imaginary landscapes and imagined communities that are also always 'real' and embodied, I don't quite know yet. But I do know that it is important to be an artist. True, "everyone is an artist," but some of us are formally trained and expected to perform...musicians, god, hours and hours of learning the trade, the magic. "Realism" is a common stereotype for the products of visual and theatrical artists. It is expected. And the word realism, apart from any art historical context, has an intersting point with regards to all art. And most artists are 'real'; blunt, they get to the point, and are not afraid to go anywhere. Maybe the artists are mediums like psychics and people use them to heal themselves, I don't kno, but artists are not afraid of the dark. They go into the caves. Always have. They conjour up voices. The "dark" can be pain, suffering, or it can be the unknown, the mystery, voidness, death. It can be the subconscious, the body, subjectivation, the real. Spending more time in the dark, the artist's eyes ajust and they can see more of the darkness, and more of the subtle light, than others. That is the story. This refined vision of 'isness' (what Huxley says ordinary people need mescaline in order to achieve) refers to something the artist is born with, I guess. My parents always knew it. But does that mean they created it? It could also be caused by a connection to a specific memory or powerful dream (like an MLK "I have a dream" dream), or maybe just a deep connection with other beings. As an artist I feel driven to explore the world, all of it, my body included, and then paint in love. I have no idea why but I must, and am encouraged by my community to do so, thank God! I think it has something to do with alleviating suffering and building community, at least I pray it does. Artists, trained or self-proclaimed, are not the only ones who have access to the "real," to creativity or the darkness and the light, (or to the myths and systems behind systems, the imaginative quality of perception, or to ecstasy because the artistic, creative spirit (love) and nondual flow is behind all acts. We, all of Us, are always already dreaming and creating dream worlds, even now, right? However, there is a cultural place-an identity and imagined community-for the "artist" (performer, dancer, musician, writer, sculptor). We have our own archetype, our own place in the world. Shaman? Magician? Trickster? Healer? Critic? Journalist? Story Teller? Musician? Dancer? Carpenter? We had a crazy art-school house part last Saturday night, oh man! Weirdo art school kids are my people, getting down and dirty.  We talk about death, sex, and stuff. It's so cool.

Monday, November 05, 2012

new biofilm studies

remembering origin. 
see the mud spout? and the angel?

maybe I should call this series "deep space." what do you think?

Friday, November 02, 2012


Now we believe what the ancient people knew: material things have “agency” (is this part of the "cultural retrieval of animism" William Irwin Thompson talks about?). Using the potter at his potter’s wheel as an example, Malafouris (2008) shows that there is no way that human and material agency can be disentangled. The fingers do not just move the clay; the clay tells the hands how much pressure to apply. “While agency and intentionality may not be property of things, they are not properties of humans either: they are properties of material engagement, that is, of the grey zone where brain, body, and culture conflate” (2008, 22). 

I went to the New Springs Quarry on Thursday with my landscape painting class. I wondered off, found this pipe, followed it. 

 I did a quick painting of the site and mud collecting in sheets along the emerald river. Considering the theory of material agency, did I paint the mud, or did the mud paint itself through me?

Material agency is also explored by Kevin Kelly in his recent book What Technology Wants (2009). For Kelly, technology creates itself, using humans to do its bidding, always according to a certain inevitability that is dictated by the circumstances of the technology that came before, and our normal view of humans creating technology is a kind of romantic fairy tale that ignores the fact that nearly every great invention is invented nearly simultaneously by many people at the same time, all over the world. Darren Lipnicki, a psychologist formerly at the Center for Space Medicine in Berlin, Germany, found a correlation between the bizarreness of his dreams, recorded over eight years, and extremes in local geomagnetic activity.

That things move us, that the shape of my house, for example, determines the possible movements of my body once I enter it, opens up the possibility for including the house into my body and self-sense. My thesis may be that by including the idea of material agency within my worldview, a larger identity with the environment can arise, agency can be decentralized from inside the human head, and we can more efficiently accomplish any task through collaboration. Like Thompson says, this idea is dramatized in The Wizard of Oz, or the Fantastic Four, and legends of famous knights and their swords.  

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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