Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Problem of the ‘Future Library’

Tracy and I condemn this project that we see as an outrageous exploitation of nature for human art. It seems to us vain, self-serving, and gratuitous. Yes, books are printed on paper that mostly comes from trees, and that’s already an issue all writers, including us, need to deal with, especially where and how the materials to make that paper are sourced.


But to actually plant trees, let them live a hundred years – by which stage their lives and deaths will have become an integral part of an ecosystem under great pressure – is to laugh in the face of extinction.


Yes, the sin is much the same as things most of us are perpetrating daily directly or indirectly, but to place ‘art’ over ‘nature’ in such an ‘art for art’s sake’ way is to overtly place an artist’s work as being worth more than biosphere, tree, nature, planet itself.


This is a ritual of capital and an extension of an ideology in which art is actually separated away from cultural necessity into one of personal ideation and declaration of self being bigger than the tree that will outlive one, to be rendered into the materials of ongoing presence.


The eternal youth machine has to be fed by something. Surely this is just another form of environmental exploitation purporting to be worth more than itself. Writing in the now, which these authors do with obvious pertinent and skilful contributions in general to literary and social discourse, is a relevant act. Yet although they are ‘using’ as many of us also ‘use’, at least we don’t have to suggest the tree exists as idea and entity for the art.


There’s a slippage here I would ask the artist and authors involved to reconsider: what this actually stands for. If we want works preserved, by all means, and I am sure if there is a human future to be had after we’ve ravaged the planet, what is said now will be relevant in some way then.


But let’s preserve and conserve, not raise a tree and then destroy it to be a specific form of glory, a monument to posterity, a validation of having been, having written.


            John Kinsella

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Photos of Urs Jaeggi and the Kinsella/Ryan Family Zurich Late January, 2020

    Posted by John Kinsella

Sometime before the lockdown period (late January, 2020), on a special day when Tracy and Tim met up with Urs Jaeggi in Zurich and he and I spent the afternoon working in the James Joyce Foundation. We later all caught up at the Orell Füssli bookshop where these photos were taken:

John and Urs

Tim, John, Urs

Tracy and Urs

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Help Protect Helms Forest

Assuming the respect of social distancing (in the forest!), just bringing to people's attention what is still going on unabated in the forests of the southwest of Western Australia. See here regarding those who are still trying to save what's left of the native forests. And for an 'industry' view look at this incredibly propagandistic piece of pseudo-journalism in a trade publication. I will let readers unravel its contradictions and misleadings: it speaks for itself. I might point to the irony of dieback spread when the 'industry'/government nexus was responsible for a road being put through the forest to a new coupe which would have been horrific in terms of pathogen dispersal, let alone other devastations.

Below is a poem that speaks, I hope, for the forests, the wildlife, their peoples, and those who act as protectors and guardians against this unnecessary destruction of habitat which is not replaceable, for all the claims of 'sustainability'. Species extinctions are accelerated in such 'industry' situations, whether they are regrowth old forests or 'intact' old growth forests. All native forest that remains needs protecting and plantation should be the way, if there is to be a way, and should only be on already cleared land, not on land deliberately cleared for 'timber products'! Jobs? Protection rather than exploitation; planting and genuine renewables rather than devastation. So little of the pre-colonial forest cover remains: this form of forestry is ongoing colonialism through and through. 

Villanelle to Help Protect Helms Forest (near Nannup, Western Australia),

            August 2020: an address from the biotic to the abiotic


 Remember that road the industry pushed through a dieback area to open the ‘coupe’

and now have the gall to claim ‘strict hygiene management practices’ and resilience,

as they log the diminishing forest and claim sustainability regen recoup.


And the dystopic irony of calling protesters ‘vandals’ in the face of swoops

and lock-ons to stop deletions of tree-stands to arrest the erasure of species —

remember the road the industry pushed through a dieback area to open the ‘coupe’.


On land managed by a government acronym and surveyed by officers who stoop

to a worn-out low of ‘conservation’, a ‘family-owned business’ suffers an inconvenience,

lost days as they log the diminishing forest and claim sustainability regen recoup.


This entangling of biospheric fate with an industry that predates on biota-scapes

of forests and whose workers could be supported via plantings on damaged places,

remember the road the industry pushed through a dieback area to open the ‘coupe’.


Little thought is given to the country-knowing families who lived in or near the loops

of these forests for millennia, beyond ‘products’ — rather ‘family’ is equated with business

as they log the diminishing ‘merchantable’ forest and claim sustainability regen recoup.


Not far away the Jamarri Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre near Nannup

is closing down and endangered birds will flock into an agitprop stress of ‘forest industries’,

calling, Remember the road the industry pushed through a dieback area to open a ‘coupe’?

Well, now the industry logs a diminishing forest and claims sustainability regen recoup.



            John Kinsella