Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Scale and Time On My Mind
I imagine many readers are already familiar with "The Powers of Ten," the simple, but profound short film produced by Charles and Ray Eames, of Eames design fame.
A few weeks ago, I posted "Vultures," a poem by Mary Oliver. As a throw away lead-in, I suggested that the poem could effectively replace my artist statement, communicating the ideas that I always write around. The subject of "Vultures," like so much of Oliver's work, is the rather messy process of "resurrection" via recycling (or what I prefer to term "reconstitution"). I die today to sustain that which will be tomorrow.
I've long been fascinated by death, compost, and their associated sauces. Much of my writing reflects this interest, but only rarely have I written about issues of scale. Initially scale and resurrection may seem disparate matters, but I believe that infinite regression, or travel within, leads to infinite progression, or travel without. Similarly, the reduction (or the extinguishing) of one life leads to another, new one (or many). With this in mind, "The Powers of Ten" is powerfully resonant.
Riffing on this idea, I recommend a listen to a recent episode of RadioLab. In it, co-host Jad Abumrad interviews Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's widow and, along with him, one of the creators of the Voyager golden record, which I wrote about at some length here.
If you have some time to kill, watch "The Powers of Ten," and then listen to the RadioLab episode. They make for an exciting combo, and the Radiolab episode reaffirmed my belief that the golden record is "the culmination of modern art." What an arrogant, absurd, beautiful gesture?!