WHAT The WIND SAID
A specter is haunting the earth ... the specter of the Machine. That collusion of capitalism, government and technology that enriches a few, impoverishes many and all the while, despoils the biosphere. We develop new technologies for profit and to improve our lives, but ignore the long term environmental and social costs of such development. The result is climate change, increasing wealth disparity and species extinction at rates unseen since the demise of the dinosaurs. Our world is dying ... one community … one birdsong at a time.
Yet the blind parade of "progress" continues as we invent ever more powerful tools ... artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, synthetic biology ... Will we use these technological triumphs to patch up a broken paradise? Will we distinguish ourselves as a race of benign star-roving supermen? Or will our reptilian savagery extinguish us in war and ecological ruin? We ride the back of the many-headed technological beast and marvel at its power, but fail to note its swollen belly, pregnant with undesired futures.
"Hammer the Machine before it hammers you!" This should be the rallying cry of every creative mind on the planet, for what can be more important than transforming capitalism into a more benign expression? Yet the art of our times (especially public art) is largely vapid entertainment ... plagiarized ornaments decorating urban landscapes ... cogs in the economic system that fuels the Machine (and therefore, accessories to its brutality). The contemporary artist fiddles while the whole planet burns.
Artistic development is slow and contrary to the opinions of historians, rarely unfolds in a linear fashion. It is in fact, circular ... When I was young my technique was flawless, my sense of design impeccable, my knowledge of art and life deep beyond measure. But the older I become ... the less I know. At 40 I knew half as much as when I was 20. At 60 I became embarrassingly stupid. By the time I turn 80 I will have forgotten everything I ever knew. The circle will be complete. I will be as ignorant and free as a child. Perhaps then I'll finally make some great art ...
My gods reside in wilderness ... those last remnants of Eden ... sanctuaries for the world's non-human citizens, where name of slave and sultan is forgot, the Machine is but a distant rumor and nature lies in primitive splendor, unsullied by human greed. The greater the wildness of the land, the more removed it is from the sweat and roar of the city, the greater is my reverence. In wildness is the antidote for our technological hubris.
The two qualities of our species I hold in highest esteem are the creative power of the human mind and the vast capacity for love in the human heart. They are our best hope for a viable future and who knows ...? They may yet deliver us from the folly of our ways.
Hands cratered and scarred, Spitting out dust from his dreams, He carves the moonlight.
Charles Pilkey (a man whose name will be writ in rust) … a former geologist turned artist, writer and illustrator … a river rat raised in the green hills of the Carolina piedmont … a wandering spirit whose life path serpentines across 52 countries and seven continents.