Excerpts from: Ecology without Nature
The point is to go against the grain of dominant, normative ideas about nature…
Nature wavers in between the divine and the material. Far from being something ”natural” itself, nature hovers over things like a ghost. It slides over the infinite list of things that evoke it. Nature is thus not unlike ”the subject,” a being who searches through the entire universe for its reflection, only to find none. If it is just another word for supreme authority, then why not just call it God? But if this God is nothing outside the material world, then why not just call it matter?
We keep hearing that we can no longer just sit back and be spectators when it comes to the environmental events around us.
”To the Reader” is highly literary, going so far as to compare the rolling waves with the turning of a text’s pages. There is no guilt about writing here. Levertov does point beyond the specific event of the words on the page, the voice intoning the words. But somehow ”To the Reader” achieves a sense of the sur rounding environment, not by being less artful, but by being more so. This conscious, reflexive, postmodern version is all the more eco mimetic for that.
Contemporary art evokes what is often excluded in our view of the picture: its surrounding frame, the space of the gallery itself, the institu tion of art altogether. In a very significant way, these experiments are environmental. Only the taste and habits of the academy have pre vented us from seeing the connection between this supposedly ”sophis ticated” art and the kitsch we know as ”nature writing.”
Kitch vs ecomimetic
avant-garde ecomimesis is cut from the same cloth as the kitsch variety, despite apparent differences (the one organicist, the other artificial, the one about being ”home,” the other about being ”away,” and so on). What do we propose?
This is not a world you could live in, but a world you could visit, as a tourist. – interesting in respect of temporality, aso.
Eco critique could establish collective forms of identity that included other species and their worlds, real and possible.