"Trees With Shoulders" Stop Motion Animation, 2017

Inhale.

       When we were younger, half of my brothers body disappeared. The body of an 18 year old man, suspended, and my brother, now trapped in it. My dad cut a trail during this time. He would work a few hours past sundown, clearing the land, clearing his mind. He couldn't do anything, except for this. Sweat and tears and sap. He would say, “You don't know god is all you need until god is all you have” a lot around this time. I can only assume he was out there trying to find it.

Inhale.

       When I was 20, We had two goats, Star and Cinnabon. They were tied on long leashes and confined to different areas on our property throughout the day. However, before the goats could properly inflate with grass, their legs would become tangled, at which point they would yell ,like men, for hours (think “eh” as loud you can) . I decided to clear a patch of land for them to run around freely, roughly 80 square meters, out back. I thought about my brother and how his immune system had tangled up his legs. As I was working I discovered the remnants of a chair, surrounded by more than several pop-top style Rainier’s scattered over a few other rusted essentials. This was someone's hiding place, and I had found it. The ‘task’ I set out on became lost in the stories my dead friend and I told each other about this place. Before we knew it, the land reached a certain point of transformation and we felt an unexpected new pride in it as our approximate frameworks and measures like ‘work’ and ‘time’ had been absorbed and redefined through the land.

Inhale.    

       I’m sad to discover that my love and pride for the land seems to require, at least in part, its destruction. I am also aware of the legacy of Descarte, whose powerful stories about existence caused western civilization to view the mind as superior to the body. Ecological philosopher Max Oelschlaeger writes “his belief that mind and matter are essentially different substances subject to different laws, and that mind is superior to body. The soul was separate from nature- receiving special status and exception. (this special place for the soul, by the way, fit perfectly into the Christian model of death of the body (machine) and resurrection of the soul, which was no accident on the part of Descartes.”(Max Oelschlaeger, The Idea of Wilderness (Yale University, 1991) p12) everything can be modeled and explained. This rationale has gotten us pretty far, but it also, consciously or not, puts us continually at odds with nature, and implies the existence of, and our preference for, some sort of humancentric anti-nature. ‘Culture’ is not the opposite of ‘nature’, as Descarte would have us believe, rather it is ‘non-nature’ which is not a real word because it's not a real thing. I wonder how many broken parts from Descartes human machine found this same kind of meaning in the seemingly ‘meaningless’ act of cleaning the forest. It's a gesture so primitively human, not to build new homes, but to hermit in the caves of others, and to love these place until they are blanket-soft, so that we can wrap ourselves up in them, after we take off our clothes.

Inhale.