Insist

Hirroshima, December 2019

 

First and foremost, I continue to insist that I am a photographer. It is entirely impossible for me to abandon that. I have always believed that I was born into life to be a photographer.

— Takuma Nakahira

Little America

Kyoto, December 2019

Chapter 20

Hollow Earth

Subterranean regions of the continent excavated in cyclopaean caverns, cathe- dralspace fractal networks, labyrinthine gargantuan tunnels, slow black under- ground rivers, unmoving stygian lakes, pure & slightly luminiferous, slim wa- terfalls plunging down watersmooth rock, cataracting round petrified forests of stalactites & stalagmites in spelunker-bewildering blind-fish complexity & un- fathomable vastness…Who dug this hollow earth beneath the ice foreseen by Poe, by certain paranoid German occultists, Shaverian UFO freaks? Was Earth once colonized in the time of Gondwana or MU by some Elder Race? their reptil- ian skeletons still mouldering in the farthest secret mazes of the cavern system? Sluggish backwaters, dead-end canals, stagnant pools far from the centers of civ- ilization like Little America, Transport City, or Nan Chi Han, down in the dark recesses and boondocks of the Antarctic caves, fungus & albino fern. We suspect them of mutations, amphibian webbed fingers and toes, degenerate habits — Kallikaks of the Hollow Earth, Lovecraftian renegades, hermits, skulking inces- tuous smugglers, runaway criminals, anarchists forced into hiding after the En- tropy Wars, fugitives from Genetic Puritanism, dissident Chinese Tongs & Yel- low Turban fanatics, lascar cave-pirates, pale shiftless whitetrash from the prole- warrens of the industrial domes along Thwait’s Tongue & the Walgreen Coast & Edsel-Ford-Land — the Trogs have kept alive for over 200 years the folk-memory of the Autonomous Zone, the myth that someday it will appear again. . . Taoism, libertine philosophy, Indonesian sorcery, cult of the Cave Mother (or Mothers), identified by some scholars with the Javanese sea/moon goddess Loro Kidul, by others with a minor deity of the South Pole Star Sect, the “Jade God- dess”…manuscripts (written in Bahasa Ingliss the pidgin dialect of the deep caves) contain mangled quotations from Nietzsche & Chuang Tzu. . . Trade con- sists of occasional precious gems and cultivation of white poppy, fungus, over a dozen different species of “magic” mushrooms…Shallow Lake Erebus, 5 miles across, dotted with stalagmitic islets choked with fern & kudzu & black dwarf pine, held in a cave so vast it sometimes creates its own weather…The town belongs officially to Little America but most of the inhabitants are Trogs liv- ing off the Shiftless Dole — & the deep-cave tribal country lies just across the Lake. Riffraff, artists, drug addicts, sorcerers, smugglers, remittance-men & perverts live in crumbling basalt-&-synthplast hotels half-encrusted with pale green vines, along the lakefront, an avenue of squalid cafes, gem emporia guarded by armed ninjas, chinese krill-noodle shops, the crystal-tinselled hall for fusion-gamelan dancers, boys practicing their mudras on sleepy electronic dark blue afternoons to the rippling of synthgongs and metallophones. . . & below the pier perhaps a few desultory bathers along the black beach, genuine low-budget tourists gawking at the shrine behind the bazaar where pallid old Trog pamongs tranced out on fungus drool & roll up their eyes, breathe in the fumes of heavy incense, everything seems suddenly menacingly bright, flickering with signifi- cance. . . a few cases of webbed fingers but the rumors of ritual promiscuity are true enough. I was living in a Trog fishing village across the lake from Erebus in a rented room above the baitshop. . . rural sloth & degenerate superstitious rites of sensual abandon, the larval & unhealthy mysteries of the chthonic mutant downtrodden Trogs, lazy shiftless no-count hicks. . . Little America, so christian & free of mutation, eugenic & orderly, where ev-eryone lives jacked into the fleshless realm of ancient software & holography, so euclidean, newtonian, clean & patriotic — L.A. will never understand this innocent filth-sorcery, this “spir- itual materialism,” this slavery to the volcanic desires of secret cave-boy gangs like laughing flowers jetting with dynamo erections pulsing up pure life curved taut as bows, & the smell of water, pond-scum, nightblooming white flowers, jasmine & datura, urine, children’s wet hair, sperm & mud. . . possessed by cave- spirits, perhaps ghosts of ancient aliens now wandering as demons seeking to renew long-lost pleasures of flesh & substance. Or else the Zone has already been reborn, already a nexus of autonomy, a spreading virus of chaos in its most exuberant clandestine form, white toadstools springing up on the spots where Trog boys have masturbated alone in the dark. . .

— Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.

Nightmare Form

Wie bei einem naschhaften Kind sind meine Augen größer als mein Magen.

 

The ecological value of the term Nature is dangerously overrated, because Nature isn’t just a term – it’s something that happened to human-built space, demarcating human systems from Earth systems. Nature as such is a twelve-thousand-years old human product, geological as well as discursive. Its wavy elegance was eventually revealed as inherently contingent and violent, as when in a seizure one’s brain waves become smooth. Wash-rinse-repeat the agrilogistics and suddenly we reach a tipping point. 

The Anthropocene doesn’t destroy Nature. The Anthropocene is Nature in its toxic nightmare form. Nature is the latent form of the Anthropocene waiting to emerge as a catastrophe.

–Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology

The Other World

Anyway, I think I will restart my work with the Illustrated Botanical Dictionary. I am going to capture subjects in daylight with color photography; I will compile them into the Illustrated Botanical Dictionary. For that, they must be color photographs. This is because I would like to completely cast off any trace of the hand that remains with the darkroom process of black-and-white photography. The hands themselves have made the art. The hands are the others within oneself. But of course the hands are the self. Manipulation and a thing manipulated by the hands are still an extension of the hands. The world is manipulated by the hands. My Illustrated Botanical Dictionary will come to exist by cleanly severing all ties with hand-manipulation. In that sense, the color photograph is already in the other world. Release the shutter once, and everything comes to an end

Takuma Nakahira, from Why An Illustrated Botanical Dictionary