Art changes when the lights turn off; it becomes devoid of color until light bounces off of it again. In a crude metaphor the same happens to us when our lights are put out; we return to the soil’s network of roots and decomposition, worms, nitrate, fertilizer, bugs, mole people, subways, wells, aquifers, coffins, and minerals.
Miles south of where we design, manufacture, and hang our clothes out to dry. Somewhere pleasantly serene, beautiful, and vast. Perhaps near a riviera of water, underground. Where we leave the burden of nature we cannot control, dismissing the sparse and unusual heat, the weight of a heavy sun, an inconceivable myriad of winds that either damage or power our interventions. Hurricanes and heat waves that have turned into record, consuming forest fires, one after another.
I stare at the ground and want to dig. I want to find a place to bury myself. I had a nightmare once, of being buried alive. I wonder what it is like to pile soil on top of myself, soothing, cool and form fitting. I remember digging when I was young; it was a regular activity for us, to dig. To see a worm coming out of a hole. To be brave enough to pull its fleshy membrane out and put it in a bucket. To wrap it around a hook. To throw it in the water. We were brave fishermen, Nick, on the banks of gorges.
Yet, I sit and I try to imagine a world possibly without synthetic intervention, forcing us possibly into a gaping underground space, in hopes to allow some earth to be left pristine, regenerative, thriving, and unkempt with wild flowers, fruits, trees, and ripe perennial medicinal herbs.
Perhaps there is nothing synthetic about us. Perhaps our buildings, clothes, phones, televisions, doors, and chairs are actually natural occurrences. They happen from an unrelenting past constantly informing what happens next through its ever-manipulating environments. Our present is a conjoined twin of history; and we are always in our most natural state.
The thought of rosy cheeks, mittens clenching, shaking, little metal cups of hot cocoa, it reminds me of cold winter nights outside. Then, early mornings, where we wake up to the aroma of burning wood, still embers in the stove. These memories carry with them scattered structures, sometimes top-heavy hierarchies, and often with promises of shelter.
In college, there was a time when we ran around with cameras and made films. We held mirrors to reflect the sun, we used large boards of silver foam to bounce light under our actors’ faces. Cloudy days were the best to shoot in, as the likelihood of rain would mean better diffusion. Imagine living underground, the soil as our clouds.
Imagine waking up under the earth’s surface to a sort of morning, coffee grinding in your new ritual, deep in the womb of the earth.
The space underneath us, the conspiratorial delusions of hollow earths – let’s hollow out the earth ourselves. Man the drill, fund the excavation, enjoy the demolition. Someday, into a broad new species of spaces, we might develop new needs. Needs for closed spaces, needs for types of solidarity, the need for real shelter, the need to experience life as it arises.
Then, we are willfully underground, to preserve and give more peace to what is above it – more void to see what the earth can accomplish with complete social stillness. Let our lakes overflow into blue rivers, ripen forests, carry seeds, plant fields of dancing wildflowers, as they look back at the years as a series of human disasters.