New world, lens flare: the beginning of light is the beginning of time, and who controls it moves the vision of the moment––and its form. What difference is there, at any genesis, between making space and shining into it?
Seeking, some found light until the dark begat seeking again. A hard time for thinkers, some say, though others object. Reason’s luminescence, which progressed by co-opting fire and then the lives of those deemed fit for its fuel, can only know its debt in waning radiance.
In this twilit hour, something comes. Lurching through a forest of shadows, flickering through an expanding dark, it speaks in long silences now. Given the limits of this human form, and the limits of a word designed for pointing to a nonexistent boundary between itself and other life, only when I begin to know the fullness of my nonexistence as human can I begin to say, I am.
Inspired by Digital Light, ed. Sean Cubitt, Daniel Palmer and Nathaniel Tkacz.
Tracing lines of exile and return, from and to ourselves.
When we first moved into nature, we called it only looking, as with mirrors, but it’s one thing to know this and another to decide to be some deviation from the atmosphere. Ancient builders, considering the return of certain dreams, had sense enough to use the shadows cast by upright poles as tracing lines for temple architecture.
What made the created world less natural than, say, the beehive? On the one hand, maybe it was hubris, but it might have also been the practice of hoarding, to a degree not unlike the mythical cave dragons, those other anomalies.
The question lives in oscillation, tracing celestial lines of sight and we stand, sometimes still as solstices and just as briefly, before pulling back the orbital bodies of our dominion just when they seem to be slipping forever beyond our grasp, and the offerings that follow tend to synchronize with the rise and declination of the countless hidden orbs of shattered once-whole light that some say broke on arrival, leaving a legacy of singular purpose: find it––and this is shrouded, too.
Drunk on abundance, they weren’t ready to accept any limits. They had no practice. It was not as though there was a choice to be made, though later it would be framed as though there had been.
Consider one beginning, how above the blue carpet of a grandmother’s living room, there had been a painting of a small boat in a storm, against a dark sky.
Below this, on a stand, an oversized bible, the pages slightly gilded at the edges; what it meant to wonder, in this place, on a summer afternoon, back against the blue carpet, how it was that anything at all had started, how from this wonder a body might get up and walk to the book on display, turning to the beginning, and puzzling over the words, in awe of the poet’s certainty.
Only words and nothing else until a command came, and then it was Light, and after that, the seas and the forests and the beasts and a man and after him, it is said, from a bone taken from the center of his breathing, a woman; consider learning, how she met him in the garden; consider wondering how they knew how to play, and imagining the horror of living ever after, dying to know it again, after they beheld in the center of the garden, the tree of the knowledge the limits of what they could know. Drunk on abundance, they weren’t ready to accept any limits. They had no practice. It was not as though there was a choice to be made, though later it would be framed as though there had been. In the beginning, knowing nothing but abundance, how can anyone look away when the very source is given, to taste?
They say she bit first. Of course, she would have been the one among the branches, gathering fruit. Later she would be painted as a sinner, but how could she be anything but a child in these original days? Here, someone whispers: serpent, man, or God––in the beginning, does it matter, or is this a moment when it is possible to imagine a single hope, constant as a pulse? How it whispers, like the rustle of leaves at the edge of a branch at late afternoon, “Stay.”