Carless in the country

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three years ago we gave up supermarket food. Two years ago we took down the kitchen clock. A year ago we gave up air travel. And, this week we sold our car.

We have spent money on cleaning it and having it “worthy” of the road. We’re a little tense as it’s raining and one of us, eight years old, is not so aware or interested in the effects of the mud on his shoes on the upholstery. We still have some petrol in the tank. It will be enough for the journey. It’s been a year since we made the decision and we have rehearsed being carless all through the winter recording each kilometre travelled, each litre expended, and the extent to which our participation in global resource wars disables our reembodiment, our relocalisation, our humanity. And now, we’re at this point, at this significant milestone of our transition, ready to drive for the last time from the town with very little public transport to the city dripping in it, where the young guy who works for the Armed Services Credit Union, will unironically hand us a cheque which we will in turn cash in at the bicycle store. (from a letter to a Hamish Morgan, Dec 2010)

We kept a logbook for this past year for no other reason but to enable a more conscious examination of our largest polluting activity.

The financial savings living without a car will be about $10,000 pa, including initial cost of the vehicle, depreciation, petrol and maintenance. But the ecological and social savings for living the rest of our lives without one will be immeasurable. The carport will become a bikeport, garden tool shed and potting area. The driveway will be ripped up, heavily manured and become an extension of our food forest.

Yesterday we headed to Melbourne on foot, bus and train to collect our new long-tail cargo bikes. We had our helmets with us so we thought we'd give the Bike Share a go en route to the bike shop.

On the way we checked out some spontaneous urban natural history.

Then the exciting moment... Our new bikes and a tourist-like snap in the city by a passer-by.

After a quick lunch we hopped back on the train.

And rode 30km from Ballan to Daylesford. We sang and screamed for joy at the immense sense of freedom. Cars and trucks belted past, some only a foot or two away from collecting us.

We both have front baskets to take Zero, the family's Jack Russell, and Zephyr, our awesome eight year old, has new panniers and a pack rack on his ten speed racer. Stay tuned, probably on the Artist as Family blog, for bike camping/touring adventures and, more generally, a family's everyday refusal to participate in the chronic abusiveness of the dominant culture and its industrial military complex.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For more info try here.


Eucalyptus (Percy) Cum - white flowering gum

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Man arrested after ejaculating during TSA pat-down

A 47 year old gay man was arrested at San Francisco International Airport after ejaculating while being patted down by a male TSA agent. Percy Cummings, an interior designer from San Francisco, is being held without bail after the alleged incident, charged with sexually assaulting a Federal agent.

According to Cummings’ partner, Sergio Armani, Cummings has “multiple piercings on his manhood” which were detected during a full body scan. As a result, Cummings was pulled aside for a pat-down. Armani stated that the unidentified TSA agent spent “an inordinate amount of time groping” Cummings, who had apparently become sexually aroused. Cummings, who has a history of sexual dysfunction, ejaculated while the TSA agent’s hand was feeling the piercings. The TSA agent, according to several witnesses, promptly called for back up. Cummings was thrown to the ground and handcuffed.

A TSA spokesperson declined to comment on this specific case, but said that anyone ejaculating during a pat-down would be subject to arrest.
from here.


Eucalyptus (Gary) Snyder

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Dreaming" or "dreamtime" refers to a time of fluidity, shapeshifting, interspecies conversation and intersexuality, radically creative moves, whole landscapes being altered. It is often taken to be a "mythical past," but it is not really in any time. We might as well say it is right now. It is the mode of the eternal moment of creating, of being, as contrasted with the mode of cause and effect in time. Time is the realm where people mainly live and within which history, evolution, and progress are imagined to take place. p84
Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild, 1981


Eucalyptus (Oprah) Winfrey

Friday, December 10, 2010

I made this prohibition-sign-cum-visual-poem in 2004. With talk around here of Oprah visiting our pretentious little town in the next few days, this work, if I can be so conceited, borders on prophecy. The tourist operators, the baby boomers who still feel the need to cash up and burn as much resources as they damn well can, are wetting themselves at her possible arrival, their good selfless work in the community emulsifies into profits from unsustainable tourism: increased wealth = increased travel = increased pollution. Oprah brings 300 idiots from America and not one mention of this cost to the planet. Go figure.


Peak Shell (a poem on the slide)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let's make what


got [left]

go further.

Let's go!

to the

other side





America – great poets, lousy politicians

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Earlier this year Hillary Clinton wrote:
On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress. But the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognise that the world's information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.

This challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. The words of the first amendment to the constitution [guaranteeing freedom of speech] are carved in 50 tons of Tennessee marble on the front of this building. And every generation of Americans has worked to protect the values etched in that stone.
More here.


Leaves and limbs

Monday, December 6, 2010

...and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855


The question is carried

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is the metabolic potential for a biophysical poetry – a poetry of the body and its environment (in an era of unfolding climate chaos and fossil energy descent) – an essential transition from catabolic literatures, which feed upon each other and perpetuate the systems of art that mediate our logic and make us increasingly separate from the experience of everyday life?


Applying Fukuoka to Poetry

Friday, December 3, 2010

Can we apply Masanobu Fukuoka's 'Four Principals of Natural Farming' to poetry? The principals are: 1. No cultivation. 2. No chemical fertiliser or prepared compost. 3. No weeding by tillage or herbicides. 4. No dependence on chemicals. Here goes:

1. No cultivation – no paper; no page*.

2. No chemical fertiliser or prepared compost – no vowels.

3. No weeding by tillage or herbicides – no consonants.

4. No dependence on chemicals – no alphabets.

*Nevertheless, the perennial problem of representation remains.

Site-specific question: Is the metabolic potential for a biophysical poetry – a poetry of the body and its environment (in an era of unfolding climate chaos and fossil energy descent) – an essential transition from catabolic literatures, which feed upon each other and perpetuate the systems of art that mediate our logic and make us increasingly separate from the experience of everyday life?

Photos: Meg Ulman


A first solar poem? geopoets, geopolitics and the first world oil war

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In his comic masterpiece, The History of Oil, Robert Newman insightfully states that Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen wouldn't be known today if they were sent to Iraq instead of France almost a century ago. Looking deeper at this claim it seems conspiratorial that mainstream historians have not focussed on oil as the main trigger for the outbreak of war. In his book Oil and the origins of the ‘War to make the world safe for Democracy’ (2007), F. William Engdahl writes of the origins of the First World War in geopolitical terms:

Beginning the 1880’s a group of leading German industrialists and bankers around Deutsche Bank’s Georg von Siemens, recognized the urgent need for some form of colonial sources of raw materials as well as industrial export outlet. With Africa and Asia long since claimed by the other Great Powers, above all Great Britain, German policy set out to develop a special economic sphere in the imperial provinces of the debt-ridden Ottoman Empire. The policy was termed “penetration pacifique” an economic dependency which would be sealed with German military advisors and equipment. Initially, the policy was not greeted with joy in Paris, St. Petersburg or London, but it was tolerated. Deutsche Bank even sought, unsuccessfully, to enlist City of London financial backing for the keystone of the Ottoman expansion policy – the Berlin-to-Baghdad railway project, a project of enormous scale and complexity that would link the interior of Anatolia and Mesopotamia (today Iraq) to Germany. What Berlin and Deutsche Bank did not say was that they had secured subsurface mineral rights, including for oil along the path of the railway, and that their geologists had discovered petroleum in Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra. Read on here.
Britain, with its coal-to-oil-transitioning navy (under Churchill), couldn't accept these strategies in the race for greater industrial power, and so youthful bodies soon started piling up on the Great Dead Heap 1914-18, including the following unmarked body that Owen memorialises in his poem Futility.
Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds, -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?
The last two lines almost speak in geopolitical terms; of mining the earth. Solar energy frames this poem – the potentiality of the sun over the futility of war; fossil energy – ancient sunlight – used by industrialists for a century of war (from Owen to now) against the world.


On being offered a biscuit

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

i read the packet’s contents
(over twenty ingredients listed)
and wonder how food
made for supermarkets
remains so cheap
and how this super obfuscation
by those who disregard
the limits to growth
made clear and manifest
from the first unnoticed spore
push on with unbound insistence


Greenwash #18 in Trouble - composted & upcycled (part 2)

According to David Holmgren, co-originator of modern permaculture, history has revelled in humanism while remaining largely ignorant of energetic and ecological factors. For well adjusted progressive types, by which I mean schooled believers in human progress, this anthropocentric worldview is easily developed through the arts. But to those sensitive to the plight of nonhumans, ecologies and the world’s poor at the hands of progress, art can be seen as just another instrument of civilised brutality and species intransigence. Welcome to part 2 of Greenwash’s ‘composted and upcycled’. (see part 1)
Click on image to read on.


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