ELEMENTAL WRATH 3 (EARTH), NORTH AMERICA

Region: North America, Space
Sub-Concepts: Surface, Debris, Erosion, The Underneath
Description: Photographer David Maisel releases book titled Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime

They appear as hallucinatory vistas, these sites of devastated terrain: thus the earth betrays its commitment to solidity, and fractures the once-unified ground (the dust cannot be trusted). From an inhuman floating vantage, we are made to stare upon the surface now opening beyond recognition, and this aerial perception allows us to detect an irreversible thrust toward debris and cracked axes: deforested realms; excavated pits and mines; erosion patterns; seismic tremors; plane-shifting; dirt-in-upheaval; barrenness; aridity; harsh soil; the uninhabitable. There is almost something whimsical in each armageddon-scene, these serrated lines that form no path or sequence (only vagueness). Planetary havoc; badlands. Thought must therefore adjust itself to the geo-existential uneven, and walk along the compromised scaffolding of the underneath (that there is nothing secure below us).

Link 1: https://cuartmuseum.colorado.edu/exhibition/david-maisel-black-maps-american-landscape-and-the-apocalyptic-sublime/
Link 2: http://www.steidl.de/flycms/en/Books/Black-Maps/0615374955.html

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

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ELEMENTAL WRATH 2 (ICE), ICELAND/ANTARCTICA

Region/Concept: North America/Europe, Space
Sub-Concepts: Melting, Wonder, Brokenness, Frigidity
Description: Environmental photographer James Balog leads the Extreme Ice Survey, a collection of images documenting the effects of climate change on ice formations.

Once more, what is the crossing-point between artistic vision and an age of ecosystemic wreckage? As the vanishing accelerates, the dissipation and vaporization of forms, we come upon another series of epic images (this time of the fall of extreme coldness, polar hostility, and the once-absolute reign of the glaciers). What does it mean, then, to speak of beauty at the end of things? Is there not wonder at the sight of miraculous catastrophe? Where once there was millennial-imperial frozenness, there is now an alternative destiny of melting (both elegant and horrifying). Brokenness; downward eventuality; the crystalline; frost; chill; intersections of the fragile and the jagged; dance of unnatural temperatures; the thawing motionless; the colossus-that-shatters. Thought must therefore adjust to this radical disappearance of frigidity, the subzero-degree of arctic loss; it must train itself to enter an era of dying winters.

Link: http://www.chasingice.com/about-the-film/james-balog-photo-gallery/

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

Ilulissat Isfjord, Greenland 24 August 2007

ELEMENTAL WRATH 1 (FIRE), WEST COAST

Region/Concept: North America, Space
Sub-Concepts: Inferno, Conflagration, Epochal Blaze
Description: Photographic images of the King Fire now spreading throughout the California canyons.

What does it mean to aestheticize ecological disaster? These varied images (of flame, ignition, and fever) cannot help but capture the visual glory of environmental ruin, the enigmatic attraction of the smoke and of the hills burning down. Inferno; conflagration; consumption; engulfing; arson; immolation; world-as-furnace; world-as-incinerator; world-of-ash. There is no speculative end to the psychoanalysis of fire, nor to the phenomenological power of the wildfire (its transmission, disquiet, and searing effects). Thought must therefore adjust itself to the rise of an epochal blaze; it must inhabit the red mosaic of the pyres.

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/09/californias-king-fire/100815/

Posted by: Jason Mohaghegh

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