re: informal Kabul

 

Contemporary reflections on conflict in Kabul focus on the violence of insurgent attacks, but we must understand the informal settlements on the city’s hillsides as an equally significant outcome of conflict as the spaces of direct impact. Their continued exclusion from infrastructure provision, and from the municipality’s formal planning initiatives, has meant that informal settlements continue to be underserved and remain unrecognized as essential components of the urban fabric.

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Stages of informal development within the city creep up the hillsides of the region, while IED attacks (represented as dots) take place largely within the formal parts of the city, along major transportation infrastructure, 2017, Zannah Mae Matson

Zannah Matson writes about the ‘Legacies of Conflict and [Re] Constructing Urban Futures‘, as exemplified in Kabul.

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best known for his book In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003)

Moten is impatient with detractors who accuse him of difficulty and lack of clarity. Many writers once thought to be impenetrable are now considered canonical, he points out. “The critics I loved and who were influential to me were all weird: Empson, Burke, Benjamin, Adorno—they all had a sound, and it wasn’t like a PMLA, academic-journal sound.” The other critics who influenced him, he continues, were poets: Charles Olson, Amiri Baraka, Nathaniel Mackey, and especially Susan Howe—who, he says, has a different understanding of how the sentence works. “Miles [Davis] said: You gotta have a sound. I knew I wanted to sound like something. That was more important to me than anything.” One could argue that Moten’s sound resonates with the “golden era” of hip-hop of the late eighties and early nineties, when it was still audibly a wild collage of jazz, R&B, late disco and funk: “Styles upon styles upon styles is what I have,” the late Phife Dawg raps on A Tribe Called Quest’s celebrated 1991 album The Low End Theory.

Photograph by Robert Adam Mayer

Harvard Magazine published Jesse McCarthy’s essay on the subversive black-studies scholarship of Fred Moten.

Guantánamo and “the Sea”

The tarps remained down for a few days, and the detainees started making art about the sea. Some wrote poems about it. And everyone who could draw drew the sea. I could see different meanings in each drawing, color and shape. I could see the detainees put their dreams, feelings, hopes and lives in them. I could see some of these drawings were mixtures of hope and pain. That the sea means freedom no one can control or own, freedom for everyone.

Each of us found a way to escape to the sea.

Those who could see the sea spent most of their time watching, listening and looking at that big blue color, which cools our souls. The sea was a little rough, because of the windy weather. Huge waves that rose high and hit the land. Looking at a sea like that was scary, but it was what we got, and it felt good. Afghans started calling out to one another and expressing their feelings about what they saw, and turned to us with many questions about that beast.

A painting by Mohammed Ansi, a former Guantánamo detainee.

Mansoor Adayfi was released in 2016 and is at work on a book about this detention. Above excerpt is adapted from the catalog for “Ode to the Sea: Art From Guantánamo Bay.”

re: landscape punk

I find myself in difficult position. I consider myself to be an anti-fascist, and yet I read many, many books concerning the British landscape – I have written a fiction collection partly about that fascination myself – and I’m aware of how these feelings I hold towards landscape dovetail with those I disagree with, and at times despise. I care deeply about wildlife and conservation – to the point where I have been accused of holding a kind of animal anti-immigration policy, because I dislike the invasive species green parakeets, signal crayfish and grey squirrels. I am increasingly being affected by the ideas of radical ecology, of the notion of hyperobjects, the bleak but often truthful output of the Dark Mountain Project, but I felt very uncomfortable to see a writer I read with great interest associated with the Dark Mountain project sink into a kind of left-wing, pro-Brexit eco-nationalism. Troubling concepts like ‘Anglarchism’ leave me cold. The whole point of the Crass-inspired anarchism I grew up with as a punk was that there were no borders and no nations. You could deeply care the environments we inhabit without having to claim ownership of them.

Over at The Quietus,  Gary Budden calls for a reweirding of the countryside & a new landscape punk.

Two from Literary Hub

Don’t believe I have heard of this platform/publisher before. Then in last week to ten days, have come across it twice. In both my Facebook and Twitter feeds/networks.

First an old piece, from 2016, by

Walking had returned to me a greater set of possibilities. And why walk, if not to create a new set of possibilities? Following serendipity, I added new routes to the mental maps I had made from constant walking in that city from childhood to young adulthood, traced variations on the old pathways. Serendipity, a mentor once told me, is a secular way of speaking of grace; it’s unearned favor. Seen theologically, then, walking is an act of faith…Walking while black restricts the experience of walking, renders inaccessible the classic Romantic experience of walking alone. It forces me to be in constant relationship with others, unable to join the New York flaneurs I had read about and hoped to join…Walking as a black man has made me feel simultaneously more removed from the city, in my awareness that I am perceived as suspect, and more closely connected to it, in the full attentiveness demanded by my vigilance. It has made me walk more purposefully in the city, becoming part of its flow, rather than observing, standing apart.

Later Olivia Campbell on Climate Change and the Fairy Tale Forest.

As we consider the potential loss of plant, animal, and human life at the hands of climate change, we must also ponder what we stand to lose in culture—in stories yet to be told. Lost or devastated landscapes stand to radically alter the trajectory of our tales.

Or as @elisehunchuck shortened “What tales will go untold as we lose islands, coasts change, species go extinct, and forests wither?

re: fluminism

“In consequence, we may see the kind of society forming envisioned by the political theorist, communalist and libertarian anarchist, Murray Bookchin. I will leave the political ecology largely aside for now, but Fluminism, I see as key relevance to shape a society un-reliant on the disconnection of state and citizen we see today. It grants empowerment of everyone via personal, local and communal responsibility for all life. Environmental ethics must now be fluministic (love/flows) to help unblock those barriers that are so un-beaverlike that they persist in depauperating, not enriching, the biosphere…

…There are many more fluministic species, mutualisms and cause-effect processes that offer us knowledge and hope as we aim to exit the Anthropocene epoch into the Symbiocene. The Pacific Salmon Forest is a beautiful example (true beauty shines in those dynamic interconnections). There are human Fluminists, like the Rampe’s, the people behind the Orono Land Trust, The Penobscot Nation, and those at the Department of Wildlife Ecology at UMaine. And community programmes like the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative of New South Wales and the work of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust ~ the contribution and responsibilities volunteered are Fluminism in action, the legalities being just one means to that end.

More here

h/t @Humans and Nature