The Aboriginal people of what’s now called Arnhem Land in Australia have been singing about Karrkanj, the bird who starts fires, for a long time. There are now professional ornithologists publishing about their observations of the Firehawks‘ practices. Welcome to another edition of “Indigenous peoples have known about the world for tens of thousands of years/we should listen to them, respect the lands they and we belong to, and give them their things” Daily.
Raptors featured in this conversation below. Gotta catch ’em all!
I had two moments I wanted to blog about recently. Well, I want to blog about a lot of things, but some of it is TOP SECRET and although I’m shook, I don’t work at the White House or know Quincy Jones, so I can’t spill the tea just yet. So I guess it’s just queering Afrofuturism & decolonizing futurities, as usual.
The two moments are:
1. What you not finna do is call punk the last avant-garde moment of the 20th century when hip-hop exists
2. Black Panther: The Album prefigures the movie’s soundscape, which is a nice complement to his characterization in Captain America: Civil War. For review, in terms of sound, Civil War introduces T’Challa via his tone of voice and his theme. Whereas T’Challa has to tolerate the Avengers, the old-dirty-Avengers, and the Meek-Mill-Avengers (with their little non-World-Leader-problems) throughout Civil War, he gets to talk to people who are actually on his level in his own movie. Unsurprisingly, this contrast lines up with gendered dynamics; the Avengers who stay getting in grown folks’ business are mostly men who think they can fight their way past T’Challa, and his interlocutors in the movie are mostly women who are wiser, more savvy, or more responsible than he is (by virtue of their positions). Anyway, I feel as though you can hear some of that in the soundscape of the album, and I expect it to match up with the movie.
This is the one moment when I can speculate about the movie before it’s in wide release. After opening weekend (I will have seen it twice) the takes will be too hot to handle. And before you ask, yes, I have my outfit picked out. Because when you stay ready…
…but enough about me.
Finally: another fascinating development in recent weeks was this newscast (embedded below) on Airborne Laser-Guided Imaging Spectroscopy, which enables scientists to produce detailed maps of complex ecosystems that are otherwise difficult to observe. Coral reefs! Rainforests! I’m here for it.
Also, apparently, Arbimon is a system for remote monitoring, storage, management, and analysis of audio data from environments that might not otherwise invite consistent observation. I think this comes full circle– fuck with me though– insofar as the technique is amenable to taking us out of the coloniality of being & knowledge. See…
Our understanding of biological systems is inadequate because our knowledge is based on a very limited spatial coverage. In most biomes, data collection is concentrated in a few sites (e.g. research stations), and this highly aggregated distribution of information limits our ability to understand large-scale ecological processes and to properly manage large areas.
The thing is, the only knowledge systems capacious enough to comprehend “large-scale ecological processes” on something like a human scale are those that operate in accordance with our more-than-human counterparts. Indigenous peoples’ ways of being & knowing are intrinsically linked with land & time; seems to me that this should be understood as a basic quality of being human, but it’s inimical to coloniality. I don’t mean this in an exceptionalist/exotic/pre-modern way, I mean it in a fundamentally modern, human way. Knowledge systems designed around the short-term behavioral management, dispossession, and exploitation of life, human Others, and land/resources are totally inadequate to the long-term survival of the human species. We all know that, right? So the best we can do is come up with technologies, long-term and near-term, oriented toward futurity–and that includes the inevitability of changes at the level of the mode of production. May as well learn from those who have the best track record doing it.