|Mann by Robert Leaver
In celebration of this edition here are seven glimpses into the collection and the stories that can shift our attention away from the trance of the mechanical sphere and back into physical and meaningful reality.
* * *One of the original critiques of technology comes from the French philosopher Jacques Ellul. In an interview with Jan van Boeckel, Never mind where, so long as it's fast, he tells the young film makers who are recording him:
Existence in a society that has become a system finds the senses useless precisely because of the very instruments designed for their extension. One is prevented from touching and embracing reality. Further, one is programmed for interactive communication; one’s whole being is sucked into the system. It is this radical subversion of sensation that humiliates and then replaces perception.
Here the attentive hand of the furniture maker and artist Wycliffe Stutchbury pieces together slices of discarded trees and fenceposts for one of his giant 'woodpaintings', in an interview by choreographer Clare Whistler called Heartwood:
In the photo essay The Walnut Project, photographer Manuela Boeckle documents villagers in the Perigord region in France cracking their local 'Corne' walnuts for oil: nuts that are too hard and too small to be processed on an industrial scale:
You can’t set up a large format camera, on its tripod, and stand there with a bright red cape over your head without first getting to know the people you’re going to shoot... The process of photography is also a process of kinship, talking, finding common ground.It's a long way from the digital clicking of a selfie generation:
We are living through a unique time in our history where these specificities of place, language, skill and purpose are being lost to a homogenised and dislocated ‘being’ and ‘doing’ in the world, as we have largely relinquished responsibility for our existences to people and systems we have never met or held in our hands.
Top image: Mann by Robert Leaver: 'The mannequin strikes me as calm and knowing and when I place him in nature I feel as though he is a visitor from the future. He knows things here and now are headed in the wrong direction. His silence is eloquent and somehow soothing. He is an opaque scarecrow, a strangely graceful witness. Ishmael made white by the whale of what will be.'
There’s more where this came from in Dark Mountain issue 8: Technê. To get a copy of the book, or subscribe to future issues, visit our online shop.