when I got up on September 25th 2023, while searching for my glasses in the dark, I touched a little mechanical bear
(bell and breath)
Vancouver, September 25, 2023.
You can hear the city in the background as I record this.
When I got up this morning, searching for my glasses, I touched this little mechanical bear…
(Cranking up and unwinding of windup toy)
It startled me a bit but it was also enchanting and surprising in a good way. I enjoyed listening to it come to a halt.
That morning I was thinking about something I published on my website on September 20th. I’ll read it to you.
On September 20 2023, I decided to step back from being ‘me’, in the sense of letting go of old habits and patterns and adopting other new ways of being and living. This being said, I will continue to respond to invitations when my presence is useful.
What do you think about that, little bear?
(Winding up and release of wind up toy)
Now this statement reminded me of traps of how I fall into tarps all the time and maybe you do too?
Episode 111 of this season presented two traps and I’ll play back excerpts from that episode to you now. The first trap is essentially wanting the world to stop and get off. Stop the world I want to get off.
Observer: I notice that you’ve fallen into a trap called ‘exit fixation’ which is where people feel a strong urge to walk out on an existing commitment. For example, when someone realises that the path they are on is full of paradoxes, contradictions, and complicities. Often their first response is to find an immediate exit in hopes of a more fulfilling and/or more innocent alternative or maybe even an ideal community with whom to continue this work.
Me: Like an escape?
Observer: Ya, something like that
The second trap is about wanting to erase the past and to find some kind of spiritual haven, which, of course, is an illusion :
Observer: It’s called spiritual bypassing and it happens when spiritual ideas or practices are used to sidestep, avoid, or escape sitting with analyses of historical and systemic violence and the difficulties of one’s complicity in historic and systemic harm. Do you know what I mean?
Me: Yes I think I do but I don’t think I do this.
Observer: (interrupting) maybe not consciously but spiritual bypassing often manifests itself alongside with cultural appropriation which is something you think about every time you record a soundscape with that microphone of yours, right?
Me: I see what you mean. You’re quite a good observer.
Observer: thank you but right back at you. Think of me as a guardian angel.
Me: Or the devil…
Observer: Whatever (laughter) Now one of the dangers with spiritual bypassing is to project interpretations of ‘oneness’ that erase the realities of historical and systemic inequalities, and interpretations of ‘Enlightenment’ that tend to reinforce exceptionalism and you tend to do that…
Me: Yes, sure, I do, but it’s all part of being an artist..
Observer: (interrupting) True but that does not necessarily make it right, does it? Something to think about…
Me: (interrupting) That’s a lot to think about, to learn and unlearn.
What do you think of that, little bear?
(Winding up and release of wind up toy)
Do you think it’s ok to lose one’s mind in a mad world?
Do you think it’s ok to embrace failure as a path towards learning and unlearning?
What do you think about grieving our dying planet and sitting with this sadness?
(Winding up and release of wind up toy)
Written spontaneously on September 25th 2023 in Vancouver, this episode brought me comfort. Maybe it will bring you comfort as well?
I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode. (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).
My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is to the reseed podcast.
The post e145 bear – what do you think about grieving our dying planet and sitting with this sadness? appeared first on conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.
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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer
The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.
I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.
The term “conscient” is defined as “being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations”. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016-2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.
season 1 (may – october 2020) : environmental awareness and action Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie”s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.
season 2 (march – august 2021 ) : reality and ecological grief Season 2 (March 2021 ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that “I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, “the state of things as they actually exist”, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way”. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.
season 3 (october 2021 – february 2022 ) : radical listening Season 3 was about radical listening : listening deeply without passing judgment, knowing the truth and filtering out the noise and opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done. The format is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. I start this season with a ‘soundscape composition’, e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2), a bilingual speculative fiction radio play, set in an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’. It concluded with a soundscape composition ‘Winter Diary Revisited’.
season 4 (1 january – 31 december 2023) : sounding modernity
I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I”m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : email@example.com
acknowledgement of eco-responsibility
I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.
a word about privilege and bias.
While recording episode 19 “reality”, I heard elements of “privilege” in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like “ecological mansplaining”. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.