Metamorphic Earth

to sorcerors

Everything calls for new beginnings. We need a new politics of art that is capable of creating unexpected alliances and contact zones between self and other, human and non-human, the terrestrial and the cosmic. What is necessary is a shift in perspective that allows us to initiate a general process of reanimation. The way we perceive the world conditions, the way we act in and through it.

Art does not come out of nothing. Our creations are collaborations with matter and anonymous flows that move through us and in which we take part. Artworks are conceived and produced in complicity with planetary and universal forces. They associate us to a much larger set of relations than our human-centered ideological persuasions make us believe. Art essentially connects us to a cosmic dimension. The metamorphic qualities of dance, sound and moving images in particular are capable of installing the state of fluidity that is necessary to produce visionary experiences and explore the potential to enact change. The flow of metamorphosis is permanently active in the natural world and runs through all things. From quantum scale events to galactic collisions, the predatory forces of the universe leave no boundary untouched and no thing unharmed. Over time, all singular beings and existences are melted down into the milky ocean of infinity. Everything participates in a universal process of transformation and only temporary individual forms and bodies exist.

The conversion of matter into energy lies at the heart of our endeavour. Our task is to install sorcery as a new form of political art. Sorcery’s revolutionary current draws its strength from the will of the deep. It operates at the source of phenomenal existence, where not-fully-formed, unstable matters circulate and pass into one another. Where active fluids take the place of structure and boundaries between the singular and the universal are transgressed and overthrown. We need to act and think like the earth, “with the earth” as Nietzsche wrote, and plug into the deep pulse of cosmos. The universe is in a state of permanent revolution. We can as well look up to the stars as down into black earth, we see the same forces of destructive regeneration at work and we constantly witness the creation of new worlds. There is no final annihilation but only elemental transformation. What is called for today is a vision of cosmological scope. The solution to overcome the distress of our time lies within the planet itself and our relation toward it. Earth is alive with dynamic freedom and revives itself continually. It is never static and never completed.

Disequilibrium is necessary to the dynamic process of becoming. Biologist Elisabet Sahtouris describes how change operates in the natural world: “In metamorphosis, small cells known as imaginal discs begin to appear in the body of the caterpillar. Since they are not recognized by the caterpillar’s immune system, they are immediately wiped out. But as they grow in number and begin to link up, they ultimately overwhelm the caterpillar’s immune system. Its body then goes into meltdown and the imaginal discs build the butterfly from the spent materials of the caterpillar.” It would serve us well to study transformative processes in nature and examine critical thresholds and abrupt changes in nonlinear dynamic systems. Theories of chaos and complexity equally inform us that change is brought about by a growing number of anomalies that eventually add up to throw even the most resilient system into crisis. Small alterations and variations of intensity and stress can have big effects. There are forms of resonance and feedback that hugely amplify the effect of the initial impulse. The micro-politics of sorcery interact with one another and cascade in complex ways that allow them to perform the incredible.

Sorcery has always been present at times of profound ecological and civilisational change. Its tension arises from the ground of uncertainty that underlies both creation and destruction. Sorcery is the unstoppable force of renewal as such, the rule of nature put into effect. The revolutionary movement of sorcery affects and unsettles all that is thought to be pure or safely ordered and structured. Sorcerous phenomena thrive in uncertain forms and chthonic outflows of being. They materialize in volcanic gases and dust that rise from the depths of the earth, in bacteria released from melting glaciers or in strange crystals like viruses that exist somewhere between the living and the non-living. Sorcery actualizes in the lines of flux of the earth’s magnetic field or in extreme natural phenomena that affect the world and possibly shift its balances of power: from severe weather and climate events to the storms that stir up the waters of the sea. Systems contaminate each other and provoke new creative displacements and arrangements. Our ability to respond to fundamental changes of the physical and chemical conditions on Earth will define our future.

Evolution depends on impermanence and the manifold relationships between being and world. Nothing is on its own, everything’s intermixed and all that has been out there at some moment in time is still somehow around. Things do not vanish into nothing, they pull out into the unexposed or reshape into new substances. We share a complex and largely invisible universe with a multitude of other composite creatures and phenomena. Our existence is symbiotically linked to foreign and immigrant life forms that spread throughout time and space. There is no such thing as human race per se, we are made of all kinds of parts. We do not know what the future holds and what role we will play in it. Our chances of adaptation and survival in an uncertain world will have much to do with how we position ourselves toward it. It’s all about interaction, crossover and the space between. Sorcerous art reaches out into the intermediate domain that ties the human sphere to a larger creative process.

Sorcery is the formless power that insinuates itself between things and binds them together. It is the relational factor that connects us to everything else. All matter, human and nonhuman alike, is basically formed of the same atomic material that in turn is essentially made up of stardust. As John Gribbin writes in “Stardust – the cosmic recycling of stars, planets and people”: “Every atom of every element in your body except for hydrogen has been manufactured inside stars, scattered across the Universe in great stellar explosions, and recycled to become part of you.” There’s more, there always is: “You can be absolutely sure that all of the nitrogen in the air that you breathe and in the DNA in your cells, along with most of the carbon in your body, had a previous existence as part of one or more planetary nebulae, expelled from red giant stars.” We should make use of such integral connections and intentionally associate ourselves to the forces that permeate the universe. What is at disposal for a contemporary, sorcerous perspective on change and evolution is the measureless expanse of the universe and our profound connection to it. If we tap into and work with the flow of energies and materials that moves between all stuff, we become boundless.

The agitating forces of matter and the movement of metamorphosis ultimately point toward a dark communion with the infinite that lurks beneath all things. At the planetary level, boundaries and separations dissolve and singular beings withdraw into the depth of atoms, an internal black hole that makes no use of cosmic distances. Individual consciousness exiles itself into the universal fluid of elemental forces. The core of our very existence is indistinguishable from the pulsations and vibrations of all other things in the universe. Sooner or later, all configurations of matter are torn back into an undeveloped state where they subsist in a non-apparent manner, like latent images eventually to be re-formed into new patterns of being. Things dissolve so that other things may emerge. There is an affecting presence of power in all materiality and the deeper we go into it, the more we discover that all is dynamically linked. The world is made of energy transformation. We do not know what animates the subatomic micro-world. Nor what it feels like to be a molecular cloud or magnetized plasma that permeates the universe or if we can attribute inner experience to elementary particles but we take seriously the radical transformative potential of sorcery. We should not exclude the possibility of creatively encountering the unknown.

Gast Bouschet 016.