“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fish Sounds, Coral and You

Fish make all kinds of sound, and we don't know about that as a rule. Jana Winderen was one of the speakers at Dark Ecology up in Russia. She talked about how her work led to greater care for coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Interesting. We've all seen gorgeous photos of coral. But hearing the fish and so on making sounds actually clinched it when it came to caring for the lifeforms there.

I wonder why. One could perhaps say unwarranted things about sound being immediate and visual things not being, and all the usual cliches. Or perhaps there is a more vivid link for us right now between listening and caring.

Or simply that the voices of fish prevent us from seeing them simply as objects of a sadistic gaze (gaze not being the same as visuality nota bene).

The fact that they call to one another, without us, despite us. I remember the impact of Songs of the Humpback Whale in the 1970s.

That by hearing via underwater microphones rather than seeing, we realize that the biosphere is lit up whether or not we open the refrigerator door.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sound is a subject very close to my mind. When I was about 10 I borrowed (stole, really) a bunch of records from my Grandmother that were recordings of bird calls. I sat & listened to them, & realized that I now knew something other kids didn't know. I became a very advanced amateur ornithologist, & by the time I was 13 knew the call of every bird in the eastern US. But the real significance of that signpost is something I've only recognized in about the last month or so: ever since then, I have always been looking OUT instead of IN. In any group of people standing or sitting or even working outside, I'm usually the only one looking or listening out from where we are. I'm the first one who hears the owl, sees the badger, notices the leaves move, etc. I always knew about birds (or thought I knew all I cared to know), but when I started listening to them is when everything changed. Things changed again when I really started learning guitar and could FEEL through my fingers what I was hearing. Suddenly I could conceptualize better. But the bird song thing was the real kicker. I hardly ever meet anyone who EVER looks or listens OUT from the "human" space we're all sort of clustered around in and supposed to be paying attention to. I really don't often see what people find so interesting in here, actually.