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13 ways of Seeing Nature In LA

October 9, 2009

Brent Olson

on 18 October 2012

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Transcript of 13 ways of Seeing Nature In LA

XII XIII 13 ways of Seeing Nature In LA as the foundation of LA stories I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI as nonexistent as the wild things as the resources we use as different to different people as landscape and ecology we build and manage as a premier source of human meaning as nearly infinitely abundant as exceptionally iconic as a casualty of a broader refusal to see connections as especially dangerous to lose track of as a terrific boon to Boulder and Missoula as a focus of great good work as nonexistant
as wild things
as the resources we use
as different to different people
as landscapes and ecology that we build and manage
as a source of human meaning
as nearly infinitly abundant
as incredibly iconic
as a casualty of a broader refusal to see connections
as dangerous to lose track of
as a great boon to Boulder and Missoula
as a source of great good work "The history of LA storytelling, if more complicated, boils down to a trilogy: Nature blesses LA, Nature flees LA, And Nature returns armed." When kayaks are outlawed, only outlaws will have kayaks? "Seen from space, the city that once hallucinated itself as an endless future without natural limits or social constraints now dazzles observers with the eerie beauty of an erupting volcano." Davis 422 Fromentin, Au Pays de la Soif Guillaumet, Le Sahara Poor quality maps of areas
Trees distributed unequally across the different plots
Different species Scientific forestry worked well for first round of trees
Problems showed up after 100 years
Waldsterben Much land communally-held
Land may be redistributed periodically
Whoever planted a tree can harvest its fruit, no matter where it is planted
In the case of famine, women who married into the village but haven’t given birth to children may not be fed and should return to their native villages
But in another village 10 miles away things may be entirely different Seeing Like A State Legibility Abstraction What do you see here? Here? What does the state see? Revenue: i.e. how to transform natural resources into commodities Useful plants = crops
Other plants = weeds
Useful trees = timber
Other trees = trash trees
Useful Animals = livestock or game
Other animals = varmints or predators
Insects = pests What's the difference? Scientific Forestry What problem does this solve? Simplification Dismembering an exceptionally complex and poorly understood set of relations and processes in order to isolate a single element of instrumental value problem? solution? Legibility is a system of manipulation. Any substantial state intervention in society --to vaccinate a population, conduct literacy campaigns, conscript soldiers, enforce sanitation standards, catch criminals, start universal schooling--requires the invention of units that are visible. The units in question might be citizens, villages, trees, fields, houses or people grouped according to age, depending on the type of intervention. "Not only did the regularity of the grid create legibility for a taxing authority, but it was a convenient and cheap way to market land in homogeneous units. The grid facilitated the commoditization of land as much as the calculation of taxes and boundaries." In the state of fiscal forestry [scientific forestry] the actual tree with its number of possible uses is replaced by an abstract tree representing a volume of lumber or firewood. If the princely conception of the forest was still utilitarian, it was a utilitarianism confined to the needs of the state.
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