Monday, November 19, 2012

Fish Story update; one month after launch and more fish stories

Memphis airport website

After six months of planning, thinking and talking, it's exciting to announce that I have settled on a date to visit Memphis for the first time, to begin to move Fish Story forward. The dates have been pencilled in- December 12-14- and the first letters have been going out to specific people and institutions in the area. Susan Steinman and I talked earlier today to follow up some of our thinking. Gene Turner shared some ideas about engaging young people. I spoke at length with Tom McGlynn about what to schedule in that first window and with Eleanor Whitney, at NYFA about how to move forward with fund raising. Tom is writing the first letters of introduction for me to folks there. I'm beginning to break out a budget.

On my FB page, I wrote:

I have begun contacting people in Memphis for Fish Story. It feels big, scary, important & exciting. I got the intro down to an elevator pitch: "It is an ecological art project for Memphis Social, May 2013. Fish Story (see launch post on my
 blog @: is about how the impacts of climate change are reflected in the fate of fish in the Mississippi River."

And, I might add, how our attitudes about that reflect a lot more about our values and understanding. Now, going forward, I must state the caveat, that altho I feel anguish over animal suffering, in the interests of ruthless transparency, I do eat animals, including fish, so as long as that's true, I have no right to judge anyone else. I had salmon from Zabar's for lunch. That said, I would hope we consider fish seriously for two reasons.

1. Their fates reflect our careless disregard for the health of our own ecosystem- our home.
2.  They experience pain in death, as all animals we consume and out of respect for life, it seems to me we have an obligation to become mindful and responsible about those deaths.

Meanwhile, for a while, I wondered if anyone noticed the dead fish after Sandy.
There are dead carp in New Jersey now, fish that were washed into the wetlands with Sandy and when the waters receded, died. One biologist wasn't unhappy about that. He said they are invasive. But I can't help but think about evidence of sensitivity to pain and sentience in fish.
There are also dead fisheries:
But this isn't the first time.
In 2010, it happened in Cape May
and ominously, the seagulls wouldn't touch the dead Menhadin:
It also happened in 2007:

The vegetarian aspect of our attitudes to animals as objects of consumption is horrifically engaged by Paul McCartney, sent by:

 Cristina Sedna Varuna, Seville, Spain

And more whimsically by Carissa Welton who wrote:

"I started swimming before I started walking. So it was only natural that I fantasized about being a mermaid as a child. I would always refuse to eat fish when it was served for dinner; I couldn't stomach eating my own kind."

In contrast, Susan Shulman shared her artwork about fish, In her statement, she writes, "My magic symbols of fish are a continuous theme running through my works, their scales have become my symbolic vocabulary, my musical notes, tones of fluid and soft movement, a visual syncopation between colour and imagery."

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