New Book Release: By the Hand

by Eliot Cardinaux

By the Hand.jpgCover artwork by Zoe Christiansen

I would like to take a moment to describe the difficulty of conveying what I see around me. As an artist, I am tasked with the responsibility, not only show what I have found, but to do it clearly. During confusing times such as these, the task becomes greater, and in some ways, even more important to get right.

Take an image, more like a construct, or a set of objects, in this case: a pinhole, a landscape, a hand, and a set of strings.

The idea is that there is a story going on there, and I’ve had to figure out what it was before the words or elements can even come together in my mind.

As, in the case of poetry, I am not primarily a visual artist, perhaps this comes in the form of an offering: “[to] someone with hands” — i.e. to anyone with agency, an artist, with intention to create.

The most crystalized thought I’ve had recently was about environmental agency; not viewing the land as a thing to be owned, but as a resource, a companion, and an open channel — of communication with the soul, among many other things.

I discovered, that in order to use that resource, I had to be acquainted with it, which got me thinking about the nature of consumer society in a new way, that we are actively, and even intentionally (some might say it’s obvious) disconnected from the land, in order for things to remain the same, for profits to be amassed, etc. — i.e. “while you have no land.”

A warning, perhaps, that ownership of the land has its consequences, that even those of us who believe we are headed for steadier times, are in danger of becoming complacent, and in some cases, eventually exploitative ourselves.

*Or, more importantly, have we already become, or rather, do we remain complacent, and, of course, implicit in those doings that might perpetuate, and more rightly, perpetrate, these crimes against the people and the land itself?

So the idea comes across as an invitation, and an offering, in a way that expounds on conventional, and unconventional wisdoms, to attack a subject with profound wounds in our present day and age.

I’d like to take you by the hand into this complex world of layered meaning that has meant so much to me to create for myself, and at the same time, invite you to feel what is taken, and what has been lifted from before your very eyes, without your even realizing.

I know for me this process is an unfolding realization in and of itself that comes with much rage, as well as laughter and catharsis. I lead you into it, with no further intention than to let you experience it on your very own terms.

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Selections from By the Hand