Letter to Anselm

...woke up thinking

...where you might see a white male fantasy, *that gives you a headache, I see techniques… techniques of consciousness. That consideration itself makes me an outsider to an exclusively intellectual conversation, where I necessarily fall into traps (essentialism, redemption). Animism is not just an interesting subject, it can be the channel by which real healing takes place, it can be the place of the miraculous. What does the miraculous entail? A big question: not a question of 'did it happen or not? but another question, 'can I access in the state of consciousness where it happens, where that other reality takes place?' Where other physics are at play?. I talk of Techniques of the body, where other dimensions of that word “body" appear. Poetry... yes, definitely, healing by words, healing by images, but poetry that acts on the real, changes the shape of the real, renders it malleable, rewrites the code that produced a tumor. Man is perhaps not a maker of symbols, but a symbolic being, who heals through symbols.

The people I have dealt with among others, Western doctors who have channeled this kind of knowledge into their practice, are not in an "either or” position regarding that tumor, they move to and fro between different medicines. Western medicine is what my friend Isaias, a shaman from Putumayo, sought when he had been shot in the foot. So he is aware that his life was saved with this medicine, but then he became the teacher to his saviors, he taught them another path to healing, where the principle are other. Isaias is one of those bridges, sites where a tradition opens, he has taught a few people who I know. In that other path healing transits through intention; intention that is channeled through elements, smoke, chanting, movement. It is the realm where everything is truly possible.

Animism is your word, you made a public display of it... therefore, in pro of communication last night, I bring it in. Les Maitres is a film I know you worked with, so I bring it in for the same reason. But one fall into traps from laying out those bridges.

A bigger trap though is to speak of my own experience. But it becomes necessary to say it. For the past 7 years of being deeply involved in realms that I can only speak of in refracted words. Involved in a world that we love to call "non western", which is a damned characterization, that saves us; places us in an unquestioned white zone, a fantasy. Well since 2008 I can speak of being in that zone… it is "of color". I am inside, animated, included, not in a fantasy about it, not as an anthropologist or a camera bearing artist. I speak of a zone where metaphors are alive, in front of you.

I suggest that the technosphere too can be a healing image. It can be turned into an entity that one can animate and handle, in the same way that the taita Isaias animates and handles cancer to prevent it from manifesting in his tribe. I don’t say this as just an interesting speculation, it follows from things I have witnessed and experienced in a human scale. So iit is an extrapolation, one that comes from thinking holographically (scale is an illusion in the hologram). That is what a shamanic ceremony is, it is a mobilization, and it is always in relationship with origin, with the elemental. Mythology is a relationship with origin. The term technosphere can be one of the spirits in a mythological zone, an archetype, an egregore, you can address it and trick it, as the hero tricks a god in a mythological tale. A god is also an element, a companion, venus is copper, venus is planet, venus is woman, it is totemic, a fractal totem.

There is also a god of corn in a society that lives with that companion. One has to deal through animism with one’;s companions.

The "technology" of the plant, yagé or ayahuasca is exactly about this: YOU paint for yourself, (or IT paints for you, however you want to see it, or the Universe paints... anyway it is called “la pinta” the painting, it happens in front of your eyes, it takes space in the room, virtual and real are not distinct here). The process involves vomiting, this is why the whole thing is a technique of the body, the physical and the psychic are bound, as you vomit, there are two parallel events, physiological and symbolic, a braid of the two things. The image that you need to deal with appears, and then you really need to deal with it, the metaphor is present in the room, it incarnates, it is a truth that incarnates in a singular way. A Universal singularity, to use the terms of Badiou. You will confront it as you would confront the door to your room, it is a real encounter.

Rouch, who you dismissed too easily yesterday, perhaps understood some of this, which is what made him loose some of his western density. When he describes his camera as the catalyst for a possession ritual, in Les Tambours d’antan, he is truly inside, and the camera has crossed with him to a world where the discussion is not only about colonialism, and social conditions, or gender issues or whatever else of that realm. It is another conversation, of different proportions.