* Any of the plantigrade,carnivorous or omnivorous mammals of the family Ursidae, having massive bodies, coarse heavy fur, relatively short limbs, and almost rudimentary tails.
Some time ago, while living in France, I began to perceive that the bear as it exists in the wild, and on the periphery of our material culture, serves as a kind of indicator, a barometer of the vast and apparently unstoppable ethical and ecological depreciation that scars our age. Stories celebrating the first bear killed at the start of the New Jersey bear season falling to the careful aim of an 11 year old girl and a newspaper article marking the demise of a last free solitary bear of the Pyrenees killed by alleged human error, appeared to me as mournful tattered pennants of quotidian folly pinned to the sentient hide of our beautiful earth. Another bear down and deeper in debt . . . .
Recently I have spent a few hours here in San Francisco hunting for bear in the make-believe forest hovering above my desk. Here they all are then - the virtual trophy and talisman bears - mysterious, sad, fierce, powerful, angry, forlorn, defiant, bold, hungry, curious, vital, inspiring and utterly unknowable beasts living on and persisting in the face of ever mounting odds.
The most surprising part of my search for bear images was the striking proliferation of hundreds of high resolution color digital images of ordinary rifle and bow bearing folks of every age and gender up and down the shrinking woodlands of North America with their forever dead trophy bears spilling out in the portrait foreground beneath their gaze. Each smiling or po-faced hunter was twinned with a very dead bear immortalized as mute mounds of bear corpse - unsmiling burly waves of flesh, bone and fur whose spirits have drifted like soul smoke up, out and beyond the invisible boundaries of the image along with our senses. Daniel Reeves
- Although they are by nature shy animals who avoid humans whenever possible, approximately 33,000 black bears are killed in the United States each year.
New York (Office and Attack)
Federico Garcia Lorca
Beneath all the statistics
there is a drop of duck’s blood.
Beneath all the columns
there is a drop of sailor’s blood.
Beneath all the totals, a river of warm blood;
a river that goes singing,
past the bedrooms of the suburbs,
and the river is silver, cement, or wind
in the lying daybreak of New York.
The mountains exist, I know that.
And the lenses ground for wisdom,
I know that. But I have not come to see the sky,
the blood that sweeps the machines to the waterfalls,
and the spirit on the cobra’s tongue.
Every day they kill in New York
ducks, four million,
pigs, five million,
pigeons, two thousand, for the enjoyment of dying men,
cows, one million,
lambs, one million,
roosters, two million,
who turn the sky to small splinters.
You may as well sob filing a razor blade
or assassinate dogs in the hallucinated foxhunts,
as try to stop in the dawn light
the endless trains carrying milk,
the endless trains carrying blood,
and the trains carrying roses in chains
for those in the field of perfume.
The ducks and the pigeons
and the hogs and the lambs
lay their drops of blood down
underneath all the statistics;
and the terrible bawling of the packed-in cattle
fills the valley with suffering
where the Hudson is getting drunk on its oil.