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    Copyright © 2014 unruly

    The river

    I make playlists on my iPod and they’re often very theme-y because I am nothing if not a theme-y woman — I like to group and organise. I like to find patterns, or, in their absence, make them. Maybe that’s the curatorial urge. Or the librarian’s urge. Anyway, I have a playlist on my iPod called “river” and I listen to the songs on that playlist a lot, especially when I am despairing because those songs are very cathartic to hear and especially when I am all joyed-up because those songs are very cathartic to hear.

    It’s a crazy powerful image, for me, the river. The thing about the river is that it can sweep you along on a beautiful ride or it can pick up you up and throw you down, break you against the rocks or hold your head underwater so that drawing breath is no longer an option. I don’t know how to explain how profoundly moved by and attracted to that kind of duality I am. Maybe it’s a function of my double-fish Piscean nature, but wherever that delight in dichotomy springs from, I do know a few things about the river. I know that sometimes you have to tense your muscles and make them strong and hard so you can paddle against, against the river, pull hard, hard, fight the current, deny it, so as to not to be towed under, but then sometimes you have to exhale and give yourself over to it, let it hold you and top you and show you the way. I’m moved by the river, the metaphor of it, because I have such shivery loves for the notion of fuckyou and also for the notion of acquiescence. And altho’ “fight” and “surrender” seem entirely opposite, they aren’t, in the end, in this instance, because the end, in this instance, is this: freedom. To fight the current’s violence and to win is to force a place of freedom for yourself but, equally, to give yourself over to it  is to be taken to freedom. And who doesn’t long for freedom, whether made or found, whether fought for or given?

    Bill Callahan, who I am madly mad for, says this about the river in “The River Guard”: “We are constantly on trial / and it’s a way to be free.” He’s right, too, that beautiful Bill.

    The river. It can set you free.

    The Black Cab Sessions, Chapter Eight: Bill Callahan


    Estuary-Moods and Mode (detail), 2007, Nancy Cohen, via artknowledgenews
    S.F. San Joaquin River, John Muir Wilderness via Buck Forester's photostream
    S.F. San Joaquin River, John Muir Wilderness, via Buck Forester's photostream on flickr
    Drowning Girl Roy Lichtenstein, 1963, via moma.org
    Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963, via MOMA
    Toshio Fukai illustratio, via sandiv999's photostream
    Toshio Fukai illustration, via sandiv999's photostream on flickr
    From The Story of Houses, via try-whistling-this ' photostream
    The Story Book of Houses, Maud & Miska Petersham, 1933 (1947 edition)- Chinese Junk, via try-whistling-this ' photostream on flickr
    Daniel Jenks- Humboldt River Valley, drawing, 1859, via trialsanderrors' photostream
    Humboldt River Valley, drawing by Daniel Jenks, 1859, via trialsanderrors' photostream on flickr
    Odilon Redon, Ophelia, 1910, collection of A.D. Lasker, via thinkingwithshakespear.org
    Ophelia by Odilon Redon, 1910
    Collection of A.D. Lasker
    Via Thinking with Shakespeare
    300k views)'s photostream
    "At the Railway Station" - plate No. 3, signed: Franz v. Morenhoffen. Probably from an old German language textbook (1937), via goenetix (w/ 300k views)'s photostream
    Bodhy, in the river Viskan in Sweden 2, via marcoswed's photostream
    A new work of art, Bodhy, in the river Viskan in Sweden, via marcoswed's photostream on flickr
    Alice and Martin Provensen's World--A River Runs Through It, via ZenCrafter's photostream
    Alice and Martin Provensen's World--A River Runs Through It, via ZenCrafter's photostream on flickr
    Mississippi River Mouth, via Calsidyrose's photostream
    Mississippi River Mouth, via Calsidyrose's photostream
    River- The Whirlpool of Time by Lenka Novakova, via fofagallery.concordia
    River: The Whirlpools of Time by Lenka Novakova, 2009, via FOFA Gallery
    From the Perspectives on Salinity- River fro Within, by Nancy Cohen, 2009
    Perspectives on Salinity: River from Within, detail, by Nancy Cohen, 2009
    Installation view, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY
    tintin_river_wild
    L'oreille cassée by Hergé, 1937, from the series Les aventures de Tintin
    Pin River, Yangtze, 2008, by Maya Lin, via mayalin
    Pin River, Yangtze by Maya Lin, 2008, via Maya Lin Studio
    Black River by El Anatsui, via indianartscene
    Black River by El Anatsui, via Indian Art
    Pin River detail, mayalin
    Pin River, Yangtze (detail), by Maya Lin, 2008, via Maya Lin Studio
    not waving, but drowning, via kqaustx's photostream
    not waving, but drowning, via kqaustx's photostream on flickr
    Bodies of Water by Maya Lin, 2009, mayalin
    From the Bodies of Water series by Maya Lin, 2009, via Maya Lin Studio
    flickrtwined sans pink via ElbtheProf's photostream
    Flickrtwined sans pink ..., via ElbtheProf's photostream on flickr
    Carla Goldberg, “It’s All About the River,” 2009, via blog.art21
    It's All About the River by Carla Goldberg, 2009, via art:21
    Takase River Art, via JapanVisitor's photostream
    Bodhy, in the river Viskan in Sweden, via marcoswed's photostream
    A new work of art, Bodhy, in the river Viskan in Sweden, via marcoswed's photostream on flickr
    katy thing
    I could put my body out there like architecture
    the babies came out of my body
    the milk came out of my breasts
    the words come out of my fingers
    riverine sometimes
    — Katy McDevitt
    Batik Art in My Wild River, via Denis Collette...!!!'s photostream
    Batik Art in My Wild River, via Denis Collette...!!!'s photostream on flickr
    Simcoe Wave Deck by Jacob Mitchell, via commons.wikimedia.org
    Simcoe wave deck nearing completion by Jacob Mitchell, via Wikimedia Commons
    Perspectives on Salinity 2, Nancy Cohen
    Perspectives on Salinity: River from Within by Nancy Cohen, 2009
    Installation view, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY
    Milkywaysevensistersdreaming by Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, 1998
    Milky Way Seven Sisters Dreaming by Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, 1998, via Australian Art Review
    River by David Elllis, www.davidellis.org
    River by David Ellis, 2004
    2 Comments

    we were just watching some stupid show last night, about some, you know, UBER XXXTREME FISH, hosted by an uber xxxtreme douchebag. but the point is, they were fishing in the congo river, at a spot where it narrows to about a mile across, and fu-uu-uck, you wanna talk about a wild-ass river. it was awesome, and even made putting up with sir douchealot worth it.

    rache added these words on Mar 29 10 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks for the Bill Callahan clip. I never heard of him — but then I don’t hear lots of things as I course down the river.

    stephen ashton added these words on Mar 29 10 at 9:31 pm



    Digg!