Kolyma Burning Bright by David Bartlett. All Rights Reserved.
Animals are so near. We hear their cries. We see their purposeful movement. We compassionately recognize familiar defining behaviors of our own. We are stopped by their gaze and thrill to their response. They touch us and we, it seems, them with an immediacy only rarely encountered with other humans. And yet, without language, they remain so far. Reason's limiting inability to positively represent its own absence, despite voluminous knowledge produced by meticulous inquiry, finds them infinitely remote, incommensurable, other. In no other domain of experience do we feel so keenly the possibility of understanding everything and knowing nothing.
Art spans the gulf at the foot of reason. Insightfully formed representations, still and silent, can register the nature of things animate and sonant. Art can validate and celebrate the unsettling wonder, awe, fear, and love that we feel in the presence of creatures, beings both akin and unlike us.