Analysis and Other Sorceries


How did we learn to see the world as inanimate?


I have been investigating this question by exploring the legacy of Charles Darwin and Krišjanis Barons, the collector and classifier of Latvian folksongs. In the 19th century they tried to make sense of the world by collecting & writing down, classifying and analysing.


Thus the spell was cast on our perception of the natural world. We discovered the magic trick of turning living beings into scientific objects - specimens. An oral traditions – like the Latvian folksongs called Dainas – into paper artefacts.


But ironically, the methods used to study the world - analysing, collecting, classifying – brought us the theory of evolution, which put humans back into the animal world. And the cabinet of Dainas also keeps in its drawers an animistic memory marked by deep respect for all living beings.