THE FIRE MANIFEST
FALLEN EMPIRE/FIRES OF DESIRE
Ashley Lee Wong.
As the fire continues to cling on the roofs of a fallen empire, the charred black smoke lingers. Desperate bodies wander to find scraps to savour and remnants to rescue. Their aged bones are physically unable to rebuild to the mythical glory they once did 40 years ago. The Kingdom has crumbled. It has been ten years since the impending hit - 9/11- the event that created the first crack in the monumental symbol of wealth, power and security, and where we see for the first time, fear and doubt seeping into the human imagination. It was an American dream, a fallen dream, that once became everyone's dream that we are seeing beginning to shatter. But what is left?
In the dust and ashes of the decade to follow we see sudden shifts in values and visions. We see the election of the first president of colour, a sudden awareness of global warming, a scaling back of industries, the rise of the global south, and in 2008, a major global economic meltdown. A decade following the first meteorite in the shape of an aeroplane to penetrate psyche of a masses, what can we now fathom of the world? Can we accept that dust is dust and now we must build anew?
The fires of the forest continue to burn as nature claims its rightful power over humanity. The remaining debris of many human civilisations that came before lie buried in the Earth. Nature prevails over man once again.
What we see beginning to emerge from the ashes is a new consciousness and awareness of each other in the world and in nature. We see a new generation burning with energy. A generation left to undo, remake and re-imagine a new world that was destroyed by mislead visions progress of a previous generation. We see an ecological turning and a movement towards traditional forms of pedagogy, craftsmanship and knowledge sharing that was lost in industrialisation. But what now continues to burn is the fires that bring us together.
Around the fire we gather, to keep warm, to provide mutual support for survival. We talk, we share stories, we dream of the past. A new system is emerging one that connects us by ethernet that creates a model of the human mind and where we search for a collective vision. But there are forces trying to control it. A gripping past of former daemons that haunts us.
We believe, we worship the spirit that brings us together, and celebrate the fires that burn within us.
Fires of Desire
Fire is heat, and burning. Fires spread. It lies dormant in hotspots within the Earth, waiting to re-emerge again - connected by a network of embers. When a flame is killed, it can still grow strong again in another time and in another space. Fire moves silently - warming, cooling, sparking and burning. It is a fire of desire that lies within all our hearts. It is a desire that moves between us and that links us. There are no words for this desire that grows and burns. It is a desire that emerges and burns when fuelled and brought together collectively.
In a seeming apocalyptic time of immense change in a collapsed economy for culture as conservative governments around the world cut opportunities for artists, how do we maintain hope? How do we find space for the desire beyond economic concerns and to find new sustainable models of subsistence? Within a globalised community around the world, there is still a desire to create, and that fire will never die despite any economy or government support. How can we now begin to rebuild from the ashes a new world, a new vision of culture? How will it manifest in flames? How can we begin to spark imagination of new possibilities and utopias and to question the structures that have crumbled?
Flames spread, they grow and flare up.
We are a collective of artists from a generation lost of opportunities, lost in a time of great uncertainty, altering weather patterns, economic structural upheaval, social reorganisation through digital innovations and change. Fires of desire is a sparking and ignition of an exploration of new platforms and ideas of collective working to find and create our own visions and possibilities in a world of dwindling finances and hopes for the future.