Jeffrey Z Rothstein is a free lance writer and artist, whose work has appeared most recently in Fallen City Writers Anthology, Red Fez, Mud Season Review, Kitchen Sink and The Newer York Press. He has also appeared in numerous shows and live readings. JZRothstein presently lives just outside of Madison Wisconsin, a town which is extremely tolerant towards artists and their eccentric work habits. Visit PhlegmTurtlePalace
|© JEFFREY Z ROTHSTEIN|
Agriculture used to be the culmination of a sometimes contentious and abusive relationship with a piece of land, which was coaxed, mildly tortured, and persuaded through subterfuge, to produce food. Over time the soil took on personal qualities—dirt became sanctified ground, and the circulatory center of communities. This preceded written ledgers, property taxes, cities and poetry; unintended consequences of an ancient gestalt shift. Now that the world has come full circle, crops are experimental again, being spliced with exotic genes, re-conditioned and supercharged, until they have no memory of their modest ancestries. Corn has colonized everything, and finds its way into the most unlikely supermarket packages; it is modular, aggressive and takes root in tremendous Midwestern fields—cities of anonymous cereal high-rises. Like Whitman’s quintillions of ripening green, or the zombies in a Romero film, corn is ubiquitous.
|© JEFFREY Z ROTHSTEIN|
We tend to think of ourselves as autonomous entities who are separate from nature. Out of this attitude comes the inevitable justification for zoos, scientific research on other species and talking animals in cartoons, literature and films. It isn’t so much a question of whether these things serve a purpose, as the extent to which they lead to interesting anthropomorphisms and hypostatized categories of being. Thus, it is not too distant a conceptual hurdle to envision an alternate world—a kingdom, if you will—of strange hybrid phylum: Reagan headed-parakeets; runaway mass production of nematodes; crustacean festooned reefs formed from the half articulated letters of an ancient Semitic alphabet. All of it surrounded by familiar and idealized images of animals, imbued with the power of speech. It is a postcard from some distant, impossibly absurd place—an intriguing visual mantra to help anesthetize ourselves to the effects of our own ideology.
~Jeffrey Z Rothstein