Desperate Prayers: A Quest For Sense In A Senseless Time

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9781425102241: Desperate Prayers: A Quest For Sense In A Senseless Time

From the beluga whale birthing grounds of the Arctic Circle to the Kansas Tallgrass Prairie, environmental artist Daniel Dancer spins enchanting true-life adventure tales as he creates healing art from found materials in ten endangered ecosystems.

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About the Author:

Daniel Dancer's work as an environmental artist and educator has been shaped by his travels worldwide in search of styles of being that engender happiness and sustainability. After getting his MA degree in psychology at the University of Kansas, he left the academic world to raise llamas and pursue a career as an environmental photographer. His striking images of beauty and destruction have been published in hundreds of publications worldwide. It is precisely this interface between wild nature and devastation that most greatly informs his work. On the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, Dancer founded a model environmental community called Rowena Wilds where he lives in an earth-sheltered home made from recycled materials. He is available for slideshows, lectures and workshops. For more information about his work and projects visit, www.inconcertwithnature.com. You may contact him personally at POB 693, Mosier, Oregon. 97040. email: daniel@inconcertwithnature.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Being a complete original is usually a plus for an artist although, ironically, it can also marginalize his or her work within a culture that thrives on categories and experts. What is it that Daniel Dancer does, precisely? He's an artist, of course; a guy who prefers natural and manmade found materials, whose "pieces" are often ephemeral, lingering only as photographic documents of long-gone artworks.

On an expedition to the Canadian Arctic, I once watched Dancer spend hours and hours constructing a compass out of feathers, cotton grass, and sticks. A good puff of wind destroyed it a few hours after he was done. But he'd taken his photos and said his prayers. This description makes it sound as if Dancer might be pegged alongside other so-called "Earth artists" like Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Smithson, or Stan Herd. Unlike these others, he does not easily fit the mainstream art tradition that employs aesthetics as an end to itself.

During that same Arctic expedition, I remember Dancer spending days constructing a mobile out of two beluga whale skeletons burgeoning from a common midpoint. He hung the bones from a goalpost shaped rack used by the local Inuit to dry beluga meat. When the wind came up, the skeletons would sway, always eerily, and occasionally like two whales working earnestly to swim off that drying rack and back into the Beaufort Sea. Inuit beluga hunters drove their boats past the persuasive mobile and interpreted it, not as art--never as art--but as black magic, a true communication to the whales warning them to evade the hunters. Was it just coincidence that all the local belugas had just departed the river estuary, two weeks early? A few days after we left the site, traveling west along the coast, we were threatened by hunters carrying guns. When we escaped into the teeth of a gale, Dancer said something I'll never forget. "I've had my art shown in many galleries, but no one's ever taken it as seriously as these hunters. Makes you think."

Daniel Dancer's earth art springs from the same polemic mold of realigning perceptions and invoking metaphors that alter our general relationship to nature. He digs deep into the sculptural grammar of material, shape, mass, symbolism, and kinetics to meet the ecosystem halfway. He shows us how a human artist and an ecosystem can learn to collaborate, to make art together. The symbolism of this mutable bond is at least as powerful as the art produced. Earth art flirts with environmental activism, myth, politics, geology, shamanism, and erosion as much as it flirts with sculpture.

Imagine building a medicine wheel out of garbage on a Mexican beach, then bagging up the contents and being so brash as to carry it through Customs. Dancer did that, and described it as a metaphor promoting ecological sanity in this insane time. Hearing that, it would be easy to depict him as an environmental activist with an original shtick for getting the world's attention at a time when we're too often inundated by bad news. But that would also be incorrect. The activist's tone simply doesn't fit the man. Dancer's work is symbolic, never blatant, rarely explicit, and always transcends politics. We're stuck categorizing Dancer as someone who makes art/socio-political statements in defense of the Earth (try using that on a grant application).

People whose job descriptions fall through the cracks are the ones we should be listening to most mindfully. That's the Daniel Dancer I know. A man of indefinable grit. Enjoy his book. Let it inspire you to spend hours constructing a little something out of feathers that's going to get blown away by the first gust. Or, go build hexes to protect the whales. Take garbage through Customs. Perceive the world as sacred.

Jim Nollman,
Friday Harbor, WA, April 2000

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Book Description Trafford Publishing, Canada, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. As his stories unfold, Daniel Dancer reflects on spirituality, indigenous knowledge, quantum physics, psychology, and ecological principles. Humor, synchronicity, delight, and heartfelt struggle are all present in these tales. The result is a breath of wholeness, a gift for our apocalyptic times and for a culture that has forgotten its connection to nature. The sacred, magical role that art has held in everyday life since the dawn of humanity is often lost in modern society. Dancer s timely work is a quest to revive this form of art, weaving the shards of our failing culture and fragmented ecosystems into a celebration of possibility. Entertaining, full of surprise at every turn, and beautifully illustrated, Desperate Prayers helps map the way home to our authentic selves. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781425102241

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Book Description Trafford Publishing, Canada, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.As his stories unfold, Daniel Dancer reflects on spirituality, indigenous knowledge, quantum physics, psychology, and ecological principles. Humor, synchronicity, delight, and heartfelt struggle are all present in these tales. The result is a breath of wholeness, a gift for our apocalyptic times and for a culture that has forgotten its connection to nature. The sacred, magical role that art has held in everyday life since the dawn of humanity is often lost in modern society. Dancer s timely work is a quest to revive this form of art, weaving the shards of our failing culture and fragmented ecosystems into a celebration of possibility. Entertaining, full of surprise at every turn, and beautifully illustrated, Desperate Prayers helps map the way home to our authentic selves. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9781425102241

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Book Description Trafford Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 270 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.0in. x 0.7in.From the beluga whale birthing grounds of the Arctic Circle to the Kansas Tallgrass Prairie, environmental artist Daniel Dancer spins enchanting true-life adventure tales as he creates healing art from found materials in ten endangered ecosystems. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781425102241

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