Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Anadromous Life

Byrne Power, The Anadromist - a still from his video for Gravity From Above


It's a good word. I had never heard it before. If you live in Alaska you might have heard it - because it refers to a certain type of fish, or rather a certain type of fish behavior - exemplified by the salmon who swim upriver every year for their spawning run, only to die in droves, but  leave countless fry - small newborn salmon who then make it downriver to live their lives until it's their turn to fight their way up the rapids and waterfalls.


Say it - it rolls off the tongue really well. The emphasis is on the second syllable, sounds a bit like ca-DA-verous. And it basically means going against the current. I learned all this from Byrne Powers' website The Anadromous Life.

That's him in the picture at the top of the page (on the left) in a still from the video I posted 2 entries ago about his documentary Gravity From Above, about European puppetry arts. If you haven't already seen it, you should scroll down a bit and watch - it's well worth it.

Byrne lives what he calls The Anadromous Life - moving against the current trends of modern convenience living and consumerism. Resisting the temptations laid before us by digital devices - temptations that beckon us to do things the accepted way - the easy way - the way that's pre-programmed by corporate drones who decide what their devices should allow the populace to do, and what the limitations on them should be. He doesn't believe in tweeting and blogging - at least insofar as those words imply brief sound-byte style instant contact through the digital ether with countless virtual friends - most of whom you don't know at all and wouldn't actually be friends with if you knew them in real life. He believes in actual face-to-face contact and conversation, something that's becoming lost increasingly as we wall ourselves off to play video games and watch streaming movies and blog-surf for hours on end each day.

At the very tail end of my last entry I made a brief edit announcing that Byrne's Gravity From Above website is now live, but I thought I should also state it here in a post that's officially about him and his project. Click that link or click through from my blogroll on the right (Blogs I Dig) to see how his progress is going. But I also want to point my readers to Byrne's other site The Anadromous Life. It's a Wordpress site, but please don't call it a blog - he doesn't blog there - he writes essays. Essays about unplugging from the internet and living like a human being - about European puppetry arts and puppetfilm (an 8 part series), about Jan Svankmejer (I'll assume most of my readers already know who he is - if not then click through and discover the wonders). When you reach the bottom of a page, click the right arrow to see the next entry.

Something I found fascinating is a 6-part series on American Gothic. Between that one and The Feral Life I discovered a lot of movies to watch, and his thoughts on American Gothic link together seemingly disparate things from Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft through EC comics, Night of the Hunter, The Doors, Tom Waite, George Romero and Bernie Wrightson, with lots of other fascinating stops along the way.

If you're a fan of stopmotion animation in this age of CGI overload, then chances are you also have an interest in living the anadromous life, at least to some extent. So pop on over for a visit - if you're like me then you'll decide to stick around for a while and glean all you can from his fascinating site.

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