An evening with David Abram |

An evening with David Abram

The author Anais Nin famously wrote, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

Have you wondered if you are truly seeing the world for what it is? Author, geo-philosopher and cultural ecologist David Abram has made a life on answering this question. His writing and teaching is constantly reworking genres and re-storying what it means to be human in what he calls a “more-than-human” world.

Abram will speak on the “The Ecology of Perception” at 7:30 p.m. today at The Center for the Arts. This special event is co-presented by the Center and Wild & Scenic Film Festival Art and Lecture series.

Best known for his work bridging the philosophical tradition of phenomenology with environmental and ecological issues, Abram’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. Hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, Abram views the world through an animistic and multi-sensual lens, transcending traditional boundaries of perception.

As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the many losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a transformation in our relation to the living land. In a talk at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, Abram will explore our animal experience of the earth around us, tapping the forgotten rapport between our creaturely senses and the sensuous terrain. How do we maintain our basic sanity and our coherence in relation to the dumbfounding news skittering into view from every corner of the planet? This talk will explore both the wild ecology of perception and the elemental magic of language and storytelling.

Abram is the author of two books, “Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology” (Pantheon, 2010) and “The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World” (Vintage, 1997). He has been the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including the international Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals and anthologies. Founder of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), he lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.

The evening will also include the premiere performance of a short play, “World Fire Wake,” by author and poet Dale Pendell, with music by Arthur Gould. Pendell explains that many cultures have myths of the World Fire — that the world has burned before. Through the play, the author provides an opportunity for “old gods to speak on global warming and human addiction to speed and growth.” As part of the performance, the musical group Mesmerhythm will provide accompaniment with Arthur Gould on the electric cello, joined by Jim Rodney on the electric guitar and synthesizer and Robert Trice on the harmonica, to provide jazzy improvisations and chordal reveries.

Join SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Arts and Lectures and The Center for the Arts for an evening with David Abram at 7:30 p.m. at The Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20 general/$18 SYRCL and Center for the Arts members/$10 students, available at The Center for the Arts and Briar Patch Co-op. For information, visit or

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