Recent Flood Activity by Jason Abdelhadi

March 4, 2016
I read a comic in which Little Nemo’s bedroom is flooded.

“After the storm subsided he discovered the land he was on to be moving swiftly through the water but the voice allayed his fears.”

April 13, 2016
I note down the following quotation from Victor Hugo:

“Revolt is a sort of waterspout in the social atmosphere which forms suddenly in certain conditions of temperature, and which, as it eddies about, mounts, descends, thunders, tears, razes, crushes, demolishes, uproots, bearing with it great natures and small, the strong man and the feeble mind, the tree trunk and the stalk of straw. Woe to him whom it bears away as well as to him whom it strikes! It breaks the one against the other.”

June 9, 2016
A sinkhole event in Ottawa, including major flooding of light-rail tunnels under construction. This was predicted by some surrealist mail zines sent earlier in the month by Steven and Casi Cline. I report the event to a friend in some correspondence from that week:

A magnificent and tremendous SINKHOLE suddenly appeared at the corner Rideau and Sussex (the NADIR of the city!) It was an utter festival of humor—clamor reigned, an (empty) car was sucked in and lost in the liquid concrete, the memes appeared online in droves. I’d say it was analogous to the situation of the flood the Chicago group described in 1992 with “A River’s Revenge!”

And the word was on my mind anyway, since earlier this year Steven Cline had sent me a piece on sinkholes in his zine Rapture 17:

“Where did this sinkhole come from? It formed on a Sunday, and spread with each passing skin reversal. The alluvial plains teach a lesson to the unlistening ground mice. Blood red porcupines flatten themselves and roll unto the driveway of your family’s old home…”

July 28, 2016
My friend Laura Lake sends me the following dream account:

“Friends of my parents were telling us about their hardships over the winter. They had been living in Montreal when they were inundated by heavy snows. The disastrous weather knocked out the power and heating for a couple months. Worse, with the sewer systems offline, the basement of their home had been flooded with freezing water they’d had to spent days at a time trying to bail out.

Meanwhile, anarchists and political progressives had extolled the virtues of their community on the news. They compared them, in glowing terms, to the original settlers who’d colonized the area hundreds of years ago. Their pioneering spirit was commended as if they had chosen this disaster for themselves. The honest simplicity of their lifestyle, uncomplicated by modern extravagances, was favorably compared to the Amish.

Disaster relief and government assistance had not been considered necessary. In fact, it was no longer considered safe to extend basic city services like ambulances and the police to the area. Hadn’t these honest, good-natured citizens proven themselves well-capable of struggling for their own survival? Hadn’t they met their adversity with a willingness to make do, to make sacrifices, and to do for themselves what was necessary by pulling together as a community? Life went on. Perhaps, it was argued, our overabundance of technological affluence was really what had sapped society of its vigor and weakened the links between citizens – the austerity which prevailed over this community was offered as a kind of solution to the current economic crisis.

Those left struggling to keep themselves from freezing to death in their own homes and to live on a diet of cold beans dug out of a can had no time to refute the presentation of their misery as a kind of success story. They were, after all, too preoccupied trying to survive to be able to ask for the help they needed to keep their lives from entirely unraveling…”

October 13, 2016
Steven Cline’s film The Oneiric Flood is released; I watch it three times in succession.

November 1, 2016
The Chimaera gang play a round of the Paris Surrealist Group’s new game, which they call Il Croyait Voir. Based on the format of Lewis Carroll’s “Mad Gardener’s Song”, each player writes one of the three verses blind to the others. Among many others, JR, LL, and JA come up with the following result:

“They thought they saw a grasshopper giving the Hitler salute.
They looked again and saw a coal mine flooded with tears.
They learnt that it is best not to sass one’s elders when said elders are drunk out of their collective gourds.”

November 18, 2016
Release of the Peculiar Mormyrid sea issue, including many, many threats of aquatic overflow into everyday life. See Guy Girard’s giant floods, Joël Gayraud’s overflooded nuclear reactors, The Stockholm Surrealist Group’s “Life Partially Submerged” etc…

March 1, 2017
I dream it is night and a flood is slowly consuming an entire town. Dogs are running around and people are breaking open pet store windows to liberate those dogs that remain captive.

Dream Geography: the town is situated in a valley. We (the inhabitants and I) try semi-casually to gather at the northern, higher end of town. There is some kind of gate we close but it seemed to be fairly haphazard. I am in the meantime reading a biography of some silly composer whose single claim to fame was a curiously the writing of a novel.

May 4-6, 2017
Massive flooding in Eastern Canada including the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Images of flooded neighbourhoods (including photos similar to my dream of residents carrying dogs) are in constant media rotation. Local climate scientists warn that such floods are likely to be a regular occurrence from now on.

May 7, 2017
During a visit to my childhood neighbourhood I discover flooding in some areas, including a familiar park on the Ottawa river (Andre Hayden). Connected to this park, I am particularly moved by the flooding of a certain pedestrian tunnel, which is important to me (and, no doubt, many others) as the location of some very formative youthful sexual experiences. The partial submersion of an erogenous zone.

May 7-8, 2017
In asking permissions to use the above dream from Laura Lake, we discover a startling coincidence: on May 7, during a halt in the rain, we both, unbeknownst to each other, took parallel surrealist floodwalks converging onto the aforementioned park. Laura came from the East to the West, catching many dramatic sites of flooding in Britannia Beach, including: a totally flooded community centre courtyard, a field, a parking lot, a blockade détourned by the public into a passage she termed the Anarchist Bridge— “the blockade used to keep people off what little remains above water has been re-purposed into a bridge onto it, a heroic gesture of popular will as it certainly provides the finest vistas”— and many other tempting sites. We are resolved to undertake a more thorough surrealist expedition to the flood site in the near future, whether, as she suggests, for treasure, deluvian imagery, or to confront government censorship. She says: “As I saw them, I knew that such imagery was certain to resurface in my dreams.”

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By | 2017-05-08T22:12:07+00:00 May 8th, 2017|Essay|0 Comments