Jasper Griepink, 2021
D E E P S O I L
A story must be judged according to whether it makes sense. And ‘making sense’ must be here understood in its most direct meaning: to make sense is to enliven the senses…It is to make the senses wake up to where they are.
_ David Abram, Holox_900.9292.404040.11.b261
Once, many years ago, during a course on visionary science fiction in Europe, Rhin had put together notes from a book of Radical Indigenous Design Methodologies to form a setting for a story. Normally, these notes would be used to formulate spoken-word musical performance shows, which he would then take to the stage. In preparation for a soon to be published anthology however, he has begun to pin down a narrative around his notes. What would have been another oral story, was now to become printed matter. Still fiddling with the end, one thing irritated him profoundly: the fact that his narrative was centered on one male character ready to burst out and save the world while the intention had always been to focus on the matrix of life itself — a conscious omnipresent wellspring.
— — — —
Rhin’s fingers played with the light above his mug in the way he always did when he was nearing a transformative moment in his creative process. Formulating a story around notes taken over 30 years ago, he was working on an anthology that was to be presented as part of The Art of Oration, an exhibition concerning contemporary oral cultures — on show next spring, at PSxS, New York. Rhin wondered why they hadn’t asked him to perform the story. The task of tying down a story and binding its life to print amused him. All his life, he had been beguiled by the power of speechcraft. He was known as an avid advocate of the sensuous, embodied experience of storytelling. The request for a printed world was challenging.
He knew that they knew he would take the challenge.
Rhin had often wondered if the absence of breath, the sound of people moving about and the air itself moving between lungs and larynxes from generation upon generation, could be felt as missing from a story on purpose. Could a written work result in a desire for the oral work?
He thought of the ancient Phoenician and Hebrew languages. Scriptures that consisted of mere consonants.
Writing that respects the movement of air does not dare to transcribe a full lifeform in preset symbols.
Oh, air. The rogue medium. Keeping us and our stories alive. For the Hebrew priests, the air itself was the breath of God.
Or think of the many Indigenous peoples of the world who speak as much with the more-than-human world as they do amongst themselves — listening, like the god-mothers of our global future, to the wisdom generated by all matter and by intangible forces.
Rhin knew that the arrival of the alphabet, “the written word,” or any written story for that matter, had silenced the natural world. Poetry for empty ears was shushed. By force. By doctrine. And now all who do not write down what they have to say are omitted from the world’s histories — stacked in piles of paper, codes and deeds of ownership. The written word played a very crucial role in a deepening environmental crisis. We forgot how to listen.
For three decades, Rhin spoke about the impact of our writing system on the way we experience our sensuous surroundings. He spoke on the effect of reading and writing on the development of our prefrontal brain cortex: our visual and auditive faculties tyrannizing the rest of the senses. Written words. The alphabet. Cell phones. Smart-phones. SEC Mandates. Christ.
“Written language is a tool for the disenfranchisement of the human voice. Smug ratio. The apparatus of oppression to the voices of the world,” he would animatedly say.
The moon, the sky, the twinkling on a lake embraced by the breeze. The world speaks in song; and now, upon the great honor of presenting at the contemporary art temple of the West, he is asked to swallow-up the entire breath of his thesis and produce the profanity of a written story!
Ha. The amusement. The absurdity.
Like the artefacts and totems of the Native North Americans encased in the Natural History Museum, the Art of Oration would go down into the books as a mere anecdote, a paragraph amongst paragraphs in whatever index of reality the future would edit its past by. Another voice encapsulated by the promise of eternal life; text. The fallacy!
A Hover-B floated by, having just dropped off some folks at the clinic’s terraced entrance. Rhin had been hospitalized for 5 weeks, recovering from a lung collapse in early May. Wired to a breathing machine, Rhin was admitted under observation. His atelectasis was being examined.
Whisk, puff, slurp. Rhythmic beep-deep-deeps.
On those first days (and long nights), Rhin had observed all the sounds that the tube made. The post-natal umbilical cord connecting the outside air with his inside air.
“To the Navajo people, the most holy cosmological power is called nilch’i, meaning the Holy Wind.” He added this to his clinic holox-journal. “The Holy Wind is the whole body of the air, the sky above, the air we breathe, the air that moves and circulates within our bodies — all of this is nilch’i. You can see its traces in the leaves of trees. You can hear it without looking.”
Like the slurps in my tube, Rhin thought.
“Spiraling patterns of the wind drawn into the tips of fingers to help remind us. ‘nilch’i’ is not something that is inside us. It is something that we are inside of, along with all the other beings; plants, trees, the clouds. We live within nilch’i, the invisible air. We are nilch’i,” he noted.
Rhin was rendered mute, as a speaker. The writing task was timed auspiciously. He sat, listening to a particular nilch’i, the air around and in- and outside of his head. Up until his tracheostomy, listening was all he did. The feeling of his chest rising and dropping was the most sacred of things.
Soon after the operation which involved inserting a tube into the left side of his throat, Rhin was allowed to have visitors. Friends came by and sneaked in a wealth of bright earth-toned textiles. They even sneaked in one of those room mist humidifier lamps (those scented and ampule-shaped ones from Muji, in west Hollywood). Rhin loved them. Small volcanos of moisture, puffing away at the atmosphere. Spirals. Other parcels, such as crystals formations, and erotic drawings he had made in art school, began to populate the shelves around his bed.
While working on the transcription of his work D E E P S O I L, Rhin reviewed his body of work. Up until now, his most performed orations were the following (in chronological order); The Flash (the debut, about the beginning of all sensuality), Polyamorous KINK Castle (a radical erotic story about community), Fuck Dystopia (an ode to fighting for what we want, instead of lamenting on what is wrong with the world), NVC Global Matriarchy (basically the previous work… many ‘fucks’ omitted), Killspeech (a sci-fi long prose on the erasure of indigenous oral cultures), Oraliteratura (perhaps his most famous work, about a planetary system that comes into being by storytelling. Bought by VR-Studios in 2062 and turned into the virtual reality film series 7 Planets of Juice) and last but not least; Erosarae, the Language of Sex (on the invisible but tangible energy form Erosarae, which is generated between people who make conscious love).
Rhin smiled. This was his way of getting into the vortex. Holding his favorite mug with eyelids cast down, he floated above his writing desk. The notes for D E E P S O I L had been waiting in his computer for nearly a decade. He allowed notes, although they were more like stanzas. Bits of story bundled in a sentence or three like braided sweetgrass. They could be easily memorized this way. It was a trick used by the ancient Celtic Bards who would organize their wisdom in triads. Little rhymes of three. Short songs. Deep poetic spells. It would be quite some work for the PSxS team to catalogue all of Rhin’s triads and stanzas into Holox-form.
The story of D E E P S O I L lives faraway from heavy tech. It is a tale submerged in a landscape of lore, circumnavigating the legend of a subterranean layer of wet earth, minerals and nutrients that are said to have a consciousness of their own. A layer of the Deep Earth revered by the various Kinfolx of Aard (the green planet on which the story takes place). At the beginning of the most popular narration of the story, the industrious-imperial bloodline of KILN managed to almost entirely rid the world of archaic beliefs (such as a sentient earth). While the once widely celebrated eco-erotic rites of D E E P S O I L had been forbidden for years, the turning of a page seemed to loom for the Kinfolx of Aard.
— taken from notes on Rhin’s laptop —
part one: EINRIHH
Einrihh was not the leader of the Northern Filkern as leadership was shared amongst the various interwoven bio-regions of the North and South. He was a representative, an elder of sorts, yet too young to be named as such. His lineage came from that of Eirdr, one of the clans that had settled in skillfully managed vegetation communities that were sprawled across the woodlands, tundra’s and fertile terrains of the Aurora regions of the North and South.
The people of Eirdr had thrived for eons using swidden cultivator technologies, which meant they used fire to burn their fields on intervals throughout the year. This resulted in a fertile biochar and the burning of weeds and pests. Soil nutrients were released, nitrogen replenished.
Magnesium and manganese.
Ash in the soil; Bhajitar
In the old days, skilled pyrotechnicians (the fire farmers) would ritualize the burning of the fields. Bi-monthly fires kept the rhythm of life like a vast pyro-sophic clockwork: burning, as the index of life renewal. For the folk of Eirdr time expanded, lingered, and streamed on, like the petals of tall green trees meandering on the river. They had no worry of rush or future.
For the line of KILN however, this was a different matter. For they believed that time could eventually run out. They tried to stack it. Pin it down.
Lubaei was their sovereign, living in the midwaylands which we now call the West: the domain of KILN — the glassmakers. There, the free flow of time and life ended in the firm grip of the glass spirals. Greenhouses. For a long time, speaking with branches/trees/canopies/trees had been prohibited. Birthed from within the domain of KILN the written word rippled over the world, authorizing, demanding, grabbing — like the disembodied arm of Lubaei’s Line.
Words made man follow disconnected logic.
Einrihh knew that the trees themselves were mournful. Saddened by the lack of listening and the lack of communion amongst beings. Omitted from official documentation, the voices of the leaves were unheard in the council. Einrihh’s lips would often utter, by means of a sort of conduit, the words of the green world.
part two: THE GREAT HALL OF KILN
“While you were trying to conquer Bhajitar in the name of progress, we were working with her!” yelled Einrihh.
The atrium fell silent. Even Lubaei, who had worked for decades installing the Imperium Company across the world, had nothing more to say. She sat, with a frown, gazing at the skylights. The signs of time clear as ever: life had degraded rapidly. It was spoken once before in a gathering similar to this, that the Folk of Ein would rise again. The line of Einrihh, the line of Eirdr.
Lubaei knew that many kin across the planet had lived without ever facing the onset of mass death as her people were facing it now. It was a pivotal moment on Aard, she agreed. But where her logic, and that of her lineage of glassmakers, had failed, she did not know.
“What then, do you propose, Einrihh?” Lubaei asked.
A silence fell in the great hall, unroofed and scalloped by passing clouds from the high peaks around the ancient capital.
“What I propose,” Einrihh began, “Cannot be disclosed within these walls. It cannot be spoken of, for it cannot be captured nor even approximated with the vile tool of words that your kin has woven around itself.”
“Nay, Filkern of all directions! What I propose lies scattered in the remnants of the DEEP SOIL below the reserves in the North and South. The answer lies beneath your very feet — “Bhajitar! Bhajitar!” many hollered from their faction seats in the Great Hall of Kiln. The forbidden word. Unwritable, like the sound of breath.
“She will rise again — it is spoken so! Bhajitar! Bhajitar!” echoed across the atrium.
Einrihh looked around and felt the energy building like a rumble in the deep. He then turned his gaze to Lubaei — still supreme entrepreneur of the Western domain — and continued: “For years you have been ignoring the voices of un-bodied! The green of leaf; the bark; the lichen! You silenced the Murmurs of Bhajitar, forgetting that she was once the sole voice of all Filkern! Long before the technology of your scripture and your glass her voice spoke unceasingly like the dancing of blades of grass.”
“But the muting of the branches is over! The trees and canopies will speak again! The Leaves will whisper in the ears of lovers. And so it will be.”
“Bhajitar,” sounded the air coming in from the lightshaft in the ceiling. The world was awakening. Einrihh ascended from the faction guilds of the Northern lands and as he walked the central channel out of the hall, the room filled with anticipation. The rise of Bhajitar,…was it finally here?
The oldest in the room knew
How Lubaei had prohibited the fires
The rites and dance of the Deep Soil.
For the youngest in the room
The green memory was but a myth
A story long gone
part three: THE GREAT IRONY
Ladylordess Lubaei’s lineage trickled down from the high esteemed family of KILN, a family of glassmakers. It was them who secreted a methodology to turn sand into transparent matters, thick and solid as brick — but tranquil as a still pond. A deadly pond, dare I say.
GLASS. Who knew it would change Aard as it did?
Arisen on the lands between the North and South were now the glass spirals. Towering and Sprawling greenhouses dotted the land. The pinnacles were hot, moist — and greatly out of balance. While indeed the Glass Spirals of the Line of KILN had all the technical requirements to grow food, abundant produce, rich breeds of plant and food, they forgot altogether about one central element: the necessary involvement of natural cycles — the regenerative principle. Bhajitar.
The land and soil and produce that for eons was communally shared was now subjected to the ideology of ownership: as a trade for the supreme technology of KILN glass the family gained possession of the land. Entrapping farm and watershed one after the other in a scourge for fast crop growth.
The Glass Family of KILN would still have local bloodlines run the spirals, but all the bioregions and produce in the midway lands over time belonged to them. A thread of industrious agriculture spun over the world like the red-hot line at dawn on the horizon of a new time. A timed time.
The ancient Kinfolx had lived WITH the cycles of the land, the wind and fire for decades, so it was difficult to live by the call of the moist heat of the glass — which was essentially ongoing. The relationship to the land changed, and so did the relationship amongst the people. Little time was there to play, little time was there to linger. No more room for the in-between: the spaces beyond this and that. Space ran out of breath.
“Efficiency has overtaken wholeness,” the elders of North would say, “from cycles of fire and cycle of rain, the mingling of periods of seepage, the deep soil building and the ecstasy…”
At the time of the telling of this story, the Imperial company was in deep trouble. The yield of the midway lands had dwindled. The people were on the brink of desolation. Unrooted. Overtaken lay the land.
So the Company of KILN set out upon a mischievous plan.
They wanted to move North, passing the border stones
What they wanted, was the DEEP SOIL. To mine the very source itself. To take from her, and then dump on her, like a lover lied to. The irony couldn’t have been greater. Imperials looking for Deep Soil. While their own source of power came from the deep cutting at the root of it in their own lands. Decades of destruction of land and soil and now they wanted to come get the last bit left. Now they suddenly needed it, to reboot their enterprise?
“Don’t they know that source gives,” said Brimbar, the child of Einrihh.
“How can they take that what gives?” they said, as the branch of a nearby tree squeaked.
Einrihh looked sternly at the river flowing south.
He had known that the time of great irony would come.
Heralding the rising of Bhajitar; the sacred fires that purify.
The great rekindling of the source that overflows.
That which gives, unasked-for,
the very matrix below our feet.
Einrihh looked grim. His heart had been broken many times before in earlier attempts. To go to the midway lands and awaken the memory of Bhajitar to those with ears closed toward spirit was arduous. They did not hear the wind.
part four: REVELATION OF THE OAK TREE
“Why do you have to go south?” asked Brimbar
“Can’t we all go?” they spoke. “No one goes alone,”
“Who would sing with you? who will rub you?” Brimbar asked
Einrihh look at the child, one of nine in the ring of his landshed,
Together with 5 other man-woman he had raised Brimbar,
Nestled in the warmth of their poly-form love clan
All nine kids had grown up wise and joyful
“You know why, Brimbar, This story is known to you like the plot of blueberries in the back of the garden. But I will gladly tell you again.”
“It was foretold by the 7th ring of the mothers who listen to the wind, that from the line of EIRDR would stand a man with the burden to go alone…”
Brimbar looked at Einrihh, they knew he was burdened with the task of beholding the glass spirals. To see the land once green now chopped up and brittle. With death now crippling on the doorsteps of the Great Hall.
Einrihh remembered what the Oaktree in the Ring of Mothers had disclosed. This part he had not shared with the child before. So he spoke with the voice of crackling bark as the Oaktree once had:
“Einrihh, son of the line of EIRDR,
Child of many and beloved of more
In the south you will traverse,
And while your heart grows dim
And the sound of the river is lost amongst the spirals
You and you alone,
will be asked to seek forgiveness for the Line of KILN
You must seek out love for Lubaei
Reach those who can’t hear the earth breathing
in the Hall and in their minds.
It is you who will bring them back to the joy of their bodies
to the blissfulness that is to live in Bhajitar
In the face of the dry pain of drought
With the brittle earth beneath you,
You will find forgiveness
For that alone can turn the tides of time
Only that will spin a thread of hope
in the tapestry of our existence
The roots of the Roots
The very DEEP SOIL of Bhajitar…
Do you understand?”
The Oak tree in the center of the Ring of Mother asked.
Brimbar looked up at his father, their eyes shimmering broad and wide with the telling of this secret. This part of the story had never been revealed. Now he understood why Einrihh had to go. The Oak had always known.
— end of notes on Rhin’s laptop —
— End of PART 1 —
SEC2.11 stands for Supreme Ethical Controller (version 2.11). It is essentially a network of supercomputers that operate under Universal Ethics Equations without a central leader. The SEC2.11 system is a self-governing, auto-managed info-grid that essentially safe-proofs our basic income, health, space and resource division amongst all inhabitants of the United States political territory since 2057 (operative via supercomputers, bio-feedback chips and antenna drones that collect and emit data in the Holox-form). All holoxes on record are ongoingly used to chart, store and convey complex personal, psychological and biographical data which is compared and cross-referenced in order to build a more just and intersectional Global Ethics Profile. Meaning: the ethical parameters that govern the SEC2.11 sequences and algorithms. All of our needs, desires, thoughts and wisdom put together to create a most optimal and just planetary matrix. Rhin had often wondered, if speaking about it had made it happen.
 See Holox_900.9492.404040.51.G6, or, Julia Watson, Lo — TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism (Cologne 2020), pp. 162–197, on the Kayapó people of Brazil.
 PSxS (formerly known as PS1) is an art and media institute in New York City, dedicated to immersive experiences which help upload the entire life experience of artists, scientists, authors and philosophers unto the central somatic nervous system of its visitors via the SEC22.1 protocol (see appendix: SEC22.1). For full upload on PSxS access Holox_70.n982.40770.167a.
 See Holox_900.9292.404040.11.b26, or, David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous (1996).
 Bards are oratory artists: ancient storytellers, poets and singers who would collaborate with the natural environment and the presences of an audience to bring stories alive. Bards can be seen as living libraries. Conduits of culture. For full Holox upload see, Holox_550.gf982.4657.16r7.
 The threefold wisdom sayings of the Ancient Druids. The triad is often a rhetorical form whereby things are grouped together in threes, with a common the point of likeness; for example, “Three things not easily restrained, the flow of a torrent, the flight of an arrow, and the tongue of a fool.”
HOLOX TRIAD(2021) was written in the context of Envisioning Other Futures, a speculative fiction writing workshop hosted by Other Futures Festival, Amsterdam. HOLOX TRIAD was published in the official anthology of the writing course alongside of stories in English and Dutch by 10 other writers.
See PDF here.
The story of D E E P S O I L is also presented as a spoken-word performance with music, for more information visit www.jaspergriepink.nl
Text/image: Jasper Griepink
Workshop leader: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
Text Editor: Els Brinkman
©Jasper Griepink, 2021