Sunday, June 1, 2008

White on White and the Black Sea

There have been reports for the last week of another oil spill in Black Sea. Last November a massive spill occurred when tankers broke up in a storm just off the coast. I wrote about that spill at the time -- I quoted the NY Times as reporting that the severity of an oil spill is often measured not only in amount of oil, but that extent of damage can also be seen in proximity to land.

Pavel Shevtsov/Reuters

Last week there were reports of another spill in the Black Sea. This spill is suspected to be 100 miles into the sea, and can't be reached for verification, according to an article on, which appears to be a Bulgarian wire service.

"Valio Tanov, Director of Border Police in Bourgas has stated earlier Friday that the verification is made difficult by the strong waves, but has also said that the results should be expected around mid-day.

The Maritime Administration announced that they are verifying the reports as well, adding that it is impossible for them to reach the presumed location of the spill since the distance is about 100 miles into the sea. It is also impossible to make another satellite picture right now because there is no satellite over this part of the Black Sea.

Ships passing through the area have been asked to verify the information, however, until now they have not confirmed it."

Isn't it amazing to think of a spot of earth we can't reach or see in this day and age?

I read somewhere that a spot in the ocean has as many life forms as the Amazon Rain Forrest. It seems so like us to think the only deaths there are are the ones we mark with out eyes -- the birds and fish that wash up.

I imagine crawling on the bottom of the ocean -- with a covering of oil descending.

I went to the web site that first posted the satellite photos of the alleged spill.

It's so strange to look at this site -- it's all in Russian -- which I do not speak. This indecipherable language this indecipherable image. And yet here it is. This image reminds me of Malevich's "White on White" which is my favorite painting.

Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition: White on White. 1918
White on White. 1918
Kazimir Malevich. Oil on Canvas.

This painting made people really angry when it came out. There were all sorts of cerebral arguments for and against it. Minimalism v. representation. But when I looked at that painting, it always made me feel at peace. I wanted it on my wall. I wanted to curl up into it -- to fall asleep there.

Abstract Expressionism and it's response to Realism. The plight of the worker the plight of the soul.

The plight of the single-celled v. the plight of the gull.

"Capitan Nikifor Gerchev is the Chief of the volunteers from the border police. He has made statements that the reports are, most likely, "a storm in a glass of water", and that he does not believe that there is an oil spill in the Black Sea."

It is as if it is our nature to assume the non-existence of anything beyond our vision.

All this many years after Galileo Galilei...

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