The Eos Project
Eos to Helios ~ an introduction
Eos refers to new beginnings as light starts to overwhelm the darkness.
Eos Photo essai in Plumwood Mountain 5:1
Poetry at First Light a radio documentary on the Eos project, Earshot, ABC Radio National
The English language doesn’t have a morning equivalent of our abbreviation for ‘between light’ – twilight. I use Eos, the Greek goddess of pre-dawn who opens heaven’s gates for her brother, the sun god Helios.
‘Dawn’ (Jalingarr in Gumbaynggirr) is from the Old English dagian ‘to become day’; it’s a becoming. Like a poem, Eos is a process of discovery. If you wake before dawn and walk into a garden, park or beach, or just look out through a window, you meet Eos. I’m fortunate; I meet her on an estuary feeding the Pacific.
With no need so early, to think of what needs to be done (check your phone, make breakfast, feed the kids, go to work), one can become immersed in nature’s presence. Natural events and processes are becoming complete strangers. We are social animals who now self-identify by what work we do and what goods and services we purchase. This comes at the expense of our creativity and being open to experience.
As consumers, our taste (whether in art, cars or fashion) is cultural capital, much like wealth – not like knowledge/skills capital of the past. Cultural capital is a subset of social capital, easily swayed by fashion, marketing, and now social media – perceiving, feeling, understanding for ourselves takes energy and imagination. Eos allows you your own experience, a rare commodity in a world of 7 billion people – she gives time and space to engage with the natural sublime and feel alive.
‘First Light – from Eos to Helios’, Coffs Harbour Regional Galley, Winter, 2017.
A documentary on Eos, ‘Poetry at first light’ was broadcast by ABC Radio National’s Earshot February, 2016.
What is Eos? I use the word Eos for being in the presence of the new day, as light starts to overwhelm the gaps between the stars. The Greek god Eos was the rosy-armed goddess of the pre-dawn, sister to the sun god Helios, granddaughter of Gaia.
Rising before dawn allows us to gain some sense of our ancestors’ experience of waking to a world before farming, roads or cities, before writing, machines, electrification, algorithms or computers. Eos is an opportunity to practice wonder and become intimate with elemental earth, water, air and light. These images, the video and poetry are encouragements to get out into natural environments, to pay attention to the sky, to the colours, other living beings, to breathe deeply and feel alive.
We are cut off from the natural world. Most of our 7 billion strong tribe don’t know or don’t care that we are heading towards ecological disaster. Eos encourages attention to the aesthetic experience of being in the world and art that explores the complexities of being in the world.
Art on the walls is not enough, perhaps art itself is not enough. A good artwork asks questions, usually half-formulated, by this definition experiencing Eos is pure art. If art is about sharing thought, emotion, intuition, desire and how we experience the world, it’s usually before language can wrap its tongue around it.
Eos is about embodiment, photography is deep play, we are restless curious creatures and need to play, interact with object, events, and phenomena.