October 17 & 18: Thomas McKechnie

October 17 & 18: Giant Leaps

Thomas McKechnie



Giant Leaps

Behind Tom a video plays. It is a recording of a hand holdings a pistol, squeezing the trigger, firing, he is in the bullets trajectory. The video is slowed down to a frame rate of one frame every ten seconds.

TOM: An ecosystem is a self-regulating system. Maybe there’s a lot of hawks in one area at one time and they start catching all of the field mice, all of the rabbits, all of the voles and moles and gophers. They run the populations way down, with so few members they reproduce slowly, the population grows slow but there’s plentiful food and lots of burrows and holes and places to hide from the hawks. As the the population shrink and remain in their new-found burrows the hawks don’t have enough to eat, they have to go further afield to find food, they fight each other, they starve, they move off. With plentiful food, plentiful habitat and few predators the populations rise. This is how an ecosystem regulates itself. It takes time but the flux is gentle and constant. Countries function in similar ways, things often have to get really bad for a group or segment of society before anyone changes anything, anyone fixes anything. It’s not ideal, it how we operate though, we grind slow but we grind fine. The problem is we’re now playing with some of the highest stakes at some of the highest speeds we ever have. The dangers of climate change are comparable, with regard to destruction of human life, to nuclear warfare. The major difference is instead of a dangerous threat that might happen but no one wants, it’s framed as “economic boom” and a-

The recording of the bullet that had made it a short distance out of the gun suddenly returns to full speed, hits Tom and kills him.