Jason Dean Arnold

A General Pattern of Missingness*

Catching Fireflies (Hotarugari) by Mizuno Toshikata

Ettore Majorana went missing en route 
to Palermo. Some speculate he lived 
out his life in anonymity in South America. 
Some assume he commited suicide, realizing
his work would be weaponized. I worry 
that the disappearance of fireflies 
in our late capitalist sprawl is no accident.
These tiny engines of flashing light, 
of embodied temporality, left our skies.
In their place, we burned the air
above entire cities, a mathematics
of mass murder, reductionist logic.
Majorana is not taught in school. 
He never existed. 
All archives are incomplete archives.
Still, we collect and organize, modeling
that which we desire for our minds,
knowing everything will be taken away,
knowing we will do this to ourselves. 

* The title is taken from a line found in Leite, Walter and Beretvas, S. Natasha (2010) “The Performance of Multiple Imputation for Likert-type Items with Missing Data,” Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods: Vol. 9 : Iss. 1 , Article 8. DOI: 10.22237/jmasm/1272686820

The italicized is taken from Adrian Piper’s artworks of the same name.


About the writer:
Jason Dean Arnold’s entire career has been devoted to the importance of education, from teaching in the K-12 setting to designing and teaching online courses for post secondary. He currently serves as the director for E-Learning, Technology, and Communications at the University of Florida’s College of Education. Jason has no ability to compartmentalize. As a result, his writing, visual artwork, and music (and other creative output) are all extensions of his love for learning.

Image: Catching Fireflies: Women of the Tenmei Era (1781-89), from the series Thirty-six Elegant Selections by Toshikata Mizuno (1866-1908). Woodblock print. Size unspecified. 1891. Public domain.