REMANOIR / REMNANTS
According to the Babylonian creation myths, in the beginning there was nothing but the roaring ocean. The name of that chaos was Tiamat. Marduk, son of Ea, vanquished Tiamat and sliced her body in two, whereupon one half of her became heaven, the other half the sea.
This poetic introduction in The Horizon of time, or a fertile tranquility, written by Munesuke Mita to the photographic Seascapes series by Hiroshi Sugimoto, sees the arrival of the world, as a partition of a certain wholeness, splitting of a primordial body. Looking at Sugimoto’s images of the sea and heaven, rather than noticing two separate parts of an entity, one can get a sense of a transition, where the line of the horizon marks a place of transformation from one state of being into another. Perhaps we are all part of higher consciousness. One from which our spirit, energy or soul forms at birth, and to which it comes back after our death. According to Sugimoto, the view of the sea is something we share with hundreds of [...] generations and as such it allows us to form feelings connecting us with one another. The visual transitions of the water particles, one of the most natural substances in the world, also draw our attention to the concept of change. Its inevitability and need as a natural progression of the conscious universe allows one to see it as a development of continuous existence.
This acceptance of changes and the feeling of connection is what one may seek and can often find in the uncanny landscape. In the bewildering innocence towards the land, one can observe the past, indicated by the remnants of human activities on the sites of abandoned quarries. While noticing the present exposed in winter months, can fill us with a sense of awe for the nature that adapted to its new environment and took over from where man has left it. Those spaces have seen many, seemingly destructive transformations, but as life clings on to a life they rebuild themselves and enter new conditions with eagerness and beauty. Here, therefore, the quarries embody the idea that the changes arise from the need to grow and develop. As Henri Bergson points out in the Creative Evolution, it is an essential part of the existence of all things.
I find, first of all, that I pass from state to state. [...] Sensations, feelings, volitions, ideas - such are the changes into which my existence is divided and which color it in turns. I change, then, without ceasing. [...] There is no feeling, no idea, no volition which is not undergoing change every moment: if a mental state ceased to vary, its duration would cease to flow.
In a very personal sense, the temporal nature of the quarries has the potential to influence the understanding of our own selves, our environments, and challenge the familiar empirical truths. While standing above the water filling the deep abyss of the excavated rock, surrounded by this peculiar world’s borders in the shape of tall and rough walls - remains of a hill or a mountain, one might question their position in the cosmos and experience a strong sense of belonging to an organic world. One that we often fail to see through the eyes of abundance and fertility, one that we judge by our common, seldom positive sense of wellbeing, vitality or beauty. The natural transitions and the seemingly out of our control metamorphoses are very present in our consciousness through the focus on the changing landscape, that our logic dictates to be a fault. Our fault - the Anthropocene. It is also at this point, however, that one can re-establish the meaning of change, where the ‘catastrophes’ are rendered meaningful as part of a natural - occurring since the beginning of times - cycle. These gradual shifts, culminating noticeably in our reality are a sign of laws governing a continuation of life and its growth.
Finding oneself in solitude in the unfamiliar spaces, void of our usual securities in the form of paths or viewpoints guarding our precious lives with man-made borders, dictates a certain freedom of movement. A free-flowing of the body and mind. While those wild arenas may demand physical actions drawn from the most basic instincts, when our survival aptitudes awaken, a connection between the divine and human is established. This transcendental bond, linked with the Jungian concept of the shared unconscious, or in even a bigger picture, of the shared consciousness of the whole of the universe, elevate the mind towards clarity. As one re-enters the world with openness and unobstructed focus, the usual thought patterns clear and one can enter a very special kind of blank, as Minor White calls this state of being. This expanded perception, that the liminal spaces enrich us with, is as a result of letting go of the norms expected through logical and socially accepted thinking. By allowing for the new circuits of relations to be made, we shift of presumptions.
What would we perceive, how would it make us feel if we looked at the world through the eyes of wellness?
Is what remains the past or is it our future?