Friday, November 02, 2007

Post from Princeton

Song Of The Earth, 2002. Earth & acrylic medium on paper. h106cms x w160cms

In Princeton once more for the autumn though the trees this year on Einstein Drive are turning late. In any case I am not, as on my last visit, that Wordsworthian eccentric the often-spotted leaf-gatherer combing the institute's grounds for the choicest fallen foliage, the most rubified or rusted or gilded leaves.
This time I am more relaxedly looking for samples of earth with an idea in mind that Halting the Fall [
see blog 19.10.06 + 16.11.06] which dealt with local beauty could be complemented by a work that spoke of the Institute for Advanced Study's international identity in that it attracts distinguished researchers and scholars from all over the world. This was in part provoked by seeing again a tantalising and mysteriously lit wall at the end of a long corridor but more so by the spectacle from my window of a soilmover at work creating a mighty mound of russet earth at the end of its track. As the profile of this heap gradually took on an uncanny resemblance to that of Mt Ste Victoire I began to think it had something to do with the sculpture that I knew had been commissioned from Richard Long. I soon learned however that Richard's sculpture was in a concealed courtyard best viewed from the library of the Astrophysics building where I temporarily had my office. Oddly enough I have since become a semi official apologist for the piece, and have already given a requested seminar to the astrophysicists on its meaning and virtues in their mid morning coffee colloquium. It seems strange to me that people who are used to dealing with events that happened before there was a when [in a place before there was a where] should be perplexed by a small and spikily elegant assemblage of exfoliated rock. I pointed out that the sculpture's first success was soon achieved by its provocation of such a discussion. We had some lively exchanges, along the inevitable lines that art argument is doomed to take, before they returned to simpler issues like what happens when a large black hole swallows a smaller one. I kept to myself the thought that celestial indigestion must result, culminating in a cosmic belch.

Princeton Earth Study, Mud & acrylic medium 2007


ruth said...

what is about the work you do in princeton? last year the leaves wowed me and now this. very beautiful. earth from nearby the mont st victoire winging its way to you soon.

Anonymous said...

When events which we have long been dreading actually arrive, we often find them to be like shadows, which look absolutely black from a distance, but which prove when we enter them to be merely a clouded daylight.
AHD p 270.
Let 'em chew on that.

Mike C. said...

No need to have kept it to yourself -- if there's one thing a scientist loves, it's a good metaphor -- see this link ("Black Holes Belch Universe's most energetic Particles"):

Talking of one thing swallowing another, I have this blog on an RSS feed, and the most recent two headers keep merging in my eye as "Post from Prince of Darkness". Disturbing.