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