MAGNETIC NEEDLE

TETSUYA YAMADA from Minneapolis: MAGNETIC NEEDLE, 2014

I am intrigued by the great potential within simple/mundane objects, which contrasts with the complexity of society. And sometimes these simple and mundane objects can offer me such meaningful questions that I keep searching for this kind of moment in my daily life.

TETSUYA YAMADA, Magnetic Needle 2014 -Installation at The Soap Factory, Minneapolis - Courtesy of the artist

TETSUYA YAMADA, Magnetic Needle 2014 -Installation at The Soap Factory, Minneapolis –
Courtesy of the artist

A “Magnetic Needle” pointing North, by Rosanna Albertini

WALLACE STEVENS, The Necessary Angel:  “The subject matter of poetry [or of a sculpture] is not that ‘collection of solid, static objects extended in space,’ but the life that is lived in that scene that it composes; and so reality is not that external scene but the life that is lived in it. Reality is things as they are.” 

 The needle, gigantic, points North. Forced to do it with bars, bolds, and ropes. Only with effort the needle connects to the Pole Star, and blindly dreams of the sky. Our hope that we are not losing our bearings on earth, that our intelligence gives us the ability to orientate our steps, doesn’t have a ground. And we call intelligence what, most of the time, is nothing but imagination.

The needle was a tree when roots kept it more or less vertical and free to shake. Not allowed now. Mental directions do not tremble. With no hesitation, they connect this wooden body unaware of its fortune and misfortune to the pulses of a celestial body, the symbol of a universal, natural order for sailors of waters and sky and for pedestrians as well: the time travelers we are, surrounded by aging cities and ephemeral flowers.

The magnetism of this needle is human. It’s the weight of chores and situations that redirect ideals we cherish, and reshape the stories we tell to ourselves. I see Jesus dragging the cross embedded in the needle. Or a wreck of a ship with heavy sails. Things when they are stuck in only one direction, and can’t change. I’ve just learned the Pole Star herself is a variable star. Scientists call her a ‘standard candle’ in the Cepheids stars family. She doesn’t rise, doesn’t move, serves as a marker for distances in our galaxy and other galaxies nearby. And yet, her inner energy spreads pulsations of light and light’s echoes and reverberations. A shining, inorganic heart.

Cepheid star (RS Puppis) imaged by Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990

Cepheid star (RS Puppis) imaged by Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990