LUCAS REINER An American painter in Rome – 3
“A ladder rising
10 steps that
vivify the soul” Theophanis the Monk
As a step that has no limit …
JEAN – LOUIS GARNELL from Chatenây-Malabry (France)
…Ayant fait surgir le cheval du vent (traduction du tibétain lungta.”Lung” signifie vent et “ta” cheval), nous pouvons nous accommoder de tout ce qui se présente dans notre état d’esprit, sans problème ni hésitation. Ainsi, en appelant le cheval du vent, nous accédons au fruit de l’invocation du drala secret, qui nous est l’expérience d’un état d’esprit exempt du bavardage mental, dénué d’hésitation et d’incrédulité. Nous faisons à l’instant même l’expérience de notre propre état d’esprit. Cet instant est frais, jeune et virginal. Il est innocent et authentique et ne contient ni doute ni défiance. Il est naïf, au sens positif, et complètement frais...
Chögyam Trungpa Shambhala, La voie sacrée du guerrier. Editions: Points Seuil 1990 Pages 116-117. Shambhala, The sacred path of the warrior, Shambhala Publications Inc. 1984
Langage un peu ésotérique, mais une belle résonnance avec le Thinking fresh, n’est ce pas? J-L G Exoteric language, and yet a it resonates nicely with ‘Thinking fresh,’ doesn’t it?
…Windhorse is a translation of the Tibetan lungta. Lung means “wind” and ta means “horse.” Invoking secret drala is the experience of raising wind horse, raising a wind of delight and power and riding on… Having raised your wind horse, you can accomodate whatever arises in your state of mind. There is no problem or hesitation of any kind. So the fruition of invoking secret drala is that you experience a state of mind that is free from unconscious gossip, free from hesitation and disbelief. You experience the very moment of your state of mind. It is fresh and youthful and virginal.
(Translation discrepancies are the way ideas take a ride in different minds, and they are interesting.) RA
Julie Shafer – THE MALAKOFF DIGGINS (about one hour and a half from Sacramento, CA)
The Diggins are amazing. They are located deep, deep in the woods, and the man-made crater is one mile deep, and about three miles in circumference. In the pit it looks like a Southwestern Desert canyon, and at the top and all around the crater is a lush, thick, dense forest. All along the rim are tree roots that are exposed, and stretched thin, desperate to find earth to hold onto.
I had never heard of hydraulic mining before, but immediately saw how devastating this type of mining is. High-powered hoses, more like canons, were pointed at a mountain washing away everything. All of the run-off was funneled to a man-made ravine, and it is there that the gold, silver, copper, zinc and any other valuable mineral was sorted from mud, trees, roots, branches and rock ore. Mercury and arsenic are magnetically attracted to these other highly sought metals, and so they were used to separate the valuable from invaluable ore. This type of mining is the most lucrative, and the most destructive.
I walked into the pit, and thought I should walk the entire loop. My heart was racing. I was a sitting duck in this bowl. Do bears hunt during the day? Would a mountain lion think I was threatening or a good sized meal? If I blocked the sky and top of the pit I was swear I was walking through a slot canyon in Zion National Park. I could feel this space. I could feel the destruction and the pain. I mean really, really feel it deep in my bones. The sides of the pit were scarred, and scraped. I could see where several high-powered water canons sliced into the mountain, eventually inverting a mountain top into a deep, raw pit. Reddish, brown earth covered the bottom and sides. In some places it felt stretched thin, in other places smooth, but most of all I saw jagged, rough slices weaving in and out of the sides of the bowl. I saw the tunnels that were used to direct the run-off into a ravine where the valuable ore was collected. The tunnels could fit three of me side-to-side, arms stretched wide, and another of me sitting on my shoulders. I imagined I was like one of those human pyramids cheerleaders make at high-school football game half-time shows. I was shaking. Years of rain-water collecting at the bottom of the bowl meant there was a little pond, and really thick brush. It looked a little bit like a nature preserve. I walked the most of the length of the bowl, but at one point the brush was so thick, it was impossible to navigate through. I didn’t worry about getting lost since I was in a circular space, but every step I took deeper into the bush made me start to feel like it might be my last. I honestly thought a wild animal might be hiding in this brush waiting to pounce on me.
“C’mon. You are being stupid. There is nothing out here.”
One more step
“Look Julie, you want to walk all three miles of this bowl, and you’re probably about at the half-way point. So, whether you turn around or keep going you would end up walking the same distance. So, keep going.”
“Let’s count our steps. I wonder how many steps I will take during the remainder of this walk? My guess would be 7800. Where did I get that number you say…”
At this point my own voice was swallowed by the sounds of something I have never heard before. An animal was sending a signal, either to me, to a pack, to a predator. It was one long, low register howl, followed by about 10 short howls in a row. Silence. Repeat. Silence. I could hear and feel my heart beat in my ears. I have no idea whether or not the sound was coming from inside the bowl or from the rim. Had I been stalked this whole time? I don’t remember anything about my walk back except for the fact that I walked quickly, stood as tall and as big as I could, I tripped a lot and that I repeated something to the affect of, “Everything’s fine. Every – thing – is – going – to – be – fine. I am going to take a few more steps, and then I will be closer to the end. I’m good. Just be cool. Be very cool, and all will be good.”
This place scared the shit out of me, and was absolutely going to be the next place I would shoot. How I was going to carry a 6 foot by 40 inch plywood box, and a darkroom a mile into this pit was beyond me. I couldn’t use the U-Haul like I had before. There’s no way it would make it on the drive to the Diggins. I was going to have to carry everything into the pit, and set-up from there. This shoot seemed ridiculously elaborate. I seemed to really be teetering on the edge of reason with this one. Heroics aside, I didn’t feel safe. Why was I willing to return to a site whose history terrified me, and physicality terrified me, whose remoteness chilled me to the bone. Why I would spend a week shooting here is still something I am asking myself.
An American painter in Rome – 2
A pine tree collapsed
leans on a wall
behind an American Institution
as if exhausted or sleeping.
Waking up the pine trees
with timeless art
reading the news.
YVES TREMORIN from Saint-Malo, France
Des images faites dans les jours derniers pour réfléchir, to ponder on them
And I ponder over the artist’s act of reflection. Words are not the equivalent of his experience, nor of flowers or their images. They dig around trying to to find some light on their way across darkness.
Yves Trémorin holds two shovels in one hand: one is science – he is a mathematician – the other is art. There is a third device with no name: “a part of a whole which has not yet materialized,” Claude Lévy Strauss calls it “magical thought.”
See, I’m keeping my intuition from growing impatient, and stay for a moment on the pond of Trémorin’s thoughts. What happens when he grabs an image using the camera as a medium (nothing to do with Marshall McLuhan), as a revealing lens. The flower is isolated from the garden, a crown of petals born to loose flash and colors very quickly and fall down, withered. Yet, over the living time the botanical specimen – a poppy – spreads the same power as flames; a loud, hidden voice trills against the sun setting its sleep.
Death and birth are exceptionally close in flowers’ lives. The hydrangea therefore, (hortensia), plays the population game, like a sponge covered with butterflowers on the verge of flying, green flakes hardly touching their mother plant.
Closer and closer to the objects of observation, the mechanical-digital and the human eye, and our eyes as viewers move from the initial idea (such as recognizing the flower, its botanical classification, naming it) to a completely different mental territory, where thinking stops.
Let me paraphrase Viktor Sklovskij: infinite lines can be parallel, you can trace from a point more than one perpendicular to a line. In a non Euclidean geometry all these things are possible, very much looking like comic jokes that don’t make us laugh more than a stomach-ache. “How” is the point. It’s also my point here, how we observe, how we are not what we believe. How we become flowers.