The Other Night

part of Zoon Politikon (from AUT University and Sydney University), an exhibition at Time-Space-Existence in Venice, 2016

The Listener

I heard it said that God created the world, that there is the divine above, the animal below, and the human in between. But there is a whisper within that says otherwise…in this other cosmic framework there is the mystical not above, but all around, and the elemental, not below but everywhere, and the human as the conduit for both. From a copper surface the mystical light is refracted, the water creates a lens and refracts the light yet again, closing the circuit.

The other night I thought I heard something…out of the corner of my ear I thought I caught a nothing, or a whisper of a breeze, a crashing wave or was it a falling coconut…pineapple…building. Was that a grain of sand I heard, hitting the floor of the ocean, or was it the softly padded paw of a stealthy wolf, moving à pas de loup through the forest.

I am alone, we are alone – none of us so, and all of us still. There exists a fundamental solitude that even language cannot temper. This solitude is not that of individuated aloneness – it is something other. We slip on slippery steps, pas-pas, the steps we cannot take, or take over and over again; the eternal rolling of Sisyphus’ boulder up the hill.

There it is again, that sound I thought. Perhaps it was an echo I heard, a softly whispered something; no nothing, nothing has been said in this chamber. Silence speaks here. I wait. A word or two finally begin to coalesce…perhaps language is an architecture of Being. If building is the means through which I make physical architecture, then language is the primary architecture through which I construct, understand, control and change the world around me.

I’m listening, listening hard now, what is it that I can say, it is asked of me that I say. How am I building the world? In this time of unprecedented chaos, it is asked of me that I say. And yet, I find myself unable to say anything. I am caught between the impossibility of saying anything, and knowing I am called upon to say something. In saying something, I say nothing, and in saying anything I also say what it is that I cannot say.

There lies here an ethics of the call, our solution to this chaos is not architectural but ethical. Pas-pas, step and step and step again, keep rolling the boulder back up the hill. And you, you there, you see yourself reflected in the copper, the resting place for the mystical and the elemental. The baker says his way with bread, the plumber with pipes, the musician speaks with music, the artist with paint, the carpenter with tools, I ask you friend; what can you say?