afternoon dust

dance & aesthetics, mostly


Wind blowing across the open hillside. Children running and jumping, parents looking patiently on.

A sign, a word, a name: ARCADIA. A history. An inscription on a map, a direction, a point of orientation for tourists happily lost. Sheep without shepherds laze in the sun. Sculptures trapped in an inescapable moment.

Et in Arcadia sum, or: I AM NOT AN ANAGRAM.

I’d like to experience nature as someone who isn’t an exile, who doesn’t gaze up at a sky left dangling just out of reach, on the other side of a window. Can you teach me this trick? Is there a word I have to learn, or a book I can buy? Something to keep, a memento of the eternal. Take a picture and stick it on the internet. Is there a kind of glass in this window frame? Is it language?

If we have a sign then we know where we are. We know where we are because this sign here is different to the one over there. Before the signs came this place didn’t even exist, not really. When they take the signs down all of this will vanish. Et in Arcadia sum. Afterwards, when we talk about this place, people will think we are talking about somewhere else. Even the photos will be of somewhere else. In Germany, they’ve replaced all the signs that were removed because they referred to the Jews, restoring the old names. So that the Jews are there again. They are there every time the sign is read. Later, new signs will be made, and we will remember differently.

Arcadia is a region in southern Greece. A sculpture is an attempt to keep all of this – wind, children, sheep – from disappearing. Your Eden is a myth. Myths make us.

Response to Leo Fitzmaurice’s ARCADIA project at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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