Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Panta rhei

Panta rhei
Different plastics (UV constant), Fiberglas, Polio resin,
Anchor (steel/ concrete)
1000 x 150 x 10 cm

Water is an element that we can’t tear our eyes away from. It flows, unites with other waters, to return to the sea, or is it the sea returning to us?
It erodes, it carries along it forces us to reflect on ourselves. But water not only consumes, it also nourishes. As a symbol as well as in practice- water is necessary for life, it purifies, refreshes and heals. When it is polluted it terrifies us and reminds us of our own mortality.

The project “Water in movement” took place in Meppel a small town in the western Netherlands. Artists were asked to develop ideas for installations that could be placed inside artificial canals-in the Netherlands called grachten- that were running through the town. There are two types of canals in the Netherlands: water conveyance canals, which are used for the delivery of water, and waterways, which are navigable transportation canals used for passage of goods and people often connected to the sea or lakes. Meppel had three canals named Heerengracht, Keizersgracht en Prinsengracht-though not being circular- still named after the most famous waterways in Amsterdam, - but by installing solid bridges and dams, these were not shippable anymore. The city wanted artworks that referred to their former origin and to the water as moving element.
Walking along the grachten I was comparing the image of the city map with certain places in the surrounding. My chosen place had no name on the card so I decided to ride one into the water. Panta rhei.
The two word's panta rhei are known within the ontology as the dynamic view of Life. In combination they can be freely translated into “everything is streaming.”
Heraclit is often named in connection to this, thought he might have asserted nothing more profound other than the thought that we exist in a field or continuum in which everything is constantly in flux or process. Heraclit is known for his doctrine of change being central to the universe and stating that the Logos is the fundamental order of all.
However, his assertion of flow is coupled with the enigmatic river image. The word rhei is simply the Greek word for "to stream."
I used the Greek letter type because of origin and its cursive writing style
In addition to being used for writing Modern Greek its letters are today used as symbols in mathematics and science and represent particle names in physics.
It is the first and oldest alphabet in the narrow sense that it notes each vowel and consonant with a separate symbol.
Originally alphabets were written entirely in capital letters, spaced between well-defined upper and lower bounds. When written quickly with a pen, these tended to turn into rounder and much simpler forms. It is from these that the first minuscule hands developed, the half-uncials and cursive minuscule, which no longer stay bound between a pair of lines.
The word minuscule is often spelled miniscule, by association with the unrelated word miniature. Nevertheless I find this detail fitting because I somehow related the size of the letter type in relation to the size of written names in the map. In the act of naming a place we are approaching to the same.

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