A Momentary Getting-Together of Sand
I just recently re-read Carlo Rovelli's Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (an excellent, and quick read!), but that led me to listen to his interview on the podcast 'On Being with Krista Tippett' again as well. Also very much worth your time. There is one section where Dr. Rovelli is describing time and how we , as humans, acknowledge it. He is far more eloquent than my retelling that follows, I am certainly not a physicist. (Really just listen to the podcast, you won't regret it.)
He says that we do not measure time with things, like rocks, but with happenings. His example of happenings are kisses. We can't discuss time in things because they don't change during our limited existence. We can measure our time in happenings because they will not be the same if you were to return to them or be replicated. Like kisses.
But he takes this sentiment even further, and discusses that rocks, even though to us they are things, rather unchanging in our spectrum of time, they can also be happenings when we think about their existence in the broader sense of time in our universe. That they are simply,
"a momentary getting-together of sand."
To me, those words are rather beautiful and while I didn't listen to this interview or read Carlo Rovelli's work prior to my trip to the Arctic, I found myself gravitating towards the geology of Svalbard. I wanted to document these 'getting-togethers.' Catalogue is an on-going project that takes the over one hundred different rocks that I documented on my trip and remaking them as prints. These stones will ultimately be in many iterations, both in and out of frames.
Some were recently exhibited, along with a suite of prints for another post, in Beyond Nature. This exhibition was at the Moudy Gallery on the Texas Christian University (TCU) campus. It was curated by one of my fellow residents, Adam Fung, and exhibited several members of our June 2016 expedition. The stones are replicas in print. Each multi-layer polyester plate lithograph is suspended in the handmade, walnut frames with etymology pins. I really enjoy the varying shadows that you get from raising the print off of the backer. It is, in a sense, a print itself. An ever-changing impression.
What I found most interesting about the geology of Svalbard was the shear amount of variety in its rocks. This was not only true from landing to landing on the islands, but also on the same beach. Some glistened in a multitude of colors. Svalbard is this way because (while not going too far down a rabbit hole) for most of its geologic history, the islands were below sea level. This allowed for a large variety of materials to be continually deposited. Now above the sea and being carved by glaciers, these materials, some morphed into rock, are now turned up and exposed. Thus culminating in the treasure troves of beaches I spent my days walking upon.
While visiting the TCU campus for the closing reception of Beyond Nature, in between artist talks and speaking with their many talented art students, several of us had the opportunity to sit down and discuss our work and experience in the Arctic together. This round table was recorded by the radio station KTCU and was recently uploaded to YouTube. It is a great piece and I love that it was paired with a slideshow of us at the station and some stills of the show. It is refreshing to hear the thoughts and processes behind my companions.
We were all witness to the same places, but saw them very differently.