The Geography of Nowhere

I got caught up and obsessed with sculptural edifices for the entire day yesterday. Somehow a dream from Jhumpa Lahiri’s An Unaccustomed Earth made me think of winding, narrow brick lanes and stone sculptures set on pedestals, looking over pedestrians and tourists walking in their slow pace. I ended up browsing pinterest and creating a sculpture board there, pinning and collecting more than 150 sculpture images in about two hours. Was it worth spending two hours on looking at pictures? I definitely think yes. All sorts of stories and theories accumulated in my mind while staring at each one of them. I saw the classical sculptures by Michaelangelo, Bernini, in ancient Greek and Hellenistic styles, by Auguste Rodin as also a lot of garden sculptures and with experimental material usage like hairpins, plastic, masking tape, brown paper. It amazed me and filled me with an acute curiosity to know of what went through the sculptor’s mind when he embarked on creating one of his creations. Sculpting is so much more intimate and passionate as compared with other art forms. It requires a close understanding and openness with the subject.

When I see intricately carved anatomical details in marble, something about the human physical form intrigues me with a compassion so overbearing and overwhelming I can’t quite express. Why have we caged our bodies and our souls in shrouds of fabric is beyond my comprehension?! It seems morally very correct to respect and obey the rules of staying in a socially-knit community but the very emphasis on putting it under a policing eye is retrogressive. It means that we are fighting against the geographies of our bodies and an existence that threatens to becomes volatile if suppressed too long. Surely the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations saw the human body as a more artistic entity and less as a moralistic proposition as we have now created it to be many centuries later. It’s very fascinating to note that while the ancient people had more tolerant and liberal art senses, us modern humans sadly seemed to have shunned the progressive mantle over art.

This very dangerous assumption that our geographies instead of expanding our sensibilities have instead had us descending over a comparative physical existence is saddening. Our capacities for generating personal physical boundaries beyond the ones existing due to a social code of tradition are immensely vast. Each one of us devises a socio-geographical relation with another individual, a place, an entity for our own personal worldly pursuits. Does this then mean that our understanding of ‘being’ is an imaginary concept? Do we belong to some place or just create a visual in time to pacify our restless spirits? There seem to be an availability of monstrous possibilities of our choices, each hurting or helping our individual aim to get through a day, week, months and years, together. I have always felt that not knowing is the biggest salvation as also a great discomfort to many of us who speed through moments hurriedly without stopping by to take in the happenings. It is in this nowhere of crevices that we stop when the world seems to be running away from us. Only in moments of solitude do we look out for the geographies of nothingness and understand the complexities of our contradictory behaviour in private and public space. It is this inward awakening of the darkness and suffering which engulf us, that we truly begin discovering and altering the geography of our existence. Borges wrote about the thousands of images from which he shall pass to one; from a highly complex dream to a dream of utter simplicity.


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