Category Archives: aisha pagnes

Post-lab thoughts

At the Zandmotor, any attempt to sustain a philosophical thought becomes redundant; any artistic intention, misplaced and pretentious.

At the zandmotor, your pretenses fail. There is no space for you to hide behind, to cover and protect your self with. The wind is too loud, the cold too visceral, the distances too deceiving for your brittle mask and that which you make up yourself with in your daily social habitus.

You quickly realize that competing with one another is inessential; competing with the environment is simply comical.

At the zandmotor, etiquette is something you tend to lose as you go. There are no bathrooms here, no clean water; no shelter. Food and water you bring if you remember and warmth you find stumbling in an attempt to run.

Inadequacy is what your movement is stiffened with. You stumble, you walk slower, you shiver and estimate distances in a way that only a person who is used to short-sightedness does.

The landscape is vast and you so very small. Your sense of self quickly scales to become part of a homogeneous ecosystem, where one is as important as the other. You are no less valuable than the ocean; you are no more valuable than the grain of sand. You are of the same fabric, merely in different form.

But of course, such romantic notions are only rarely felt. There is hardly anything romantic about the Zandmotor, if not for its striking colors during a storm.

The cold is crippling. Motivation and meaning mockingly stay behind to watch you move around with that little bit of integrity that enables you to call this outing a class.

The Zandmotor is bare and boundless. And yet in sand, wind and water we find the essence of its expansion: the infinitesimal.

At the Zandmotor the horizon dances. Walk over a sand dune and you’ll quickly lose sight of the black specks that are your classmates.

Distances and spaces have a scale of their own.

Approaching the Zandmotor is a gradual loss of purpose. Why do I do what I do? Why does it matter? This place was here before me, and will be after me. Our interventions matter little. And if they do it is to remind us of our fragility, need for companionship and that ephemerality is at the base of our existence.

It is easy to lose your bearings here; and as you slowly gain them back as you re-enter society’s more visual constructs, you begin to notice just to what extent we have modified our environment to suit our human needs in a human scale. The Zandmotor is not so hierarchical.

The quintessential purpose of the elements lab is to then take you out of your element and into the Zandmotor’s. At times, a rather discomforting practice, but most importantly, a reminder for how complacent we have become in our planned safety, how we have forgot to intuitively and respectfully engage with nature and anything that does not fit our scale or schedule. The zandmotor has a time of its own. Emails and appointments become ludicrous here. Bettering one self and franticly huffing up the ladder of self-improvement and recognition becomes redundant.

You may however, sit and smile, ignorantly and simply.

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