Apr 7, 2013

inclined to decline

Cornelia Konrads' sculptures - made of found, local, natural materials - hover in midair. They have been described as "playful links" between worlds, invoking "the possibility of an entrance or the removal of a path, depending upon one’s interpretation of the direction... " 

Land Art by Cornelia Konrads, via Colossal

Konrads is an artist, with a background is in the philosophy and culture of science. This dual history seemed appropriate to us when we first saw her work, mostly because of this philosophy-of-science-favored question: how do you know whether a thing (the intelligence of a species, the universe...) is becoming or declining? The question warrants a pause for breath, to watch the thing hovering in mid-air.

Humans tend to fetishize objects that oscillate on our timeline, simultaneously decaying and giving every indication that they are historic in nature, and yet becoming more vibrantly alive with meaning, flourishing as they move into the future. We adore them - relics, restored ancient buildings, artifacts, time capsules. The last on that list is fascinating, and a bit embarrassing. The International Time Capsule Society estimates that there are approximately 10,000 time capsules in existence world wide. We bury these vessels deep in the earth, deftly certain that our message is the right one to send into the future, hopeful that it will be of interest, or help. The lists of time capsules are emblematic of how we see historic significance, and time. The global list includes:

A July 15, 1979 was found in Vulkanny, Russia, in 2012 under a statue of Lenin, containing messages to 2024's "socialist society."

An 1834 time capsule was discovered in 2009 under a statue of Miguel de Cervantes in Madrid, containing a guide, and four volumes of the 1819 edition of Don Quixote.

The largest time capsule in the world, a 45 ton vault, is buried in Seward, Nebraska. It was created by Harold Keith Davisson, a local store owner (and now celebrity) who had it buried under a mound of dirt on the front lawn of his home furnishings and appliances store, and filled it with over 5,000 items, including a pair of bikini panties, a man's aquamarine leisure suit with stitched yellow flowers, and a brand-new Chevy Vega, "the cheapest car he could find." When his time capsule's ranking was later threatened, he built another vault on top of it, and put a car in that one as well.

We're fashioning a capsule ourselves, here in the OSLab. A small one. We'd be happy to hear of any items or words of everlasting wisdom you think we should include...and feel free to send us a car.