Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Deep in the Mines

Deep in the Mines 1

Deep in the Mines 1 (2000)

Fractals sometimes transcend their parameters. If they are art -- and I'm guessing that most of us think they are -- then our images reflect some deeper part of ourselves. Our dreams. Our buried treasures.

Tina got me thinking about this standing on the shoulders of giants business. It's true that someone built the mine by writing a program or a formula. But the artist still has to take that journey to the underworld and cart back the gold or silver.

It's a dangerous business. Rooting around under the surface for meaning. Sometimes you strike it rich. Other times what you find blows up in your face.

And there's no drop dead canary telling you when your image glitters or smells like gas.

Deep in the Mines 2

Deep in the Mines 2 (2000)

I've often used the word spelunking to describe my artistic process. I crawl through images -- hauling out dirt, clearing a path to see what still lies ahead. It can be claustrophobic. Sometimes I chip away at one delicate section for hours. Sometimes I thrash around blindly. Even a cave-in is better than finding nothing.

Maybe someone caved or carved out parts of this mine before me. But I'm still the one who has to go down there -- again -- alone -- in the dark.

The classics are filled with treacherous journeys to the underworld where ghosts linger and are haunted by their memories of life. Maybe, like Orpheus, my images will sing, and I'll return to the light with something I love. Unless I get impatient. Unless I turn around to look at what I've made before the trip is finished. We've read the story. We know what happens then.

I think fractals can reveal memories from the substratum. They flock around Odysseus at the pit of blood. If you risk going underground, they might settle around you like leaves encircling a tree. Or they might mock you from the safety of the shadows.

They are more than "the cold equations" of Tom Godwin's moving story. They are like engrams. Brain scans anyone can read.

There's plenty of uranium deep in the mines. With it, you can see inside yourself.

And see through others, too.

Deep in the Mines 3

Deep in the Mines 3 (2000)

Mine.

Mind?

Dig still deeper...

Deep in the Mines 4

Deep in the Mines 4 (2000)

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. I have bits of poems or images partially unburied in my head. I've learned to get up immediately and start shoveling with my pen or keyboard. If I don't, those whispers from the Muse will vanish like Eurydice.

Here's something I wrote in my notebook several years ago in a semi-sleepwalk:

The mine
is darker than
the last thing you
said
to me
ten years ago
today.

Someone probably said something similar before me. Maybe I should have left this lump of coal resting under tons of rock.

But we don't, do we? We open our notebooks and our programs -- and, with dim light pouring from our foreheads, we start digging.

And, sometimes, if we persevere and are lucky, we uncover something.

A nugget pick-axed out of the ore.

A diamond hewn from the darkness of the subconscious.

Rare chunks of art hauled out from deep in the mines into the open air for all to see.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Mine

Etching glass
Azure is mine
To mime

Dinosaurs
Compressed
Into coal

That the mine
Turns to fire
Or diamonds

Without which
Surface
Would be all

[Disposable Poem December 28, 2006]

Anonymous said...

The Mine # 2

Tunneling whole
Beyond the grave
Designs mark time

Signs winnow language
Slake black rock
Colder than a mind

Redesigns what
Deigns to blind
Streaks of light

Furrows howl coals
Burrows to face
Mine not mine

[Disposable Poem December 28, 2006]

Anonymous said...

The Mine # 3

Spores cluster
Globules in pendants
Tears opalesce

Ropes gnarl and tug
Signals up the line
Gas masks

Gongs strike
And echo
Canaries in the mine

Too much
Independence
Masks weakness

[Disposable Poem December 28, 2006]

Anonymous said...

The Mine # 4

Follow instructions
Don a mask
Breathe oxygen

What's mine is mine
Consider the opposite
May also be true

Even when beneath
The surface
Surface is all

Once behind the mask
There may be
No identity

[Disposable Poem December 28, 2006]

cruelanimal said...

Thanks. I'm enjoying these variations on a theme.

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