ROCKLAND, Maine: Installed September 24, 2017
Ice Core, Memory of the Planet (2017)
5 mins 14 seconds
Interview with Paul Mayewski, Director of the Climate Change Institute at University of Maine.
Mayewski has led 55 expeditions to some of the remotest polar and high altitude reaches of the planet.
I'd like to share an excerpt from Anne Carson's "Wildly Constant" part of her beautiful collection Float.
... The library contains not books
The glaciers are upright.
As perfectly ordered as books would be.
But they are melted.
What would it be like
to live in a library
of melted books?
With sentences streaming over the floor
and all the punctuation
settled to the bottom as residue.
It would be confusion.
Roni Horn once told me
that one of the Antarctic explorers said
To be having an adventure
is a sign of incompetence.
When I'm feeling
at my most incompetent
as I do in Stykkishólmur
many a dark morning
walking into the wind
I try to conjure in mind
something that is the opposite of incompetence.
For example the egg.
This perfect form.
In your dreams
said a more recent Arctic explorer (Anna Freud)
you can have your eggs cooked as perfectly as you want
but you cannot eat them.
Sometimes at night
when I can't sleep
because of the wind
I go and stand
in the library of glaciers.
I stand in another world.
Not in the past not the future.
Not paradise not reality not
An other competence.
Wild and constant.
And who knows why it exists.
I stand amid glaciers.
Listen to the wind outside
falling toward me from the outer edges of night and space.
I have no theory
of why we are here
or what any of us is a sign of.
But a room of melted glaciers
reverberating with the nightwind of Stykkishólmur
is a good place to ponder it.
Each glacier is lit from underneath
as memory is.
Proust says memory is of two kinds.
There is a daily struggle to recall
where we put our reading glasses
And there is a deeper gust of longing
that comes up from the bottom
of the heart
At sudden times.
For surprise reasons.
Here is an excerpt from a letter Proust wrote
We think we no longer love our dead
but that is because we do not remember them'
we catch sight of an old glove
and burst into tears.
Before leaving the library
I turn off the lights.
The glaciers go dark.
Then I return to Greta's house.
Wake up my husband.
Ask him to make us some eggs.
Roni Horn's Library of Water, referenced in the work above.