A bridge and a mound of sand and the sea lapping the shore and the original instinct to dig into the ground, to burrow, to ferret and to see what is on the other side.
Where is that other side? Did Alice fall through a wormhole when she fell into her Wonderland? Yet the Einstein-Rosen bridges had not in general relativity been realised when Lewis Caroll sent his Alice hurtling through time and space. „All time is eternally present. In my beginning is my end“ . So maybe those space time tubes acting as short cuts between vast distances existed long before they were discovered by man.
Journeying on time-travel, the nomads of imagination plunging into a hollow earth to find new civilisations not at the other end but at its very centre, the unending yet futile search for a better, for an other humanity. The entry into brave new worlds or utopias, and what does it mirror? "Hollow men" and women in a wasteland, "headpieces filled with straw"? A Kingdom where the sun never sets? With its religious, if you will, Christian overtones of theopolitics and theoeconomics and theocolonialism making a perfect metaphor for, and dovetailing neatly into, the other present day Empire of globalisation, of the New World Order, where the dance around the golden calf of Christian lore now metamorphosed into a chase of the golden deer of Capital, this shy creature, wary of social justice, and always ready to run away from responsibility, from rooting. Its golden and silver dung dropping through global wormholes and cyber tunnels that span the globe and connect the world virtual and real - on which the sun never sets. Electronic data gathered by cyber coolies, sitting in miniscule cubicles, for cyber lords. Is this connectivity - all these hotlines and call centres in Calcutta or Ougadougou? And is this productivity, all this outsourcing to China or Rumania? Or is this all just a subtler form of slavery?
One man’s gasoline is another man’s hunger. Globalisation gone mad. Reflections, spitting images, digitally pixelled beamed illusions or Maya?
And the nomads of imagination now soaring -bound by no boundaries to create art, for instance, ancient mandalas made with a crushed sand of precious or semiprecious stones. To labor for days tracing intricate patterns only to erase it on completion. Chanting Tibetan monks on one side of the world sweeping their mandala into a jar and pouring it into water, into the stream, the river, the sea. In my end is my beginning. And on the other side of the world Navajo American Indians also destroying their sand painting, their work of labour, before dawn to maintain harmony. Only the impermanant is permanent. This is the ultimate luxury in the Bataille sense of the word: the creation of art, and with its erasure the destruction of riches a wasteful expenditure which cannot be accounted for by the principle of gain.
Come a storm, come the tide, the work is reclaimed and incorporated into the cycle of life or it is released through the cosmic hole. Thus the voyage without boundaries may begin. And on the wind swept shores of Busan one hears the creakings of self-mockery.
Hamburg 2008, © Navina Sundaram; journalist and filmmaker
> Busan Biennale, Busan, S. Korea