March 20, 2010
A Digital Derive Twitter Performance
This trip report is prepared in the spirit of dérive and Obscura Day. For those of you who prefer a more traditional approach to the location, I recommend this guide.
Also, Fair Park makes a lovely place for a picnic.
I was reminded most recently on good authority that plants are, in fact, zombies. Ancient, slow moving zombies which are easily outrun (well, most of the time). As we are nominally predators whose senses are tuned towards detecting and battling fellow dominant carnivores, this is easy to forget, and so I am indebted to the near-ancients for encoding in the grounds of Dallas
Fair Park a guide to surviving a possible plant-ocalypse.
Like many sacred spaces and urban ruins alike, the fairgrounds are layered literally and conceptually, with new construction, altered symbols and gnomons whose original klatur has been lost to time, weather and reuse.
It is telling, therefore, that the most potent reminder of the site's original purpose was put in place nearly a century after the groundbreaking. While the grounds were originally established in 1886, they took their present shape in 1936 and it is the 1986 work of Patricia Johanson that contains a most obvious message.
And so we will begin here and work backwards through the symbols.
Johanson's tentacular spectacular embraces the manmade pond (referred to, tellingly, as a lagoon), wrapping both sides in a frozen embrace of bloodred concrete whose visual vocabulary more directly invokes the coming of the tentacled one than any I've ever seen before (Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn). Add to this the title of the piece Pteris Multifida, a biological reference to "Spider Fern" which most actively populates disturbed areas. Ominous in tone in any language, multifida translates as "divided many times" reminding us that the biomass of all the plants on earth exceeds the biomass of humans by at least an order of magnitude!
In 2010, these forms provide a pleasurable diversion for school children on holiday, but whomever does witness this spectacle without a shiver of does not comprehend the true purpose!
For those with eyes to see and a mind to comprehend, these many segmented arms of concrete
provide only the most obvious symbol.
There are many more.
Leading off of gate four (四 of course = 不利) is an enormous reflecting pool painted in two shades of Egyptian blue. Besides the obvious reference to Sobek/Anpu, the top of the pool is flanked by hyper-stylized male and female figures which were originally clad in pure silver.
Colloidal silver is an excellent antiseptic with the unfortunate side effect of turning (returning?) individuals blue. This is perhaps a secondary reading of the pool, whose color and purpose is to wash our minds limpid so we can better understand the murals which flank the approach:
Once across a massive parking lot at the top of the reflecting pool, we arrive at the Texas Hall of State. The upper lintels of the building are inscribed with the names of folk heros of the republic, nearly all of whom evoke a last stand of an outnumbered but proud people (Texas is, after all, the Lone Star State in exactly the same sense that our solar system is lone-star.)
The eastern approach to this building is flanked by two cornerstones inscribed FORTUNE and ADVENTURE. In addition, a small Cthulu-as-Agave shrine warns us of the danger of Tequila Dentata.
This is not the only reference to Mesoamerican cosmology. Coatlicue, the devouring mother, makes her appearance among the workers and soldiers of the world, reminding us the proper definition of apocalypse is not destruction but rebirth. Our technologies will consume and invert the order, but the march is relentless!
The foundation of the portico is inscribed regularly with the international symbol for Civil Defense, reminding us that our best hope
is found at home.
On the exterior doors of the building are recurring reminders that we are not alone in this defense if we are capable of bringing together our animal and technological sensibilities. After all, isn't the great plan encoded already in the nature of things?
Located not far from this building are the headquarters of a mysterious organization whose golden eagle embraces both sky and ground with shining wings of glory:
Novus Order Seclorum of course brings to mind the Bilderberg Group, so it's fitting that the courtyard of this structure is where our journey ends, with a final symbolic reminder of hope for the coming battle. Here stands a statue bestowed on us by the people of Berlin, as a reminder that all the mammals will fight together against the vegitiginous onslaught. But will it be enough? Even if we manage to acknowledge a common bond, the question remains: is nature red in tooth and claw, purple in radiation and wavicle, or green in leaf and tentacle? Time has turned the bear verdigris, and may yet do the same to us.
- Dallas Texas, Mar 20, 2010