When I waked up this morning, I could see a big rock through the apartment window. I’m in Rio de Janeiro. I could see that the rock was part of the mountain. I’m living at the foot of the mountain. It gives a feeling of being safe. The mountain is like a giant protective body; An accumulation of energy. Being so close to the mountain, being able to touch its rocky surface and smell its green vegetation, really makes me think of it as a being; a living thing with a soul.
Mountains make us feel small and part of something bigger. It is a magic feeling of being in the world and the feeling of nature being projected within one’s own mind and body.
Then there is the shape of a mountain: A triangle, or almost a triangle. The shape is so basic and fundamental that we don’t even think about it.It is simply the way it should be. The shape “fits” so well to the rest of the surrounding nature (the see the sky) and even to the city where buildings and streets are adapted to the presence of the mountain. When I watched people watching the sunset on one of the big rocks between Copacabana and Ipanema beach, I couldn’t help thinking that the people’s silhouettes on the left looked very similar to the silhouettes of the mountains on the horizon.
While I was sitting and watching the sunset, I could also feel the heat from the rock platform. At that moment, the rock even felt soft and its surface reminded me of skin. I was still thinking about the connection between the human body and the mountain. An artwork by Zhang Huan came to my mind. “To add 1 meter to an unknown mountain”.
Suddenly I could see human mountains all over. Even the beach vendors looked like small mountains. There were walking up and down selling different kinds of beach clothing and accessories. Their mobile “boutiques” were attached to their bodies with creative belts and carrying tools. When they walk, they look like moving human mountains. I tried to draw them:
My best friend and artist Nina Wengel wrote about these and other mountains. She also painted them. She always approaches mountains as human beings. When she was in Rio for some years ago, I got a text from her. It was a fictive poetic text that I came to think about, today when waking up under the mountains.
I was no different from other people.
I liked things. I liked buying things.
When I was feeling very down, what made me happy again,
was buying a pair of shoes.
Once I got very bad news, I had to buy two pairs,
but then the mood did change.
Even though had been going through a lot of pain, fear, suffering and so on,
like every other normal person does,
and even though I had been trying to detach myself more and more, from my body, from the physical world, not trusting it anymore,
I was just as, if not more, materialistic than ever.
I understood, that this is not the way,
A human being should really be,
Being normal relieved me though.
And so, it was working out all right for a while for me for a while.
Until that morning I woke up and couldn’t move.
During the night, without me noticing,
All my things had sneaked up on me,
In a pile on the size of a minor Danish mountain,
(Which is not big, but huge from the perspective
of someone lying under it), leaving only my head free,
For me to have a nice look of all of these things.
Tank tops, flowerpots, clips and clamps, bicycle pumps (three of those),
Brushes and pencils, carpets, boxes of stuff, I had no idea what contained – they might had been hiding in the ceiling, children’s drawings – that had come all the way form my parents house!
I had become, during the night, a magnet of all stuff that I’d kept.
I didn’t die there. I was a bit brushed though, after they moved the stuff.
My parents came to check on me. My mum, always practical, asking me whether we should not use the opportunity, having all the stuff in a pile right there,
To through away some of it, to “clear out the clutter”, as she put it.
This harmed me, and the harm surprised me.
Couse why would it?
And then I realized, that something had changed.
The stuff had become a part of me, during that night,
We had become a mountain,
And though the mountain was moved, I was still very much a part of it,
Oh yes, you would say, but of course, old children’s drawings,
Who wouldn’t fell attached to them? We’re all sentimental!
NO, I say, no! Not like that. I’m speaking of old flowerpots.
Flowerpots, that I hardly new existed, that no one would care for,
Empty plastic bottles of the kind that are not even with a bottle deposit,
And which I hadn’t bought on some love travel to France or anything like that,
No sentimental strings attached, no economic interest, nothing, zip, zero
of any rational reason, that I could think of, would attach me to these objects, that I was so harmed, my mum was kindly offering me to help me get rid of. That’s what I am trying to make clear. No rational reason what so ever, besides this, that these things had become a part of me, like an arm or a leg, and, the to me unknown flowerpot, some sort of important gland, that I never even knew existed. Which is not a rational reason, I guess. But I don’t think I need to explain, that you do not through away your arm in order “to clear out the clutter”.
And where did this leave me? See, this is how we come around. Cause since then, I hardly if ever buy anything, a least not before I twisting and turning it to decide, whether this object is good enough to become my tenth arm.