Situating your awareness of the ruins (of history and nature) in the present creates a scene where the distance between culture/nature collapses. Culture, as the short cycle of modern materials and their artificial cycle rapid in degeneration and violent destruction, and nature, as a slime dynamics of materia, have never been mutually exclusive categories.
…and so they collide together like tectonic plates in the imagination.
Works of art are part of the cycle of growth and decay tuned into the cycles of nature. As artifact, works may merge with nature by being weathered by its effects and processes, as placing the artifact into ruination. The intention is to recognize the mode of destruction in the construction itself and visa versa.
On the scale of geologic time or set within geologic time, described as atemporal, there exists a corollary movement in the temporal continuum: imagining scales that exceed you. In the temporal continuum what is observed is that none of the processes of decay are arbitrary.
Growth/decay, life/death – all of our convenient fictions – exist on a slime planet chained to the heliocentric and the nuclear explosion, and everything ‘below’ on Earth is subject to that which is also ‘above’ in the heavens: catastrophe.
As a painter everything I paint is a death allegory because open to catastrophic processes. Each mark creates but also undoes an entire world.
Romanticism seemed to be a corruption of authentic mystical symbolism. The point surely is not to condense the world down into a symbolic object capable of communicating classical and transcendental value, but to confront the radical disparate elements of the world in immanent formulation because that is that authentic feature of a nature-doing-what-nature-does.
I am old fashioned I guess because I still think there is a sacred dimension. This is what is sacred: that any object is capable of signifying any meaning, as existences within existences within existences, and as the infinitizing process of all genera.
Further, the aim could be that this could become a sensibility as well as a method.
It would not to aspire for completion since this would evoke closure or totality, as if to present an artificially stable image of harmony and perfection that insinuates transcending history and time, while exiling the catastrophe of life. No, the catastrophe ought to be front and center. The catastrophic as an emphasis is on the specificity and contingency of lived experience, as well as on the transience to present the finitude of life.
…The frailty of the Sacred adrift in time.
As Walter Benjamin noted in Origin of the German Tragic Drama, the allegorical way of seeing (of the Baroque) was that the world was only meaningful in the stations of its decay. The greater the subjection to death the greater the significance, because according to Benjamin, “death digs most deeply the jagged line of demarcation between physical being and significance.” [p 166]
So let us have significance.