Note to self: drinking fizzy pop while blogging is not a good combination…
This is another view of what’s under my feet as I walk to work; these are the steps up to the Golden Jubilee Bridge by London’s South Bank.
Maezing asked if I minded if she used this idea about the streets in Costa Rica, where she lives. She says that the walkways there look very different. Thinking about this, I looked up Costa Rica on Google Earth. I love being able to zoom around the world on this application, tracking journeys that I or other people have taken, and tracing my life backwards through images of previously lived-in or visited rooftops and landscapes.
These notions of place and belonging remind me of one of my favourite artists, Mona Hatoum. She’s a Lebanon-born artist whose work often deals with issues of displacement, exile and home. Hatoum’s experience of home is coloured by the fact that she had been twice dispossessed by her early twenties. She was born in Beirut to Palestinian parents exiled from their homeland. In 1975 she was visiting London when war broke out in Lebanon; she was unable to return home and remained in the UK. This is a shot of her 1999 work, Map:
It is made up of clear glass marbles spread across a floor; national and political borders are not marked.
Her work, as here, is often fragile, contingent, and presents the familiar as unfamiliar or strange. In this piece, the unstable nature of the glass spheres on the floor plays hauntingly with, and ultimately refuses, our deep-rooted desire for a sense of solid foundations, a place to which we can belong.
The title of this post is from The Martyrdom of Man, written in 1872 by W. Winwood Reade, a Victorian traveler and a humanist. The full sentence is, ’Buried cities are beneath our feet; the ground on which we tread is the pavement of a tomb.’ He was talking about how he believed Christianity was built on the ruins of Egyptian civilisation.
I think it’s a beautiful phrase: so tell me, what’s beneath your feet?