IB 04 | [inner] travelling : Oxford 01/a
22/06/23 : morning
It would have been Grandma Zaira's birthday today: born in Triest in 1913. A Cancerian. Anyway, I am at the Ashmolean Museum, today and I got lost taking so many pictures it is beyond belief. All about faces and patterns, inscriptions, markings, and writings. I am fascinated by faces and patterns. I remember when I started doing Art at Blackburn College in Sept 2018 I went to Manchester Museum and, again, I took pictures of patterns. Patterns, markings, repetitions [that very old post is HERE]. That was on the 21st of Sept 2018, I was tiptoeing around ideas and here I am publicly admitting that museums interest me way more than art galleries. Old patterns, a cut-out of an old letter, and some mysterium scribbling on papyrus fascinate me way more. They enthral me. It is a form of almost hypnosis. It feels like a scavenger hunt in which I am there for the sole purpose to find something. What? Well, that's the question. I have no idea.
When I came back from this trip I had a long and interesting conversation with DT, my therapeutic supervisor, and I told him how I need to travel, it's a calling, not just a compulsion. Even now that I am sitting here writing this in the comfort of my living room surrounded by warm cats, I know I have to leave. I know, deep within, that there is something I am supposed to find. I would call it, for the sake of this [long] post "a connection". "A Something". He was arguing, and rightly so, that may be simply the act of going is the end. There is no actual end but the process itself. I know that this is what many travellers would say: Travelling is the goal, packing and moving and returning is the whole point. In my case, I know within that there is something I am looking for. There is a Key, the End of the Skein. I am sitting or standing somewhere with my hands holding one end while gently pulling, un-ravelling, un-knotting this cacophony of threads in front of me. I am like Gretel, the step-daughter of the poor woodcutter following breadcrumbs. Or any other version of the 1697 Le Petit Poucet. I am moving, I am following hints, I come back with stories. Until I find what I am looking for.
[This feels interesting if I am considering my MA by Research on Drawing // which sent me on this trip // and the idea that Tim Ingold describes lines as a thread or "as a filament of some kind, which might be entangled with other threads or suspended between points in three-dimensional space" [p.39]. [Lines, A Brief History - Tim Ingold - 2007 - HERE].
So, the interesting bit about looking, again, for patterns and faces; the expression of the people who made those carvings, those statues, those writings. Who were they? Were they in love, hungry, or poor? Why this interest for the private? If by the Law of Conservation of Mass, nothing is created and nothing is lost but everything is transformed [from the original Anaxagore and then Antoine Lavoisier] was there a part of me, there then? Also, I was really emotionally reactive to the museum-gypsotheca, or the collection of plaster casts, within the Ashmolean. That whiteness, that sense of purity [yes, I know,l all doubtable for all the good ethical reasons, but still...] was breathtaking.
Following this thread of mine which enticed me from Blackburn to Oxford and here into the Ashmolean, I bought the tickets to visit the exhibition dedicated to Knossos and the labyrinth : now, don't tell me that synchronicities are not interesting and do not happen!
INFO can be found online HERE.
I am here, realising that I am searching for "something" and I am presented with an entire exhibition about searching, looking, hiding, and finding. And you still don't believe me?! What better metaphor than the story of the Labyrinth of Knossos. Daedalus [do you remember that part of my writings since APR 22 on here is under the label daedalae...] anyway, Daedalus is the guy who designed the labyrinth so that the Minotaur could not escape. Theseus devised a plan to kill the Beast, then Ariadne [who was in charge of the labyrinth and the sacrificing of 7 boys and 7 girls to the Minotaur every 7 years] fell in love with him, betrayed her father the King and the Country by deciding to help him. She gave him a sword to kill the Minotaur and... a ball of thread...
I am onto something here
I can feel it
so this whole post is turning
into something very personal
...to come back to her. Then something happened and she ended up marrying Dyonisus, the God of wine, partying, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy, also known as Dyonisus Eleutherios or The Liberator. Ariadne is also considered the embodiment of the Roman Libera, or Freedom, and they both fit so darn well with me.
All of this interests me because of the metaphor with an inner journey, this outer trip mirroring what is going on inside, the following of an imaginary thread, this travelling within, the killing of the Minotaur, half man and half bull; the metaphorical getting lost to then be found. "Ed usciron a riveder le stelle" of Dantescan memory. It is wayfaring. It is experiencing. It is looking at synchronicities such as this one or Energy calling me towards a book about a book which might not even exist...
It is trusting.
And also trusting that this was only morning. Then lunch and the Beauty that happened next.
onwards + upwards,
Dates : 22 JUN 2023
Journey : car : 32 miles + bus : 3 miles
Steps : 8,943
Entrance : Ashmolean Museum : free + Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth + Reality Exhibition : £7.65 with student discount