An Adventure in Stones and Adjectives

So I had a break in early September, and for the first couple of days, I found it really hard to stop thinking about work. I even sat down and worked for a couple of hours on the first Sunday, just to get some pesky work-to-do related thoughts out of my head. Which helped, as far as those thoughts were concerned, but work is obviously not really what one intends to do/ponder/be vaguely obsessed with/posessed by when going on a holiday.

So I decided that in order to not think about work so much, I really needed something else to think about a lot.

And the thing that I decided to think about a lot was … rocks.

Yes … rocks.

You can take me from the Sea … but you can’t take the Sea from me!

Let me explain:

So as some of you might know, I live close to the ocean. The Baltic Sea is super close to my house – about 4 mins of brisk walking – and while that’s the harbor, beaches to walk on aren’t much farther. So in an attempt to stop thinking about work, on the very same Sunday I spent doing some work (which annoyed me, because: time off etc) I went to the beach. And, being the beachcombing person most of us are, and given that I was also carrying my camera, I was looking for pretty/unusual/interesting things on the beach that one might photograph for the benefit of all the loyal visitors to my website (whoever y’all are :-)).

Amonst other things, I found the stone that you can see in the photograph. And, given that my photo posts often have random and/or lyrical names, I immediately thought something like “oooh, that looks like a wave! ooh, if I take a photo of this stone and post it in my blog, I could totally give it a weird-ass lyrical name that goes something like ‘You can take me from the sea …but you can’t take the sea from me!’ and then the Firefly peeps will maybe think its funny and/or people might think it is super deep and/or … hahaha anyway doesn’t that look like a wave? And boy’o’boy anthropomorphisation R us/that sure is a lot of meaning to ascribe to/interpret into/load onto that stone! It’s a rock! [It has no feelings/eyes/vulnerable spots]. But darn it, it sure does look something like a wave.” (Editor’s note: retrospective reconstruction)

And, thoughts like that, these days, always remind me of a headline Washington Post Express I encountered during my stint at the Library of Congress, which is in itself apparently a quote taken from something a NASA researcher (by the name of John Jenkins) said during a press conference on the discovery of Kepler-452b. And, I get it, it makes for a super catchy headline, it’s touching, emotional, etc … but it also makes super little sense, given that I’d think either A) the Earth already knew about Kepler-452b this entire time and is thus EXACTLY as lonely as it was the day before, OR B) that Earth has, in face, no consciousness to speak of whatsoever and loneliness thus does not apply – but to think C) that the Planet Earth learns something it didn’t know just because the Kepler spacecraft sent back some data that led some researchers to postulate the existence of a planet 1’400 light years away … yeah, hmm … I am not convinced.

All of which is a super long way of saying that I basically went “boy oh boy humans sure are meaningmakers” – IE we sure interpret a lot of things into things into things into things into things All The Time. Which, yeah, not a new thought or insight, neither for entire human race or even me (or Planet Earth?) … but all my overloaded lyricism when it came to that rock that has some discoloration that looks like a wave to humans familiar with the art of Katsushika Hokusai basically … bemused me.

And thus was born a project that can vaguely be described as:

“Pondering rocks and ascribing meanings. Also: photographs thereof.”

What happened is basically this: I solicited my facebook friends for adjectives and while they were busy completing that part of the project (without knowing why I was looking for adjectives*), I went to the beach and collected tiny-ish rocks semi-randomly (I wanted interesting rocks that are yet so small that they’d usually (presumably) get overlooked by the casual beachcomber). And then, well, I spent a lot of time adding the two together and taking photographs of the result.

The perspective/angle was inspired by what those ancient handwritten explanatory cards and their corresponding display pieces in small, dusty, never-updated museum display cases in small, weird, poor, county museums looked like to me as a kid. “Roman coin, found on local field. ~100BC”. (The lighting was worse there, though.)

Also: I know (next to) nothing about stones. Or, ya know, rocks.**

No rocks/stones were harmed in the making of this art gallery.
All stones/rocks to be released back into the wild at their place of origin.***

All that said:

Meaningmaker – the Gallery

*Sorry to disappoint: no list song. Also: thanks for sending in adjectives, folx!
**Further reading: Williams, David P. “Rock or Stone: Is there a difference?” Date accessed: Oct 01, 2020.
*** OK, not the wave. I am keeping the wave.