Monday, December 29, 2008

The movement of trees

Unmoored from the fictions of fixity and stability, buildings, monuments, cities, and particularly the trees, reveal themselves as always already in motion. Taking a first cue from Virilio (see: the forward to Negative Horizon, or not), what might be taken as the movement of spaces, or anti-forms, or (sadly) the void, is also and actually the movement of all in this plenum of a world, the beauty of which is never quite fully understood. May we never fully understand. When I assume that a tree is fixed in space and that it is I who is moving, I kid myself. Let us not be tricked by measurements and predictions. Starting over, we say all is already moving.

It’s winter in San Francisco and the trees in Washington Square Park are bare, but alive and well. Absent their leaves, the trees here are, more than in any other season, a study in movement and presence. They tend to move in spirals. They tend to dance a dance that folds the movement of each one over and into the movement the others, into the movement of anyone who cares to participate simply by watching. The dance is particular to any configuration or cast that constitutes the dance, but always there is dancing. Winter trees (in Washington Square Park anyway) are more forthcoming; they are more willing to reveal themselves as moving in this way. More forthcoming because it is in the winter months that the trees explicitly admit that they have always already come to presence out of a juxtaposition with the spaces (or anti-forms if you prefer) that surround them. Together with the rickety lines of the trees in the winter months, the supple plush of the trees in spring, and the extension of bodies and buildings, these spaces constitute our plenum, and everything is in constant motion. Only against this background juxtaposition with these moving spaces (which of course are never empty) does anything come to presence at all.

Such is this study in movement and presence.

Of course there will be objections. But from where might these objections arise? What must these objections assume? What joys do these objections wish to dispel?