Things are not what they appear to be …

untitled #098 (invisible city) 26 June 2014

untitled #098 (invisible city) 26 June 2014

“Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise.” (The Surangama Sutra)

The image is a detail of “Invisible City”, created in 2003 by Anton Parsons, and located on Lambton Quay, Wellington, at the intersection with Grey Street. But I have reoriented and cropped my image to emphasise the illusion of steel balls falling.

The Wellington Sculptures web-site notes that “The stainless steel of this sculpture seems to glow with an inner light. The magnified Braille text suggests a message, but the artist chooses to deny us access, raising issues of communication in the contemporary world, and the difficult interface between the disabled and the rest of the community.”

Anton Parsons explains: “Invisible City is an appropriate public work because it functions on several levels: Aesthetics – even without understanding that the dots on the two boxes are braille text, Invisible City is an aesthetically pleasing object – it doesn’t have to be read to be appreciated. Tactile – it is made to be touched. Surface – Invisible City is polished stainless steel, and reflects its surroundings. When looking at it you see a reflection of Wellington.”

 

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2 thoughts on “Things are not what they appear to be …

  1. Fascinating altogether. As an image, as a sculpture, as a Braille text (I had no idea) — An artist who can explain so that it all makes sense, rare indeed.
    But most of all on your post I love the Zen saying, one of my favorites. (I heard it as a Zen saying, didn’t know it came from a sutra, but that doesn’t matter at all. It is what it is. Nicely illustrating the point, I think!)

    • That Zen saying intrigues and fascinates me, at times providing a powerful start-point for meditation. It pops up in a range of places, including more than one sutra.

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