Under The Dwindling Surface
Encircled by her arms as by a shell,
she hears her being murmur,
while forever he endures
the outrage of his too pure image...
Wistfully following their example,
nature re-enters herself;
contemplating its own sap, the flower
becomes too soft, and the boulder hardens...
It's the return of all desire that enters
toward all life embracing itself from afar...
Where does it fall? Under the dwindling
surface, does it hope to renew a center?
When I went hiking in a valley of the Alpujarras, the wild mountains south of Granada, I saw a young man washing his mirror in a small stream. He was about my age. Somehow I had to think of Narcissus, the hunter who rejected the love of others and fell in love with his own reflection. The Narcissus Myth is not only a parable of self-worship and of the concomitant exclusion of the other people in one's orbit. It is also an evocation of how vision—both optical and psychological—is constantly fleeting.
To me, Narcissus's attempt to embrace his image in the well feels like my attempt to evoke the seeable world in a photograph. What did I think I would encounter in this place? What did I think I would see here? I often do not know whether my focus should lie on myself or on the world beyond. Perhaps the people who live in this place are asking themselves the same questions. Maybe they are troubled by the same insecurities.
Weariness with civilization and the longing for a lived utopia drive many into the wilderness. Possibly this is how this commune in Andalusia, growing for 30 years, came into being. Many city dwellers plagued by society dream of solitude far away from worries and stress. A few live their vision for a while - and some even for many years. I was born in Germany. My parents and grandparents are mainly first or second-generation migrants. To this day, I don't know where I really belong, what place I want to call home. Examining this place helps me understand how I construct my own identity and how society defines independence and freedom.