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The coming turn of the Millennium is a starting point for speculation and forecasts of all kinds as to what the future may have in store for us. For this reason the peoples on this Earth of ours have the responsibility but also the opportunity of taking advantage of this moment of general anticipation in order to ex-press their will for peace. And so humanity could be given a positive impulse of awareness on the way into the next Millennium.
A work of art is the appropriate form of setting a monument to this spirit on the threshold of the new Millennium. For this reason we want to collect earth from all countries of the world and then put a part of the gathered earth together in a joint act of hope in the night to New Year's Day 2001: this is the Earth Sculpture of Hope and Vision.
There is still a long way to go before humanity reaches this goal. This road will be covered in advance by a group of people. They will carry the Vision on a hike of 2000 km to a cave in Hungary, where it will then be kept in a stone vessel shaped like the Grail.
The physical impulse for the hike signalizes that people should literally put themselves
in motion for their aims. The starting-point on the way humanity still has to go is smboliz- ed by a sculpture, in which the remaining portions of earth from the countries are pre-sented separately: this is the Earth Sculpture of the Present.
We, who live beside one another on and from this Earth, can take influence on the conditions of our co-existence. The change in the way of thinking, necessary for the realization of the Vision demands from each and everyone of us the readiness to - metaphorically speaking - go on a pilgrimage inside ourselves.
This Delphic Recognize Yourself, which was a basic condition for the aspired success of the philosophy of the Enlightenment, can be found inside the work of art in a mythologi-cal structure.
I. The Project
1. Formal Order of Events
The Gathering of the Earth
It is planned to import one litre of earth from each of the countries of the world and to divide each of these portions into two halves. One half of the earth from each country will be filled into glass vessels provided with the names and flags of the nations con-cerned. These vessels will then be exhibited in alphabetical order in a glass cabinet.
The remaining halves will be put together in a ceremonial act exactly at midnight in
the night to January 1st of the year 2001 and so form one homogeneous mass.
In our time, in which even the shortest distances are covered by motorization, great attention will be given to a group of people, who are ready to cover a distance of 2000 km on foot for a vision. For people of the dawning Millennium, such an extraordinary action can provide an inspiring metaphor of hope, symbolizing their ability to take action themselves.
- The hike will pass through Germany, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary.
- The group of hikers will consist of about 20 people of different origins.
- A distance of 20-30 km will be covered daily.
- During the hike there should be an exchange between different cultures and disciplines. This will occur in attendant events on the one hand and in an open exchange with all those who are interested on the other hand.
- The hike will last two and a half months.
The Baradla-Domica-Cave, which has been included in the list of the UNESCO world heritage is unique in the world with respect to its geological history and morphology. With its extensive ramifications it extends to a distance of 25 km. It possesses an almost infinite number of impressive domes. Why should the stone vessel - similar to the Grail - be kept in a cave?
- On account of its natural growth it supports the aspect of the work of art in uniting peoples as it has entrances from both the Slovak and Hungarian sides.
- It offers the vessel natural shelter.
- Experiencing the overwhelming beauty of the cave and in reverence to this work of nature, the observer will realize his own responsibility when he becomes aware of the vision.
The Sculpture at the End of the Hike
With the Baradla-Domica-Cave and the Leopold Hoesch-Museum two rooms are available for the work of art, in which the earth sculptures will be opened to the public henceforth. The sculpture will win attractiveness after the hike, especially by a video- installation switched to "real time" at the two places, thus connecting the two points.
On the screens the respective visitors at the relevant places can watch one another, so becoming part of the sculpture. In the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum black and white videos with impressive views of the hike will be shown in the same room, thus providing the installation with an suitable atmosphere.
2. The Project 2000 and the Aesthetics of its Reception
Mythological metaphors, which have been continuously present in the human psyche
as archetypes, have been used. They exist in all cultures and describe human develop-ment. The project gains its power from three basically simple but still archetypal meta-phors:
1. The collecting and putting together of earth has its equivalent in the way the human psyche tries to achieve a balance between its different inherent aspects.
2. The pilgrimage has been used as a symbol of initiation rites in all the different cultures and - as an archetype - is a metaphor for individual and collective develop-ment ( individuation and history).
3. The earth is kept in a vessel, which in turn is hidden in and by the cave. The vessel, as one of the oldest features of culture, possesses an ominous characteristic and is known in all cultures as a "hidden treasure". It is also an expression of the self, around which human existence inquiringly rotates.
By intensely following the mythological metaphors the recipient will understand the action spontaneously. In addition, the work of art will obtain an "aura" which does not originate from any aesthetic fashion but springs from the depths of the human soul.
II. The Project and the Problems of our Time
Existence in the area of conflict between individuality and the collective
As a result of the progressing individualization, the generations of today experience a freedom never dreamt of before. This, however, goes along with a growing breaking-off of social bonds, which causes problems in interhuman spheres between the generations as well as the peoples.
The project deals with this area of conflict, which already existed in Greek mythology, and makes it clear that ones own individuation (the pilgrimage in me) can only be imagined within the collective.
Process of Globalization
In no other era as in ours were the different cultures at the mercy of alien cultural influences. The truth is: the strengthening of the relevant cultural identities leads to a stable world community. Here the myth, which - because of its archetypal character - will be universally understandable, points at the self-awareness within the framework of a fundamental solidarity.
In the social solidarity within a society, the myth we envisage plays quite an essential part beside the state and the dogmatic myth (religion). On account of its ability to become more like the "spirit of the times" through its form, it can succeed again and again in integrating man socially. By using the myth as the oldest educational model the citizen can be more intensely integrated into the European process of unification.
Integration by Supporting the Common Cultural Heritage
The Parceval Myth underlying the project is the best known and still the most fascinating mythological configuration.. This common spiritual-cultural heritage is
able to abstract the challenges of today in a metaphor. The abstraction, respectively reduction, of the problem to its archetypal structure is an important requirement in the process of understanding.
III. Further Features of the Project
Synthesis of Different Genres
In the sculpture cultural heritage and new technologies will be interwoven in a way unique until now for works of art.
- The Baradla-Domica-Cave, which even has the status of a world heritage (UNESCO), will - in connection with the sculpture - become a place of cultural interest for a wider public.
- The Parceval Myth as an immaterial heritage will be actualized by its new form and disclosed as a common cultural heritage.
- The video-installation, which - in a live programme - makes it possible for people at the relevant places to communicate beyond the frontiers of the different countries, integrates people into the sculpture.
The Symbolic Value
In order to accelerate the spititual integration of the peoples of the world community, great cultural events of high symbolic value are essential. The symbols, however, must be examined as to their long-term effectiveness. With the reduction of the Grail myth to its archetypes, such a symbol can be recognized in all civilizations, since it is deeply rooted in the collective memory of all people.
IV. Chronological Order of Events
|Gathering of the earth|
New Years Eve 2000/01
|Putting the portions of earth together in a large-scale celebration|
June - August 2001
|Pilgrimage from Düren, Germany to the Baradla-Domica-Cave in Aggtelek, Hungary|
from August 2001
|The starting-point and destination of the pilgrimage offer henceforth the opportunity of reception of the work of art|