Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mongolian stair to nowhere

Eternal mobility and a space that tends towards immobility
  (+10, -2)(+10, -2)
(+10, -2)
  [vote for,

A very simple idea. In the geography of our unconscious mind, 'Mongolia' represents eternal mobility, swiftness, lightness, coming-and-going. The indefinite and the undefined. The metaphors and images derived from the vast steppe and its nomadic 'mongols' are endless as well (the hordes, the war machine that comes out of nowhere and that disappears just as fast.)

The grass gently moves in the perpetual wind that rolls over the never-ending hills.

Mongolia cannot be tamed. It is perpetually wild, we can get no grip on it. It slips out of our hands. These are crucial cliches that inhabit our mind. (It doesn't even matter that it's Mongolia, that's just a metaphor.)

Now add ambiguity. Locate a grassy hill, just pick one, it's not important which one. The one in the picture will do [link].

Build a large, very straight, abstract stair over this hill. A stair from rock-solid, highly polished granite or another blue-silvery stone that can be found locally. Say one step is 100 metres wide and 1 meter deep.

The stair goes up and down the hills, from nowhere to nowhere for a few kilometers on end. An open stair, not a Chinese wall (which is the opposite, defensive, protective, not inviting).

The giant, polished, reflecting stair can be seen from space.

The stair represents a bizarre interstitial space between mobility and stability. It allows you to move, but it is a paced kind of movement. It is a symbol of a kind form of 'culture': taming nature, without destroying it; recognizing its superiority, but still intervening in it to affirm our presence.

It's a monumental piece, but it is gently 'laid' over the hill. It doesn't impose itself like a pyramid or a wall. It is discreet, but monumental.

That's it.

Note, this has nothing to do with Mongols as people, merely with the symbols that inhabit our minds.

In practise, we will discuss this piece of landscape art with local families, offer them all the proceeds from the publicity and the occasional tourists, and we could build it together as a philosophical experience.

We build a stair. Nothing more.

Walking it would be quite strange, because it has no purpose. You travel through the steppe, only to see more steppe.

This would reinforce our primeval ideas about 'vast spaces'. We cannot grasp such spaces, we need some support to do so, but if we break the vastness with too big a landmark, the experience of the indefinite gets lost. The stair manages these demands well.

(I strictly believe there is some kind of geography and topography at work in our desire and our unconscious mind, 'vastness' is an important category in this context, I think.)

django, Jul 27 2007

Steppe, hill http://www.cvmusa.o.../view.image?Id=1449
Such a series of hills would be just the right height [django, Jul 27 2007]

Stairs to Nowhere http://www.terragal...ture.usca34971.html
Stairs lead to the ceiling at Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California (rambling Victorian home of the superstitious widow of the Winchester Rifle magnate---she believed she could appease the spirits of those killed by her husband's rifles only by continually adding to and modifying the house, usually without a plan). [Ander, Aug 03 2007]


       I understand that there are large virtual worlds out there that are increasingly popular. [django], you should bring some of these artistic endeavors to your own kingdom there. You obviously have an ability for graphic rendering as well: perfect. Also, more people would probably experience things like this stair or your Buddhist Wall in a virtual space than if they were really sited as you propose.
bungston, Jul 27 2007

       Pleasant dream. [+]
pertinax, Jul 28 2007

       lovely. I want to walk it and dream, too. +
globaltourniquet, Jul 28 2007

       Ah, the journey of a thousand steps.   

       It's a nice mental picture but I think that the human race has affirmed it's presence on this planet quite enough already. I'd rather just walk across the hills in their natural state.
DrBob, Jul 28 2007

       No,no, [bung]. Many more people would see it that way, but it would be rubbish. This will only work in the real world, and it would be lovely. I'd walk it.
wagster, Jul 28 2007

       I have this idea that things like this exist in England. I think they are called "follies", and were built 200-300 years ago by rich eccentrics. I came across a pillar while walking in a random sheep field just south of the scottish border. It was inscribed top to bottom with carved, cursive poetry. I would guess it to have been about 200 years old.
bungston, Jul 29 2007

       If you angle them just right, and make them circle back on each other, they can appear to be a circular staircase that is constatly going uphill... or downhill... or never mind, that's a lousy idea.
ye_river_xiv, Jul 29 2007

       Neutral vote: [+] for maintaining the Adjacency of Wilderness, without which the limitless city loses all incentive to relevance for its citizens and becomes a tyranny; but [-] for the sort of salamander-in-hell audacity of scale that relies on the aforementioned tyranny for the possibility of its manifestation. Or is it intended to be a sepulchre?
Ned_Ludd, Aug 03 2007

       Just another lump of human junk in the wilderness. I'd probably see it if it were there, but like Dr.Bob says, we've got plenty of footprints of man on the planet. how does this help us other than being an oversized art installation?
k_sra, Aug 03 2007

       You could say that about all oversized art installations, though.
jutta, Aug 03 2007

       Ian "Average Joe" Tindale he is not.
wagster, Aug 03 2007

       //You could say that about all oversized art installations, though.//   

       [jutta], true, but most oversized art installations are designed to be removed after without damaging the site (hopefully).
k_sra, Aug 03 2007


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