Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stacking stones

Anywhere in the world you go, or anywhere in the study of human history, this is what you'll find:

Stacking of stones.

It represents the original declaration of one person to the universe: World, here I am.

The stacking of stones is the most fundamental art of all; it establishes a record of one person's impact upon the world. It proclaims significance. It may be the original expression of collective worship. It even lays a foundation, perhaps, for more pragmatic ventures such as shelters and buildings.

When undertaken in collaboration with others of the same tribe, the stacking of stones signifies the beginning of culture.

I saw this piece yesterday during a hike through the Na Pali coast of Kauai, Hawaii. We encountered it where Hanakapiai stream meets the Pacific ocean. The photo was snapped at my request by my daughter, Kim.

Just a hundred meters or so up the beach we found another work, which represents the second stage of the human art impulse:

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