It was a very long time I wanted to treat about this piece..and here I am..this could be the right moment..
anyway this is one of those pieces I am particularly addicted to..I took some time to understand exactly what was it I was seing, but maybe it is still a bit mistery to me and, probably it is exactly the reason why I just could stand in front of it staring for hours every day the phantasmic vision.
I think I helped my self to phantasise as I could, reading some interesting essays and books by Vaneigem, even though it wasn't enough to complete the comprehensation of this artwork, for the reason that its imagery of concepts goes a bit further from what it could seem at first distracted sight perhaps.
So, as you also may know, this piece has came out to our eyes, thanks to a particular event linked to some circumstances of the same place and space but in different periods of time that conveyed its essence by appearing and disappearing on walls, as well as editing itself and returning back after years, on the same yet different place. Stanley Donwood revealed in 24th January (the day of the announcement of the piece) it was a graffiti tag on the wall of a train (Waterloo) station that inspired him for this and other works. The main tag says: FAR AWAY IS CLOSE AT HAND IN IMAGES OF ELSWHERE, which founds its roots in a poem which title's A Song Of Contrariety written by Robert Graves. If you rember well this is not the first time we see this sentence: In October 2011, within the arrival of Taglibro #28 there was contemporally to the announcement of Mithras Tauroctonos Subtarranea event, the launching of relatively three new prints as There has been no Quiet; There will be no Peace, We who are still Alive are Unreal in the Eyes of the Dead, and among them was a print called in fact: Far Away is Close at hand in Images of Elsewhere.
And still there is the voyage, the wandering theme in the print's birth as the artist writes his taglibro while sitting on a train. An act of <<voyage>> gives some new perspectives, new views, as well as there can't absolutely miss out labyrinths in our imageries of it.
Snow Accident Killing presents itself through a curious title, and those three words that compose it give us a lot of information about its origin and arouse in our thoughts, may be, some things that are familiar but yet difficult to find out back. The word Snow in fact directs our memories to some other artworks charactarized by snowy landscapes such as Evidences, Home, Bootprints and Target Land, works we could find in Kid A's artworks, and eventually have become an autonomous prints by themselves. Wide vacant sparkling-white spaces holding evident traces of passages. As recognised the first of the keys, and we move on with the other words of the title: Accident and Killing, it becomes more inviting to dive in deeper into other aspects,
and we have on our side some great signals to follow that could avoid our getting too deeply lost in something unconsequent.
Interesting to find what is an 'Accident' as reported in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which accordes that, as a definition it could be placed in the: Aristotelian logic
SECTION: Criticism and evaluation
<<...implied that an event can occur without a cause. It has seldom been noted, however, that the swerve is merely a special case—a transposition into atomistic terms—of Aristotle’s theory of accidents (i.e., of properties that are not essential to the substances in which they occur), inasmuch as an accident, too, as Aristotle himself had stated (Metaphysics I 3), is without intention.>>
And..[Middle English, chance event, from Old French, from Latin accidens, accident-, present participle of accidere, to happen : ad-, ad- + cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.
an accident could in fact be linked to many internal and external events around us, as the simpliest thing to think of in our specific case, is that snow itself it is an accidental event only because it falls down and the root concept is <<to fall down>> . We are already used to the third word's concept wich could easily be linked to the 1999 artworks, as told, and those inspired by the war news around Kosovo in that same year. Eventually the rising of the disastrous and apocalyptic theme in the artist's works til today-now with the falling down of the flamed meteorites, accidently, over some status-symbols of world's known metropolises. An accident is a phenomenon upon which usually depends the course of our lives. Circumstances and environment are driven on by accidents, and it is the quantity of our experience over them upon which depends the position of our point of view generally.
Another key-term-theme, inspired by a graffiti tag which has now become a leitmotif in Donwood's main imaginary, is MYTH (settled for a reason on a first plan in the piece). We've always seen it, not explicitely shown in the artist's works til now, in the allegoric shapes of the most known character of the myth-legend that involves- the minotaur. The minotaur is the figure that can't come out of the labyrinth, of the confused, of the uncertainity, but it lives in it, and this is anyway the most familiar of the places to him. A labyrinth is all that a minotaur has seen during his whole life, and all that he better knows (or not). Knowledge, memories, uncertainity form all the best of legends.
The myth is in fact technically a type of a legend most of the times connected to stories of tragedies, in which the recognition and the realisation of an act is the one which helps a tragic event to come out on surface. In this order an Accident is very important to a legend, to a myth; Sometimes accidents could lead to salvific moments in tragedies, deus ex machina to happen. Tragedies, as the ancient greek culture had used us, are all settled still and stable in our minds and til the time we don't reach the recognition of the circumstances and the events with our thoughts we can't recognize the tragedy that is taking place around us, otherwise we could continue living in the exact moment before the happening of a tragic event, somehow to live into a medias res. And this is exactly where we are in front of the Snow Accident Killing piece, in medias res. We find oureselves in a non specific place, there's no exact WHERE (even though the <<where>> has the ability to settle everywhere) to look at, there's no exact moment, but something has happened anyway. We already know those familiar landscapes, those mountains covered with white dripples, the buildings and the prisons in front of everything, that we probably have seen in one of our voyages to somewhere. There are, may be our labyrinths, and may be now we are the minotaurs imprisoned into this space. We have a complete vision, an almost a birdlike point of view, of the landscape that is in front of us and we can event determine where it does end, and still we can't move away. As in a labyrinth there's no an err or a correct way to what to take over, but there's a bit of an uncertainty in the atmosphere around. Knowledge is necessary, and when there could be no hope of it, it begins the tragedy, the terror of the uknown and the lost.
Vaneigem is one of the theorist that better describes, on the other hand, what myth represents for the humanity nowdays. A myth itself is a tool that's function is to organize appearence- mainly. Vaneigem states that in a myth there's always an act of a sacrifice. Tragedies bring sacrifices in fact. The organization of appearances, he says, is a system for protecting the facts. A racket. lt represents the facts in a mediated reality to prevent them emerging in unmediated form. <<Unitary power organized appearances as myth. Fragmentary power organizes appearances as spectacle. Challenged, the coherence of myth became the myth of coherence. Magnified by history, the incoherence of the spectacle turns into the spectacle of incoherence. (...)Theatre battens on to everyday life and attempts to dramatize everyday behaviour. Lived experience is poured into the moulds of roles. The job of perfecting roles has been turned over to experts.>>
-And here at this point are we, our lives, our behaviour, expectations and reality: fragmented, divided, constructed and re-constructed by someone, somewhere. The construction and the mise en scène of the glaciated and somehow romantic landscape errects not only through the obscure buildings in the distance, under the sparkling masses of mountains, but is nearer than what one could think. The palette with variations of see-through tonalities of white-to-blue contrasts let us have a possibility of a choice on varying what we see. In this way we have the chance at least to adapt a part of our environment's appearence and change it a bit; as for usually it is the << wretched environment that makes one wretched>>, in our case it happens the opposite. To make it be as what could be more suitable for our mind to view and put a filter on our visionaries according to how we feel like into the desertic panorama.
No claustrophobical spaces are shown explicitly apart from the one that hides itself behind the see-through-tools of modifying reality with (palettes). There are sketches, of rungs and ladders, prisioning and confusing, with not any apparent terminal to end on or point to reach, they're just rising into nothing concrete in it-self point. It rises up just as a surface to the nothingness of a destination to reach. Before them a reminder appears, under another sentence-formlike, a memoir of something not to forget about over the course of climbing those spaces: the killing of time- it could result a bit futile even a try of an escape, it would be only a waste of time, because in the whole of the representation of the desolated landscape there is no center, but there's neither chaos, neither a concrete point to reach out on.
Just as with the imaginary prisons and ruins of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, it's about a building up of a life soaked with reality, phantasies and fears which shape become more and more indistinct from each other with time.
Everything in front of our eyes transforms itself into a kind of an emotional landscape, into a psychogeographical palimpsest map, an entangled space with no exact point to reach or flee of, and there we conquere an alterated state of mind of a mute emergency alarm; here's an open space to explore..
The landscape is calm, clear and SNOW has fallen down, killing all traces of evidence and proof of the past, making everything around- omogenous and equal, confounding our coordinates and background of the present WHERE, but still in the distance, there's something that hasn't been covered up with snow...
<<The obligation to produce alienates the passion for creation. Productive labour is part and parcel of the technology of law and order. The Working day grows shorter as the empire of conditioning expands.
In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create. What spark of humanity, of possible creativity, can remain alive in a being dragged out of sleep at six every morning, jolted about in suburban trains, deafened by the racket of machinery, bleached and steamed by meaningless sounds and gestures, spun dry by statistical controls, and tossed out at the end of the day into the entrance halls of railway stations, those cathedrals of departure for the hell of weekdays and the purgatory paradise of weekends, where the crowd communes in a brutish weariness? From adolescence to retirement each twenty-four-hour cycle repeats the same shattering bombardment, like bullets hitting a window: mechanical repetition, time-which-is-money, submission to bosses, boredom, exhaustion. From the crushing of youth's energy to the gaping wound of old age, life cracks in every direction under the blows of forced labour. Never before has a civilisation reached such a degree of contempt for life; never before has a generation, drowned in mortification, felt such a rage to live. >> ( Raoul Vaneigem: on Basic Banalities)