Saturday, January 13, 2007

Cypress Garden

One of the stunning places I found in Charleston is the Middleton Place (much better than Magnolia Plantation). Inside Middleton, my favorite place is the Cypress Garden: a swamp with cypresses scattered. The straight and still bodies of the cypresses are softened by water. At the same time, the bodies get doubled through the reflection. It creates a perfect setting for contemplation as you slowly walk around or stand still gazing.

An immediate association was the architecture in the water in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalgia: the flooded basement of a ruined building, and the flooded interior by the rain. I asked myself why I’m so fascinated with the fusion of water and land? In Maya Deren’s At Land, water is the source for thought. In Nostalgia, the protagonist walks across the pool with a candle in hand as a means to prove his belief. Water is also connected with time – its invasiveness, reflection/double image, stillness/motion.

Tarkovsky’s film depicts the naked, weathered architecture free of any decoration; while cypresses in winter are deprived of any color – it is not about being swallowed by water, by time, but rather implying the transcending of time and life - something instinctive, powerful, and timeless.

No comments: