Installed At: “Regent Business School”, Durban, South Africa
Wisdom is our human compass, it embraces memory to navigate complexity and the unknown. We call this human faculty the “imagination” or “creativity”. These cognitive notions give us the ability to anticipate the unknown, traverse the present and understand the past. All knowledge evolves from personal and collective experiences. They are collected, contemplated and passed down through generations. These experiences embrace and express human thought as action, idea or emotion and celebrates human endeavour as history or wisdom.
Our need to share or communicate information and experiences necessitates a common instrument to explain the mystery and complexity of our lives. Based on this need, language, communication and the archive of human thoughts began to evolve. Contemporary knowledge production has transpired from interrelated, shared developmental human ideas that were imbedded in early history, which were then collected and contemplated. Language defines and shares this particular human project, it assists commonly held ideas and sentiments to be understood and communicated. It is this faculty that has enabled and promoted human evolution.
However, words and ideas always carry the burden of history. Many of these “voices” have been erased, affirming the argument for the resilient and strong. Ironically it also weaves vulnerability infirmity, inadaptability and yielding as powerful metaphors for transformation and human evolution. Frailty is intrinsically an element of sustainability as all languages (communication) form an unbreakable chain of voices that link the very beginning to the present and then into our unimaginable future.
The creative invitation for a walkway or bridge within Regent, an institution of higher learning, defined and framed interesting conceptual and metaphorical challenges. These challenges raised interesting thoughts about humanity and scholarship. About how our past (history), as human beings, relates to our present/future, about our intellectual and spiritual currency and how our individual and collective library of knowledge evolution measures as sustainable or substantial wisdom.
Modernity is in essence history recalibrated and knowledge evolved as adaptive sensibility. This would then suggest that the Present is burdened (or affirmed) by a sense of consciousness, an enlightenment, where new(er) knowledge is relatively substantial, or closer to a greater human wisdom. Our challenge is to know that we are far from this elusive truth.
The BRIDGE, incorporating fragile and extinct language symbols is a portentous metaphor within a Factory of Knowledge production (place of learning), where the study of older ideas endevour to search for newer sensibility to structure and reframe the present as a dynamic or visionary component of the unseen or imagined future. Thousands of feet walk across the history of human thoughts, a distant and forgotten chain of voices in search of ideas to articulate, shape and express our ephemeral and elusive future. Extinct, fragile, fading, current, imaginative language characters have been chosen to be arrested in immutable, ancient African stone as a indelible record and affirmation that our past and present are powerfully connected instruments that fuel our imaginations. A place where memory and a dynamic commitment must dance together if we are to navigate into greater wisdom.
I have chosen my language characters to include alphabetical icons and metaphors drawn from a wide historical range of human thought, extinct to living and new imaginative language symbols. All of my selections have been guided by the BEAUTY of the characters, not necessarily their meaning or logic, but by their enduring visual allure, which transcends and embraces beauty, function and logic.
A walkway as a creative metaphor embraces function, beauty and history as a complex universal metaphor, suggesting that humanity is a seamless thought. It imagines all of us to be a related evolutionary idea within a sea of contesting emotion, imagination and change.
ANDRIES BOTHA Durban January 2017