cairns into cubes



Wilhelm K. Essler, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Frankfurt University, "Was Zeichen zeigen und was sie verhüllen", extract from an essay in: Toni Kleinlercher, demontage, Interventionen in realen und virtuellen Landschaften, Triton, 2000.

For we humans, an object from the physical world is a sign, if something can be conveyed through it or even by it, if it's an information carrier or if it - as a speech signal - refers to something. This reference can be ambiguous or unambiguous, simplistic or diverse, rough or subtle and obvious or concealed.
Communication signals do not only have to consist of words from spoken or written language. On the contrary, hand and facial movements, like those used in deaf and dum sign language, are signals which convey information; the snapped twig in the rain forest or the stone pyramid in the desert conveys to the hero, who knows how to decifer these secret codes, certain information and aids him further.
Occassionally in the alps - if we are attentive - we also come across so called cairns, which lie beyond the forest boundary. These rough looking cone or pyramid shaped structures, consisting of various sizes of stones, are artistically assembled and although built without mortar, they are relatively weatherproof. The simplest meaning of such a construction is that it has been built by human hands; a more subtle one however is, that it has been an aid to orientation for hunters. Moreover, I suspect that cairns, such as described, which also exist in other mountain ranges, still have a religious meaning.





© 2012 Toni Kleinlercher