when making something leads to nothing… (it seems)

In this video, artist Francis Alys pushes a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City over a nine hour period, here edited down to 5 minutes. The cumbersome block gradually diminishes to the size of a tennis ball, until it finally melts into a puddle of water on the pavement. Writes artist Andrea Hickey :

“… stretching the object’s inexorable dissolution through the space of the city, the artist makes the point that progress is not inevitable – in short, that sometimes making something leads to nothing.”

It reminded of me the invisible town of Silica, in the West Virginia Appalachians, that I used to visit years ago. There was an abandoned camp on the grassy banks of a river: a schoolbus with a huge stone hearth built onto it, that I imagined a hermit to have lived in. The evidence of his life – newspapers, a few pots and pans – gradually got swept away by wind and rain and as the bus sank deeper into the ground each year, as though dissolving. That very spot was once the thriving town of Silica, which I’d seen pictures of: a glass factory, a store, houses, at the turn of the century. There was not a bit of it left, all fallen down, melted into the earth….

Still, although making something sometimes SEEMS to lead to nothing, that “nothing” is always SOMETHING: a memory, a lesson or idea for later use, or some passing effect that’s not often not apparent…one thing subtly reverberating with another…

What do you think?

You can see more of Francis Alys’ videos here.

via Rolu

5 Responses to when making something leads to nothing… (it seems)

  1. jody 11.04.2010 at 12:19pm #

    i guess one could say that when we die it leads to nothing…so, in this context, what is something? are we really something? if so, what is it? is it possible that we are simultaneously something and nothing? is it possible to live in/from these questions in a way that would make room for it “all”….thanks so much for inviting this pause.

  2. liz 11.04.2010 at 6:37pm #

    I love this. To be able to create nothing from something!

    There’s a foreshadowing moment at about the 4-minute mark where the perspective is on the ground and the wind blows trash around, as if POOF! it all disappears.

    I wonder if he missed his icy friend in the end.

  3. Sally 11.04.2010 at 6:46pm #

    Yeah, that’s the thing, it’s still there, even when it isn’t…

  4. iamjoeyb 05.09.2011 at 2:39am #

    its very apparent what he has proven, I am going to test my interpretation of his idea very soon.

  5. wiebke 05.16.2012 at 6:51am #

    Somewhile it must have been painful for his back but to explain global warming it was worth it! Good job i think! Greetings from germany wiebke

Leave A Comment

Feeling Inspired?

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.