Imagining Calvino‘s Horses

I hold a hand full of stones. I’ve carried them around since I was a kid. Then they were treasures, now they are cargo. Sentimentality is not always my friend. Matter is weighty, slow and deliberate, the imagination mercilessly nimble and light. I sort the stones; they become instinctively a horse! Horse of Stone, a bridge between the mineral and the animate world. The imagination promotes unity; the horse is alive and fits me perfectly without having anticipated this. The inanimate and animate connect. There is no hierarchy. The horse an emblem of the mind untamed, of imaginative nimbleness, of that which conquers intellectually the weight of knowledge of the outside world. It strives for freedom; the unfettered mind a form of human resistance, the foundation of our dreams; at best utopian, naive, optimistic

And the imagination exerts constant pressure. It batters and rants and there is no off switch, only disciplined distance. The flood of ideas must be channeled, structured, sorted. I watch it like a film, as it jitters and chants its wishes from a place that is perhaps how the conception of eternity came to us. Is this tool of knowledge trying to connect us to the truth? This process is beyond our control; we choose however what we pull from its realm. Pay attention! The choice is yours! I see thousands of glittering treasures in the waves, knowing I will only focus and scoop out a few before the rest are washed away and the next wave pours down. I reach in and draw from the depths a Horse of Rain, still dripping, and heavy. Both words and works are evidence of understanding, of different kinds of knowledge, of reflection and action without hierarchy. Material processes guard the doorway between untamed thought and what is on the table at the end of the day, mapping our capacity to seamlessly connect these worlds. I begin with images and end with words. Here they are now. But the image was first, and the act too, caught on film, direct from the ocean of possibility.  

Helen Britton May 2019