Death Valley

Submittal for the 77th annual Paris Prize Competition.

Picture men dwelling in a sort of subterranean cavern with a long entrance open to the light on its entire width…Conceive them as having their legs and necks fettered from childhood, so that they remain in the same spot, able to look forward only, and prevented by the fetters from turning their heads…then in every way such prisoners would deem reality to be nothing else than the shadows of the artificial objects. And so, finally, he would be able to look upon the sun itself and see its true nature, not by reflections in water or phantasms of it in an alien setting, but in and by itself in its own place.
Plato, The Republic

The cave houses the artifacts – the physical – in the darkness and relative cold.  It also houses the mythology – the mental – that these artifacts represent.  The passage from ignorance to knowledge or from knowledge to ignorance is enclosed by the same wall.  We cannot say which journey is the more noble.  We can only say the the direction of the path has nothing to do with the amount of change – the magnitude has nothing to do with the force.

This is a journey from lack of information to information overload, from the physical to the mental, from the self-preferential to the universal; all the while traveling in a line that is both infinity and absence, self-similar concepts that contradict and expand each other.
A break down of information at the entrance – metaphorical totem pole and stair to water fall – progresses to an assimilation of information overload – the actual body of artifacts.  However, there are two ends to every line.  The journey can also progress from the physical to the mental, from dark to light, from cold to hot with each end acting, in some way as either extreme.


Posted at 10am on 11/06/92 | Filed Under: Academic, Competition