Orlando Helfer Rabaça
Orlando Helfer Rabaça — Circling
Island of things — Summer 2021
“[…] the formula "being is round" is to become an instrument that will allow us to recognise the primitivity of certain images of being.”
from ThePoeticsOfSpace, Gaston Bachelard
Roundness as an intrinsic characteristic of a natural being is a quality that prevails over the maturity of Primitivity. It represents a cyclical timeline that manifests itself all throughout the repetitions of naturally occurring events. Italian Artist Giuseppe Penone is someone who deals with these Ideas of circularity and propagation in the frame of poetic relationships between Man and Nature, and was also one of the fundamental references for this Project. Exploring and working on the Island of Valentinswerder presented me with an environment that in contrast to the City, showed me these patterns of natural cycles that were visible by the significant amount of decaying organic matter left to decompose. Old fallen Trees gave themselves to their surroundings as a source of nutrients for growing organisms to consume which nurtures movement of the whole Ecosystem. It seems that the importance of these stages of death, decay and decomposition have the tendency to become more undesirable the more we progress; where in fact they are as important as life itself. The growth rings of a Tree represent this detailed and organised timeline in relation with the environment; when the Tree dies and starts to dry, the rings themselves start to separate and crack, detaching themselves from the Past. There is a break in continuity of this concentric timeline, that now fades, still reflecting the old being but accepting a new beginning. The wood starts loosing its structure and the rings’ relation with time in space, disappears. The now fine-grain material, can embody other shapes and patterns and create other types of relations. The installation “Circling” is an intervention that aims to create a sort of ceremonial moment of peace, and stitch together the loop of natural progression. It achieves this by visualising various traces of other trees’ growth rings that were were not able to decay and decompose in their Natural environment. These Trees that were born and raised for the sole purpose of being a product to be measured and sold, were converted into simple lines: delineating their presence in their own time and space and then inscribed in the decomposed matter of a fallen Tree from the Island. After every ring pattern a spiral is drawn as a symbolic closing of each tree, freeing it from its caged purpose; as the spiral pattern is a link to nature, representing the ever changing seasons. It acts for the cycle of life; birth, growth, death, and re-incarnation.