jeudi 13 septembre 2007

Beheading the world

Found this morning on the "Next Nature" blog : a chinese artist, Xu Zhen, has climbed Mount Everest with a team, cut out the top of it on a height of 1,86 m (or 73,2 inches, which is actually the artist's height), and is now showing it as an art piece in his exhibitions.

I think it's a hoax, for an obvious reason : a chinese guy measuring 1,86 m ? Come on !

More seriously, I don't know what to think about it... I'm shocked, because this guy has just decided to take for himself something that belongs to the whole humanity, and to damage something of significance. I wonder what the guys who gave their lives trying to reached that summit, like the 1924 British expedition, would think about this. It also raises some questions... Was he legally authorised to do this ? Ok, it's just rock, it's public, you can't be arrested for bringing back a stone you found in nature. But he has reduced the size of the highest mountain in the world ! Is there anything for this in the law ? I guess not, you lucky bastard Xu ! Also, what's the value of this when it's separated from its mountain ? There's a new, lower, top of the Everest now, and this rock pile is nothing but stone, it's not the summit of anything anymore...

But on the other hand, isn't it fun to be able to say that you've reached the top of Mount Everest... by just visiting an exhibition ? Also, it's an incredible expedition trophy ! It makes me imagine an alpinist that would keep, as trophies, the top of every mountain he climbed, under glass in his home. Isn't it a nice surealistic and oneiric idea ?

Anyway, it's an art piece that surely brings strong reactions, positive or negative, and reflexions, which was of course the goal of the artist. And it makes me think of this superb and really moving music video by Rammstein, "Ohne Dich"...

2 commentaires:

Doc Poledra a dit…

I'm pretty sure there is some piece of law that says you can't do that. Tourists are forbidden to pick up sand or cobble on beaches, or rocks on archaelogical sites. I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to pick up rocks on volcanoes if you don't have a good scientific reason ("souvenirs" don't count). And Mount Everest is bound to be protected in some way; it's probably been labelled Human Heritage by the Unesco or something.
I'd love to see that guy sentenced to bringing it back where he found it! And to watch the movie they'd make out of it...

Quentin a dit…

You're probably right, and I'd love to see that too ! Anyway, all this might just be a big hoax, a story the "artist" invented to create a buzz (that would have been clever). I've read somewhere that he was showing a movie of the expedition in his exhibitions, with him and his guys sawing the mountain top. But of course, we musn't believe everything we're shown... I just don't know !