WIND RAIL  voice-over texts

Part I.

Being on a mountain is different than being in the mountains. A single mountain is almost like an island, separate from its surroundings. A small mountain, flat on the top like Mount Randa, situated on a plain, is like a wild spot in the midst of cultivated land. From here one can see far into all directions, unlike in the mountains, where one can only see more hills. From here you cannot get any higher, everything around you is far below, or at least further down. From a mountain top like this Satan probably showed Jesus all the kingdoms and riches of the world.  A mountain like this does not direct your thoughts upwards like the "real" mountains, but down towards the plain, to everything that surrounds this island-mountain. You come here to get an overview of the world rather than to encounter the touch of spirit. Maybe the tourist coaches that perseveringly climb up the serpentine road to the courtyard of the sanctuary and the huge satellite masts that rise towards the sky only a few meters away, have destroyed my sensibility. One reason might be that the top of Mount Randa is quite flat, almost like an altar, as somebody said. Or perhaps more like a plateau, a heath of a kind; there are no trees to mention. This mountain resembles an island also since the wind is the strongest natural element. It is always blowing from one direction or the other. The sky is strong, of course, since there are no obstacles for sight, but in the same way the sky is also huge in the desert or in the lowlands as well. You certainly do not feel like being in the embrace of mother earth, rather you sit on some sort of a wart, like a bird on a rock in the middle of the sea. The wind, the breath of life, is almost too much, when there is nowhere to seek shelter from it.

Here on Mount Randa Ramon the Fool, Ramon Llull, had a revelation about the main principles of his Ars Magna. Nowadays there are three monasteries. La Cura, or Santuario Nostra Senora de Cura, is on the top. In Llull's own time, in the thirteenth century, there were only caves for shepherds. Nobody could foresee all the families with paella pots spreading out on the slopes during the weekends. Today this mountain, 548 metres high, situated only 30 kilometres from Palma, is one of the major sights on Mallorca. Nature is rough and unsuitable for cultivation; "it seems like God created it for himself alone, it has been a holy mountain, like another Mount Sinai."

Even if we are taught that nature and human perception are of two different worlds they are nevertheless inseparable. Before you can enjoy the landscape with your senses it must have been formed in your mind. The mountains are layers of mind and memories as well as of minerals. Of course nature exists independent of humans too, but mankind has already influenced all the ecosystems of the planet in a decisive way, and not only in the modern period but since ancient times. There is no untouched nature, neither in the rainforests on the Equator, nor on the polar ice fields. And in this irrevocably transformed world we have to live. The dream of a "healing wilderness" as salvation is just as culturally produced as any dream garden. And even those areas we think are free and untouched by culture are on closer examination actually being created, supported or protected by it. The wilderness does not name or locate itself. Sanctity of nature is of man.

There are two kinds of sanctuaries, they say, "subjective" and "objective". The subjective ones work for people from a certain culture, if that culture considers a certain place holy, like Rome, Jerusalem or Mecca for instance. But they leave cold a person who does not believe. "Objective" sanctuaries are places that work for anybody who is not completely numbed. Any visitor with the slightest of sensibility will be amazed on top of a mountain, in the bottom of a deep valley, on a peninsula thrusting out to sea or at the mouth of a cave. The places can be without any special aesthetic value – though many would find them beautiful because of their impressiveness – but most people can feel in them the "power of the earth", which you can even measure with ore searching equipment.

Often these objective and subjective sanctuaries coincide when hermitages where built in places that had been holy long before Christ and the Virgin. They are worshiped in small churches where people come on pilgrimages, but originally they were Neolithic sites of worship, where you expressed your gratitude for good weather returning or kindled fires as messages to Father Sun, that he should soon return to give us warmth. The oldest places of all were dedicated to the Great Mother, The White Moon Goddess, the main deity of the Mediterranean agriculture at the time before the nomadic cattle raisers and warriors, who adored the sun, the horse and everything macho and fierce, invaded the area, about four thousand years ago. The only difference is, that now we call her "The Mother of God of this or that place", and nobody is surprised when her image contains a half-moon. The name of this sanctuary, Santuario de Nostra Senora de Cura, or the sanctuary of Our Lady of Cura has many explanations. Some connect it with the Arabic name of the site, others with the word 'cura' or care in the Mallorcan dialect. As there is "Our Lady of Redemption" or "Our Lady of Consolation" and so on; here we would have "Our Lady of Caring".

In a children's book of fairy tales I learned that there are places where time does not exist. And if one happens to stand in a place like that a character from the past might suddenly appear, a knight in his armour or a monk in his cloak, and tell you about his life. In that way one can travel in time without moving from the spot. I thought this place might be like that. Perhaps Ramon Llull would walk out of the cave named after him and tell me what he once saw here. It is well known that on this mountain he had the vision after which he is named "Illuminated teacher".

Supposedly Llull founded a school here, but there are no documents. In 1149 a Catalonian Llullist Joan Llobet received a permission from the king of Aragon to found a school in this place. Today Franciscan tertiary brothers maintain a small museum dedicated to Llull in connection with the former monastery school. In the closed part of the monastery there is a poster on the wall describing the rotation of the planets and depicting an asteroid named after Ramon Llull. Next to it on the table is a sign with the text 'Dio es amor' or God is love. On the slope below the monastery is Ramon Llull's cave and in front of it a life sized sculpture of him, unfortunately headless. It works well as a backdrop for tourist's snapshots but does not really encourage for meditation or expecting a revelation.

What exactly happened to Ramon the fool on this mountain? As an old man Llull dictated the story of his life to a scribe in Paris and recounted the incident shortly:

"Ramon went up a certain mountain not far from his home, in order to contemplate God in greater tranquillity. When he had been there scarcely a full week, it happened that one day while he was gazing intently heavenward the Lord suddenly illuminated his mind, giving him the form and method for writing the aforementioned book against the errors of the unbelievers. Giving thanks to the Almighty, he came down from the mountain and returned at once to the above-mentioned abbey, where he began to plan and write the book in question, calling it first the Ars Major, and later on the Ars Generalis. /--/ When he had finished the book written in the afore-mentioned abbey, he again went up the same mountain. And on the very spot where he had stood when God had shown him the method of the Art he had a hermitage built, where he stayed for over four months without interruption, praying to God night and day that by His mercy He might bring prosperity to him and to the Art He had given him for the sake of His honour and the benefit of His church. While he was staying in this hermitage, there came to him a handsome young shepherd of cheerful countenance, who in one hour told him as many good things of God and of heavenly matters, especially of angels, and other things, as another ordinary person – or so it seemed to him – would have taken at least two entire days to recount. Seeing Ramon's books, the shepherd got down on his knees, kissed them fervently, and watered them with his tears. And he said to Ramon that those books would bring many benefits to the Church of Christ. The shepherd also blessed Ramon with many blessings of a prophetic nature; and, making the sign of the cross over his head and over his whole body, he left. When he thought about all this, however, Ramon was astonished, for he had never seen this shepherd before, nor had he heard mention of him."

Ramon Llull is buried in the church of the monastery of San Francisco in Palma, the lights of which I look at in the evenings. Here I have not encountered him. I have not even called for him, not properly. On this island-mountain, where people are far and the sky is near, I have encountered only the wind.

Here, where everything is beautiful as one sees it from a far
Where everything is beautiful as one watches it for long
Where one has space to breathe
Here the wind breathes into me, within me, me

Part II.

Being on an island is different than being in an archipelago. From there you can se far to the sea unlike in the archipelago where you see only more islands. On an island you are a little bit like on a mountain. People come there for a purpose; nobody ends up there by chance or drops in accidentally. Though an island does not direct your thoughts upwards as the mountains do but outwards to the sea, towards that which leads away from the mainland.

A small rocky island outside the city is like a wild hill in the middle of the fields. You come here like one would come into a park, for a break from the noise of the city rather than to encounter the silence of nature. Maybe the tourist boats and waterbuses that rattle around the island, or the huge shopping malls that glide by and the dockyard constructions, which stretch out to sea a few hundred meters away, have numbed my senses. Or the giggling of sun lovers on near-by island Uunisaari, not to mention the balloons, the helicopters and the benji jumpers. The silence on the island is relative, but for breathing the place is good. The island resembles a mountain also because the strongest natural element is the wind. The wind is blowing from some direction all the time, in summertime mostly from southwest. Sometimes, however, – like this year – the wind is resting.

Some time ago a Norwegian architect wrote a book called Genius Loci, the spirit of place. The spirit of this place, too, has been evoked in different performances. The landscape you see is elsewhere, however. You have an image of it in front of you. An image of a landscape is not a landscape, and a landscape is not an image. Before you can enjoy a landscape with your senses it has been formed in your mind. The dream of a "healing wilderness" that could be a salvation is a cultural product as well as any dream garden. The wilderness does not name itself. Sanctity in nature is man made. Fortunately this park-island does not even attempt to be a sanctuary. Rather an information centre, a piece of archived nature on display. It is as if created to suite the size of groups of schoolchildren and for the presentation of wonders of the sea in aquariums. The "mustard gas" of the Chemical Research Laboratory of the Armed Forces has long since evaporated into the wind or dissolved into the water. Pine soap, motor oil, blue algae or not -–the surrounding sea is nevertheless water.

When nature around us shrinks we lose large areas of ourselves too. Something within us dies when the gap between man and nature is widening. The ecological imbalance of the environment is reflected in the soul, impoverishing it. Our soul longs for the power of nature and life's holiness. It would like to feel the sky, the mountains and trees as its own, as parts of itself. It is still searching for that connection. It listens and probes. Though it seems as if we had lost the connection, it is still there. The umbilical cord is so thin, however, that it risks breaking completely. It has to be strengthened. The better our habitation is adapted to the rhythm of nature the better we feel. These claims were made by an American woman, who advises how to furnish your home to accommodate your soul. Maybe. I cannot think of the relationship to nature as an umbilical cord, but I do know that one's mind rests when one's eyes can rest. And one's soul (or perhaps rather one's spirit) needs space to breathe.

The basic elements of landscape are the sky and the earth. When these two join in a fortunate way one feels good in being in the landscape. There are places where the sky dominates and places where the earth is strongest. In his book, describing the spirit of place, the Norwegian architect suggests three basic types of landscape: cosmic, romantic and classic. The cosmic landscape he finds in the desert – sand, horizon, the sky as a great vault, a world larger than man. The romantic landscape he finds in the north – the many details of the ground, the play of light and shade, changing weather conditions. The Mediterranean landscape he considers classic – strong and regular light, clear outlines and forms, human dimensions.

A typical example of a romantic landscape is the northern forest. The ground is seldom flat; the microstructure of the surface is rich. The sky is visible only as areas between trees, hills or clouds. The quality of the air is varying. The sun is low and creates changing shadows. Water is everywhere. The world is changeable, incomprehensible and mysterious. The earth, not the sky, dominates the landscape. There is only an endless amount of undefined places, no single unifying order. The mythical inhabitants of the landscape are elves, goblins and trolls. The Nordic forest is romantic in the sense of returning man to an imaginary past. Man lives connected to nature but not socially, everybody finds in nature his own hiding place.

In a cosmic landscape, in the desert, the concrete world is simplified – the vast unfruitful earth, the cloudless vault of the sky. The burning sun creates a light without shadows; the air is hot and dry. The landscape is absolute and eternal like the cosmic order. The movement of the sun divides space into east and west, time into day and night and creates a simple rhythm. The only surprise is a sandstorm. The earth offers no shelter and no special places. The sky dominates. The sun, the moon and the stars create an order undisturbed by changes in the weather. God is one just as the landscape, absolute. "The further you go into the desert, the closer you come to God", they say. The world is abstract, surfaces and lines. Man needs an oasis for habitation, a microcosm within the macrocosm.

A classical landscape is an intermediate form between north and south and it can be found in Greece, of course. The landscape forms a composition – clear units, mountains, valleys and individual places. A strong regular light creates sculptural forms. The landscape receives light without loosing its tangible character. The earth is both continuous and variable. There is no surface microstructure. All proportions are human, like the anthropomorphic gods of the Greeks. Man finds himself in nature, not an absolute God, no elves or trolls. The connection of man and nature is realized practically, in agriculture, and creates a cultural landscape. Man positions himself in front of the landscape instead of hiding in it. It is said that the classical landscape makes brotherhood possible, why not sisterhood; each unit remains individual as part of a whole. 

Romantic, cosmic and classic are only epithets, some kind of archetypes for landscape. They are found as combinations or mixtures. Inhabiting a romantic landscape means rising from micro to macro level. The power of the earth is given, but God is concealed. In a cosmic landscape the process is opposite, the goal is an enclosed garden, Paradise. In a classic landscape man stands in the middle and is able to reach inwards as well as outwards.

A seascape is actually cosmic, classic and romantic. The sea is almost like a desert – only a flat surface, the horizon and the sky, no multiplicity, no details. Even if the sky is low the world around is wide, larger than man. Unchangeable it is certainly not; it moves and shifts perpetually. The weather conditions as well as the light change all the time. The sea can hide anything, while its surface is smooth. When sunny, a seascape is like a postcard reminding of summer holidays.

An image of a landscape is not a landscape, and a landscape is not an image. A landscape is not only a view. The image it creates in your mind is an assemblage of memories and fantasies. Even cropped and censored it is somehow real.  When I stand by the rail and look at the sea I am performing for the camera. The situation is fictional, artificial, a show. Still I can feel the wind on my skin.

The sky is as large as the place you watch it from, they say. How to perform a landscape? Perhaps it is best done by walking through the landscape, moving, breathing, sensing. Or – if that is how you are inclined – standing silent in the midst of it looking around you, letting it surround you, breathing, smelling, listening. How to perform landscape for somebody else? Show the images or play the sounds? Transform it into stories? Retell stories generated by it? Imagine it as a site for dramatic encounters between people? Perhaps the best way is the first one, to make an excursion into the landscape, document it and present the evidence to others, to be experienced in another way.

Why speak of the irrelevant? To film, to record, to tell stories, to present takes, what does it matter? The media transforms it; time transforms it; the eyes of the other see it in another way. More relevant is the repetition, the desire and compulsion to repeat, the game that becomes an obsession, a routine, a devotion and even narcissism. Or the wish for romance and beauty, avoiding irony, continuity in what is changing, change in that which stays, the endlessness of time...

Stop, that is enough. Being in an image is different than being in a landscape. A landscape is not an image, and its image generates only more images. Being in an image is different than being on stage, even though one can transform into an image on stage. On stage one tends to see a human being and not a world, on stage one always sees only an image of one self. I wanted to show the wind, and the wind is not visible if the world is of stone. I thought I am needed because I am not of stone. I did not think that neither is the sea. It shows the wind, and even the sky when the wind is resting – as a reflection, though.