Mar 6 2012: Six Photographs of Grottoes, Canyons and Other Rock Formations (from Unknown Encyclopedia, 1930s)

The interiors of bodies and geological formations have been fused together in a few of the visual equations of Robert Holcombe before now, and occur again (several times) in a series of poems I’ve been writing under the working title A Cycle of Songs for the Body’s Interior, modelled somewhat obliquely on the rather compelling seasonal songs produced by Ronald Duncan and Derek Bowskill for David Cain’s 1960s BBC Radiophonic schools production, The Seasons. These images, culled from a handul of different 1930s children’ encyclopedias going by such names as The Wonders of the World and Popular Science Educator, show a range of geological and human formations of landscapes, from canyons and grottoes to Hopi Indian settlements built into existing shelters and land topography. Together, they demonstrate that human-built architecture (from the Hopi dwellings seen here to the cathedral interiors painted by artists like John Piper that some of these caverns suggest) often follows similar patterns to the less directed actions of water and wind, the surrealist automatism of the natural world, and both seem to echo – consciously or otherwise – the patterns found inside our own bodies.

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