Mound Hacker

For several years, artist Nona Orbach has been creating an online artwork called Blog as Artwork, dealing with the revival of the ancient library of Alexandria, using all of the possibilities offered by the internet as the ultimate archive. Mound Hacker is a global art intervention directly linked to Blog as Artwork. Nona’s intention is to raise awareness for the “metaphoric revival of the ancient library of Alexandria”. She places shards of clay, Ostracons, inscribed with the blog’s URL in archaeological tells in Israel, Pompeii, Zippori, and Tel Yokne’am.

On her site Nona declares: “This vast ongoing project is meant to be a humble gesture of acknowledgement to our cultural roots. It is an act of gratitude to many known and unknown creators of ancient times. Hopefully, we can work together with the greatest artists living today to create an optimistic, good faith internet arcade of knowledge, beauty and spirituality. Metaphorically, I excavate an imaginary archeological mound, named Tel- Nona, where I mentally and spiritually dig for finds; I am the mound being dug. I am the digger, and the finds.”

Everything about her project and website activities appealed to me, but it was that last line that hooked me, “I am the mound being dug. I am the digger, and the finds.” This is how I feel about myself as an artist. I reached out and we began a correspondence. I asked to participate in mound hacking. Even though I am not near the ancient sites that are so iconic, I have archeological sites nearby. And ancient Adena mounds within sight of my back yard. It was so exciting to receive her package of Ostracons from half way around the world.

 

Ostracons and Japanese brush from Nona Orbach, Israel

Ostracons and Japanese brush sent from Nona Orbach, in Israel

I placed the Ostracons and photographed them. Now you can see their placement on the global map. Look around her site, you are welcome to join. I am also grateful that this focus has inspired the painting I’ve been doing non-stop all summer in my outdoor studio. I’m loosely calling this series “Summer Atlas”, because I’m continuing the theme of travel and maps.

Ostracon at the Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary

Ostracon at the Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary

Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Ostracon with glass shards at the Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Ostracon with glass shards at the Ice House excavation at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Another Pleasant Hill mound

Another Pleasant Hill mound

“40th Parallel”

"Mound Map" watercolor, drawing, collage by Kathleen O'Brien

“Mound Map” watercolor, drawing, collage by Kathleen O’Brien

All summer I’ve been making more art that is inspired by this mound hacking idea. Here’s what I wrote on and about “40th Parallel”:

Horizontality. Veritcality. I search for treasures hidden in the paper. Brush leads me to the place. This is only possible with the imagination at play. Paints ready. The treasures are – what? – the marks and line and stroke reveal the essence. Everything I paint is a prayer. An interfaith prayer for beauty and love. (Peace might be too much to ask for, but why not, we must at least ask.) The scripts are the inner faith language that is calling this out. The Earth pulls us vertically. The wind blows us horizontally. Pema Chodron said “You are the sky everything else is the weather.” Finding the treasure within brings peace, eventually. Layers of time, celebrations into the dimensions.

"40th Parallel", watercolor, drawing, 1939 map of Colorado, gold leafed mistletoe by Kathleen O'Brien

“40th Parallel”, watercolor, drawing, 1939 map of Colorado, gold leafed mistletoe by Kathleen O’Brien

There’s a stack of new paintings that need to be photographed, and put online, till then…

%d bloggers like this: