Located at all Public (Drinking) Water Fountains within the city of Venice.
1. WHAT IS MY THOUGHT?
WHAT CAN COVER THE EARTH?
WHAT IS MY SPACE?
WHAT IS MY MADNESS?
WHAT IS MY CAUSE?
WHAT IS MY OPPOSITE?
WHAT IS MY POISON?
WHAT IS INEVITABLE?
WHAT IS MY GRIEF?
WHAT DO I REVOLT AGAINST?
WHAT IS THE GREATEST MARVEL?
12.WHAT WILL BE MY DEFEAT?
Taking off from an episode from the Mahabharata, in which the Pandavas, the five princes, during their last year in exile reach a body of water and want to drink.
But a voice from the water stops them, ‘Answer my questions before you drink.’
The four younger princes drink not heeding the voice and die, the eldest prince Yudhistra, to be king, says
Then come a series of fifty-four questions all of which the prince answers, I list some of them separately from Jean Claude Carrier’s Script for Peter Brooks Mahabharata.
Why should the author, in this case Ved Vyas, if one takes The Mahabharata to be only a piece of literature (!), which it is not, want the questions to come from a body of Water?
What does that signify?
I take some of those questions and reformulate them for our times (!) of abundant waste, near ecological catastrophe and most importantly the position of sinking Venice today. With this I implicate myself, the city of Venice and all those who would interact with the work.
The questions would be an integral part of a Public Art Project for the city; displayed within a ‘Sanctified’ space. Here, that being the space around the public drinking water fountains, I would have a white tent (approx8’x8’) around the fountains that would hide them from public view, marking the spaces, using local collective memory of what was and what is now hidden( taken away), providing a sanctified space to them and to the water which runs continuosly(?). The text would also ‘run’ within the space as the water at eye level.
So if you would want to engage with the fountains you shall have to ‘enter’ the space of the fountains where a “Question” shall confront you. People will be encouraged to look for all the questions/fountains, around the city expecting answers somewhere, but they will not be any. The viewer s eventually carry the questions with them.
The “Non Visibility” /enclosing/taking away what is granted/of an everyday ‘Public Object’ shall also make the local population uneasy/question the use/need/importance/ of what is hidden, and why.
The original questions from Mahabharata by Peter Brooks-
Water-First, answer my questions then I will let you drink.
Water- What is quicker than the wind?
Water- What can cover the earth?
Water-Who are more numerous, the living or the dead?
Yudhishthra- The living, because the dead are no longer.
Water-Give me an example of space.
Yudhishthra-My two handsas one.
Water-An example of grief.
Water-An example of defeat.
Water-Which animal is the slyest?
Yudhishthra-The one that man does not yet know.
Water-Which came first, day or night?
Yudhishthra-Day, but by only a day
Water-What is the causeof the world?
Voice-What is your opposite?
Water-What is madness?
Yudhishthra-A forgotten way.
Water-And revolt? Why do men revolt?
Yudhishthra-To find beauty, either in life or in death.
Water-What for each of us is inevitable?
Water-And what is the greatest marvel?
Yudhishthra-Each day death strikes and we live as though immortal.