September 2013, Italy
My mission in Florence was to see how a city according to Christopher Alexander could reflect the soul in us, could help us access our greater humanity, could be a city where we live in community.
In the last two days I have been exposed to grand churches and domes, palaces and renaissance art …. With predominantly stories of heaven and hell, the story of Christianity …. But I don’t feel the God embracing me here, or reflecting my own god nature…. I feel an outsider to someone else’s stories. I feel closer when when there is an open sky above me, greenery around me … A courtyard here and there.
I feel a sense of humanity when I go into a courtyard of small shops and two shop keepers are smoking at a table playing chess, or when the shop owner of a leather shop below our flat closes up and says good night to the owners of businesses around, shaking hands and giving a warm hug. I feel closest to the community of humanity when I chance across a photographic art exhibition of Izis Bidermanas who sees in small moments the stillness of possibility.
An idea that has consumed me for a while is to take the Florence Duomo and somehow bring nature into it in an integrative way. Being in the dome and feeling the curve of the arches around me was an experience that has sunk into my psyche. Recently my husband has been playing around with a 3D camera in a forest – creating arcs of trees reminiscent of the dome.
The sense of the luminosity and the architecture of the dome merged with the trees in a piece I have just completed. My lady with the mandolin sings to the forest, the tree spirits dance….and the angels notice.
Interestingly, a friend suggested that the trees felt like a cage. Is that what the domes do? Capture god? Cage in our souls or allow them to soar? Hmmm. Is there another story… the soft embrace, the cupping hands of the trees, the leaning forward of listening…. the pregnant moment….