fimmtudagur, október 13, 2005


Construction at the University seems never-ending. Buildings going up, buildings coming down, ever a new detour or a last-minute room change. Temporary classrooms for some of the displaced students have been erected on one of the plazas. There is only just room for these wooden structures, for a spot near the middle of the plaza is already inhabited by a bronze statue of a smilodon, jaws open, one forepaw raised. The builders of the temporary classrooms clearly did their best to make the most of the space available, with the result that the outer wall passes within centimeters of the sabertooth's upraised claws and bared fangs.

The juxtaposition is a striking one. I have noticed that it yields more than one interpretation.

Over the course of any given day, as the light changes, the smilodon's affect changes. Sometimes he seems about to thrust his angry forepaw through the cheap siding in a fit of territoriality or æsthetic offense at sub-standard architecture. In twilight he looks like a moment from a horror film, the monster's final approach to the abode of men, and the next shot will be from inside, as the beast's head and shoulders come crashing through from without. In low morning light, from certain angles, he looks less angry and more inquisitive, reaching a paw out to bat at this new, strange part of his environment. Occassionally he has seemed to me to be about to scratch at the wooden siding, gently for such a big animal, in the hopes that someone inside would come out, perhaps with a bowl of milk.

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