Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fountain, Memory and Modernity

This is the Piazza Navona, a place of which I am particularly fond. Always vibrant, this beautiful square hosts many market traders selling novelties and a variety of good, especially for children. My subject suddenly appeared in an imposing manner in the shot and I was most happy for his presence. It added to the colour of the scene. It is good that he is here because this fountain takes on the symbolism of the spring and that can be of Life, Youth, Knowledge and of course Immortality. The water of the spring or fountain is venerated as purity and the beginning of life. But they connect with ideas of Memory - in various Greek legends they can bring forgetfulness . If the dead lose their memory and the new born acquire them, then that is a very Jungian formulation. At a collective level, we acquire, in some manner, the memory of the past. In Orphic terms, the Spring of Lethe lulls into death, the Spring of Memory ensures wakefulness and hence immortality. So if the collective remembers, even unconsciously, then of course we ensure memory of continuity. That is a kind of immortality that in turn connects with what we consider modernity.