Monday, 2 July 2007

Meditations on stability

Stones 122 and 154 get placed on top of their uprights today. Stone 122 is famous for getting smashed in half in 1900, when a gale blew it from its perch and hurled it 80 feet across the ground.

Oddly, the more you learn about the real Stonehenge the more fragile and contingent it becomes. It seems to fall apart at the slightest puff of wind. I think at least three stones have fallen or blown over from 1900 to the present day, and it seems statistically likely to me that another one will topple within our lifetime. This is very different from the iconic Stonehenge image familiar from UK national branding, where the monument is celebrated for being 'constant' and 'unchanging'.

Our cardboard Stonehenge, which would appear to be under no such national identity pressure, is in fact very much like the real henge in that it too is an extraordinarily delicate structure. Especially if it gets knocked onto the office floor.

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