You-Rope-Ah photoshoot March 27
Using driftwood and ropes and pieces of plastic related to the oyster fishery that I found at Goose Spit, I created a marionette-type figure which I refer to as You-Rope-Ah. I chose this name because the figure is made of rope, and because it is also a ridiculous name; it sounds awkward to my ear, and alludes to the Greek myth of the kidnapping and rape of Europa by Zeus, who was wont to do such things at will.
You-Rope-Ah is named after Europa, a Cretan moon goddess who lived in Phoenicia. One day while cavorting beside the sea collecting flowers with her companions, she caught Zeus’ eye, and Zeus appeared to her in the form of a beautiful pure white bull who himself smelled of flowers. Europa, entranced by his beauty, climbed onto his back, and Zeus plunged back into the sea and swam off with Europa on his back, followed by Nereids on dolphins, Tritons, and Poseidon. Europa realized that this white bull must be a god, and she appealed to him to treat her well. He takes her to Crete where she bears Minos (of minotaur fame) and Rhadamanthus, and a few other sons, three of whom become known for their lawmaking abilities. https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/The_Myths/Zeus’s_Lovers/Europa/europa.html
This You-Rope-Ah has no similarities to Europa other than they both emerged from a sea.
Mythologies now can’t involve rich sea life; our new mythologies must engage environmental realities.
Originally ropes were made of plant fibres, and although ropes today are made using the same twisting techniques, almost all rope produced today is produced from petroleum based fibres. These ropes, of course, are more durable as the fibres don’t break down.
The beaches of Eastern Vancouver Island are littered with pieces of these ropes. Over a period of a year, I collected pieces of rope that I found primarily but not exclusively at Goose Spit in the Comox Valley. I like the colours but dislike finding so much rope on the beach.
My original purpose for collecting the rope was undetermined.
I can’t claim to a direct environmentally responsible impulse initially, but as I worked with the rope, especially during the photo shoot day (and more especially while selecting the photographs for this website), I became extremely sad as we lugged You-Rope-Ah across the rocks and the grass and into the trees and into the water, and saw the concentration of indestructible rope within the environments we placed it in.
We worked in silence.
Shoot location: Gartley Point.
The other element informing this project is Freud’s description of the “uncanny”. You can read more about this here:
The following link takes you to the 21 page essay.
May 8 update: You-Rope-Ah
You-Rope-Ah has been returned to the beach at Goose Spit. Here are the photographs, the saying goodbye to You-Rope-Ah: