Thursday, February 28, 2008
"Murmur of Wounds" is imprinted upon a banner floated just below the surface of the pond that faces UNF's library. It is not immediately visible until one is above it, looking down. Then it leaps out of the landscape like a misplaced modifier.
At first glance, it is tempting to dismiss the piece (which clearly borrows from Christo and Jean Claude) as a synthesis of that unique collegiate female who has been reborn under the rubric of Dworkin-esque feminism and Greenpeace-ish activism.
The words are so carefully chosen: "wounds," with all of its juicy, broken bird's wing yet vaguely antiseptic connotations; and "murmur" with a sort of soothing onomatopoeic structure, conjure the softest yet deepest of hurts.
Worth noting: one of the definitions in the OED defines wound as an incision, abrasion, or other injury due to external violence, in any part of a tree or plant. While one of the definitions for murmur includes: to complain against; to criticize the actions of (a person); to accuse. Accurate perhaps, on a campus that is situated at the nexus of commerce and development.
That said, it is easy to image (indulge me in a few generalizations) a group of self-righteously environmentally aware young women sitting around, fiddling with their hemp and bead necklaces, trading war stories (in whatever form, relationship or protest, they take), channeling Eva Hesse and Ana Mendieta, and finally deciding that some sort of action must be taken. A statement must be made.
The thing is, they're not wrong. The message, which is clearly a protest against the rampant development in Northeast Florida, is one that's hard to contest. The placement is clever, and the succinctness is ambiguous enough to tease the imagination. A bit melodramatic perhaps, but effective overall.