LA GARE

 

Gare du Nord

The strange feature of the station as a non-place, this ultimate Utopia, is that from here you can go to so many real places.

Places where you were once, however more especially those unknown destinations whose names are constantly buzzing from speakers throughout enormous halls, places over which the mist of adventure is hovering, as it did over one’s youth.

Each place in which you were as a child, seemed to be such a station. Even your own house with the well-known parents and the sister appeared merely to be  a stopover for further sorties, wherever they might lead – a place, destined to be left, to be left behind, to enter new adventures in places that you did not already know.

At the same time – of course – it was the irreplaceable nest of security, with a smell like nowhere. The ultimate place – however, at the same time one’s very first and absolute non-place.

Decades later the grown up child will undergo a strange longing for his return, always however destined for disappointment. Suddenly, then, what was home and is now elsewhere has also become a station of passage, back towards one’s present home, just left, which now turns out to be a home no more.

Even though it may be the terminus, La Gare itself is never a destination. A station always turns on transit further on.

Sierksma, 17.4 / 2016, at Gare Montparnasse

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Author: rjsiersk

contact: rjsiersk@xs4all.nl Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats. He would not ind being a cat.

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