Rigidity surrounds us, while we often chance to stand mystified in apparent wonder, regarding the monuments, bridges, temples, pillars and all manner of structures from antiquity, with a deliberation that strives only to remark at their ungraspable strength, we remain naïve at the ever so tenuous yet significant grip that rigidity holds upon us. We cannot escape its symmetrical and deliberately balanced construction, in the forms of man made structures, yet equally we cannot tear ourselves away from the pressure it exerts upon us. When we find ourselves in a situation that proves demanding, the long, elongated, skeletal hands, poignant renditions of rigidity itself, reduced to the unalterable structure that appears to highlight our mortality, grasp us, ensuring a tension that is uncompromisingly firm and unyielding in it’s discomfort. The hands illustrate the aspect of are conscience that triggers tension, anxiety, stress and an agitated edginess that confines itself to the very fibrous tissue of our muscles that serve under our often tenuous command.
As the hands serve merely as unconscious manifestations of the tension within us, this tension constantly strives to retain invisibility, and while we often physically appear free from its grasp it’s power often proves unshakeable and when the hands dwindle away, their grip delivers a strain, perhaps of some untimely unease in the shoulder or awkward twinge of pain in the neck, that lasts for some time. For the moment that we suffer under their grasp we feel inflexible, fixed in an apprehensive and inconstant stance in a place that feels so densely impenetrable and constricted, to the extent that the very air proves itself to be surprisingly firm, oddly hard and we become as solid as a tortoise shell, clenched in an uncomfortable, self-constricting anguish – designed for nothing, merely as a form of precaution to soften the impact itself, so that when it strikes some of it’s power becomes diminished by the experience of previous anxiety that preceded it.
This tension proves to be destructive, however the destruction that it causes can be braced, and it can be met with a force that quenches it’s desire for control, for it is the very lack of structure and control that demands it’s existence. By depriving it from achieving control, order should immediately be distilled, so that the panic does not assume it’s incredible grasp. The tension lives on rigidity, it is like water to its thirst. It’s strength lies in it’s invisibility, however this tension can be externalised, turned inside out, so that it can be paraded in it’s beautifully vulgar glory, viewed in a predicament unpleasant to behold, so that it can be demoralised, frowned upon, laughed and jeered at – so that, when it reaches the height of infamous and incredulous ugliness, it loses the power to assume control, becoming unrecognizable and insignificant.
We can become as rigid as we like; however, rigidity proves itself to be inferior to our more refined characteristics, such as flexibility, change and movability. It defines itself in its inability to be changed or transformed – this strength also brings it weakness, for it cannot adapt to different circumstances, and therefore it cannot live.
Here is a selection of images that show tension and rigidity in structures around us.