“It only takes two facing mirrors to build a Labyrinth” – Jorge Luis Borges

T.V. Rots Your Brain – Elevator passing floors 3 5 7

I was in an elevator this past winter in one of the office towers which inhabit the concrete canyons of Toronto’s financial district.

The panelling of the windows on each of the four sides (once the doors were closed) of the elevator were slightly off, causing a visual ripple and infinity effect.

I took three photographs and used autostitch freeware to create the mirror image you see.

Of note, is that each of the three prominent reflections of the floor number, they are different, showing ‘3’, ‘5’, ‘7’, hence the title of the photograph.

“My other nightmare is that of the mirror.

“The two are not distinct, as it only takes two facing mirrors to construct a labyrinth.

“I remember seeing, in the house of Dora de Alvear in the Belgrano district, a circular room whose walls and doors were mirrored, so that whoever entered the room found himself at the center of a truly infinite labyrinth.”

— Jorge Luis Borges, “Nightmares,” Seven Nights, 1984, pg. 29.

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Lands End Labyrinth — San Francisco

I spent a couple of days earlier this week in The City, San Francisco.

Initially it was to honour the sixth anniversary of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

I built a giant outline of a candle in luminaria, then as I did exactly five months ago on the one month anniversary of the Tsunami, I waited for the Sun to set on the west coast of North America…

In due course, the same Sun would rise in East Asia.

This Giant Candle is my way of sending hope from here to there; of saying without words, that you all have not been forgotten.

I decided to stay overnight at Ocean Beach after building a fire with driftwood, sharing warmth with strangers, falling asleep to echoing rhythms of The Pacific as waves crashed womblike upon the shore.

The morning brought breakfast beside The Cliff House above the ruins of the Sutro Baths, then ultimately, exploring the Land’s End trail near Mile Rock Beach.

Without expectation, following a winding trail, a discovery.

But who and when and why and how

The what however, is known: Lands End Labyrinth.

Second in a trilogy of Bay Area labyrinths by Eduardo Aguilera.

It’s about a year old, though I had no knowledge of that at the time of discovery.

As it happened, I was still carrying a printout of a seven circuit Chartes labyrinth design.

I struck up a conversation with Roger, one of the early morning labyrinth walkers who you see wearing a Farley’s hoodie.

Roger had no clue as to the origins, but turns out, he himself had just built a labyrinth in his backyard.

Roger also owns Farley’s Coffee in Potrero Hill.

…Amazing who you can meet when you walk newly discovered labyrinths…

A number of co-incidences have happened in and around discovery of Lands End Labyrinth.

This labyrinth is off the beaten path and built by one person, Eduardo Aguilera, in hopes that people would discover them on their own. …sounds familiar.

He had built another labyrinth in the Marin Headlands, at an exact spot that I would discover later the same day. When I stumbled upon the spot, immediately I was inspired to gather stones and begin a labyrinth outline in the earth… yet I was out of gas. Exhausted. Spent. Yet still inspired to return and do it properly.

San Francisco and Toronto, both share well known public labyrinths attached to churches in central locations initiated by formal networks of people: Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and Trinity Church in Toronto

Find myself realizing that I may be Toronto’s Eduardo Aguilera.

But now left with a question I cannot answer from here, where does the Land End in Toronto?

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Labyrithmics – Big Backyard Paper Labyrinth, Fremont California

… okay, so we didn’t finish making the labyrinth in the big backyard earlier this evening … manana, manana …

This is the Big Backyard to my grandparents’ place in Fremont, California.

One of those suburban nightmares where everything is manicured and nothing out of the norm ever seems to appear.

Eyeing the boredom of the complex’s kids and the great green grass canvas since my visit began here, I finally broke down today and installed, or rather tried to install, a labyrinth.

The only materials I could readily use were simple 8.5 by 11 sheets of paper and everyday toothpicks to pin the sheets into the grass.

Harder than it looks or sounds, the grass being deep, the ground moist, my fingers and thumbs aching, the children impatient.

The kids kept asking if the labyrinth was ready all afternoon. They even helped now and then, but their tiny fingers failed them after at best a sheet or two.

Imagine kids in the backseat of your car on a long trip repeating, ‘Are we there yet?’ and your ears may get a feel for what echoed in Fremont all afternoon.

Finally, I just gave in and let them play.

No one seemed to care the paper labyrinth wasn’t done yet.

It was enjoyed as is — unfinished.

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“himy makes peace on the hill” – East Riverdale Park – Don Valley Parkway – Toronto

Matt O’Sullivan, “ matto ” to those in the know, was driving south into downtown Toronto on the Don Valley Parkway a few days ago, when he eyed my giant in-progress peace symbol on the the hill that takes up the east side of East Riverdale Park, on Broadview Avenue.

That momentary eye-popping glance was enough to entice matto into exiting the Parkway to get a better look.

The next hour found matto photographing my progress in outstalling simple 8½” sheets of white paper upon the grass using regular toothpicks to peg the pages in place. He did so mostly from a distance, though I was cognizant of the presence of his lens.

Heisenberg compensator to the max!

In being an anti-war activist, my work has included creating giant peace symbols all over Toronto these past few months, and intermittently, these past few years.

At first my outstallations were intended to bring to mind the suffering of civilians in war zones, as in Afghanistan or the civilian victims of economic sanctions as experienced in Iraq in-between the wars.

However, the beginning of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq has bumped up the intensity of debate with many many many many perspectives vying to become an Official Narrative of recent events.

When matto finally walked up the hill to introduce himself, he mentioned he will post the photos onto his “Photo Blog“.

Photo Blog ?

I immediately grasped the concept of a weblog with only photos! Wow! That sure beats my using the Gallery software to present my work online.

Inspired by The Narrative, my own photoblog will be online as soon as time permits. Hopefully in time for my trip to New York and the Republican National Convention.

Who knows, I may yet discover a hill somewhere in Gotham City and make peace in Manhattan.

Stay tuned.

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“101 Ways to Use a Classical Labyrinth” — Daniel H. Johnston, Ph.D.

Download the PDF file .

Visit The Labyrinth page on the Lessons4Living website for more from Dan Johnston, Ph.D.

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  • Human Calendar

  • Land Acknowledgements

    Traditional: recognizes lands traditionally used and/or occupied by the People or First Nations in parts of the country.

    Ancestral: recognizes land that is handed down from generation to generation.

    Unceded: refers to land that was not turned over to the Crown (government) by a treaty or other agreement.

  • Tsí Tkaròn:to

  • Vancouver

    Labyrinths are made on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples –

    Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish),

    Stó:lō and

    Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh)

    and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

    Labyrinths are made in traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of

    the Kwantlen,

    the Katzie,

    the Semiahmoo

    and Tsawwassen First Nations.