What a clever story it is, the one in 1001 Nights that tells of an expedition in search of the talking bird, the singing tree, and the golden water. The task was to climb a high mountain. But the resistance was invisible (as the dervish in fact says to the one prince who was not afraid of any danger: Have you considered what it means to do battle with the invisible); it was nothing more nor less than voices that shouted and made an uproar, scolded, shocked, whined, ridiculed, etc. — and if one looked around he became a stone.
— Soren Kierkegaard
At 8am on our second visit to Ghalila mountains, the sound of boys chattering to the beat of drums resonates in the valley. We follow the sound and find ourselves in front of a very humble mountain lodging. There are seven boys in there that open the door for us and welcome us in. The oldest is 17, and the youngest is 12 years old. It’s a Friday and they have spent the night here. I take a liking to the youngest of the group, who is wise beyond his years. He tells me this is their weekend retreat. On a Thursday, once he returns from school, his first chore for the day is to complete his homework. His second task is to pack lightly for this regular two-day camping trip. The driver drops them off, and the group of boys spends their weekend here, independent with limited cell phone reception, visiting the next-door lodgings, which similarly are occupied by young schoolmates and neighborhood friends.
I’ll be searching for such individuals, those that chose to return to the mountains for a momentary stay. I’ll also search for others that have left behind the bustling city life and have settled in the valleys, and then there are those that never left the rocky terrains.
This body of work will not only document small village life and the inner landscapes of its inhabitants, but also of their surrounding landscapes. I am interested in looking at the patterns that underlie the spaces they occupy in both their macro and micro. On the remains that are left behind, either organic or fabricated.