THE BEAR'S WALK / ABRUZZO - ROME / ITALY
The Bear’s Walk: A Codex & Mystical Experience
by Clark Stevens
PROJECT: An investigation of the urban-ecological-mythological interface of Rome past, present and future, asking and sometimes answering these questions:
How can the greatest biodiversity in western Europe remain at the doorstep of Rome; and what is the path of best remaining transect from most wild to most urban-that is, how might a grizzly bear walk to the heart of Rome?
Why has the crater of the meteor that made Constantine emperor and his empire Christian been forgotten in the home of the grizzly bears for 1600 years, in spite of written, oral and visual histories of its fall from the sky?
What can explain the perfect alignment of two large white stones in the meteor’s crater, a 6-foot stone monolith several kilometers distant, two summits, and the sunrise of the day the meteor fell and the crater was created (October 27, 312 AD)?
How could it be that a day later, the sunset of the first full day of the newly “Christian” empire cast its last rays along a line connecting the Vatican summit with the crater that brought that empire into existence?
Was this axis “known” to the builders of the Via Cola di Rienzo, Piazza del Popolo, and Borghese fountain who 1500 years later framed it precisely, placing an obelisk taken from the Egyptian City of the Sun so that its 29 October shadow would draw a line that at sunset would extend 100 kilometers to the very center of this 150 meter-wide crater?
If so, might the stories embedded by this line of the setting and the falling “suns” kof October 27, 312 AD engage future inhabitations, and can these synchronicities be encoded in a restored, productive, and meaningful landscape, energizing and grounding the wandering sub-urb?
Can a landscape and sky be mapped so that an attentive future inhabitant of the next Rome might someday find and steward the secrets of the wilderness at the horizon of Spring’s rising sun?
And could a bear make it home?
This is a digital map of Stevens' project for the Biennale and focuses on features from Abruzzo to Rome.