Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Atlas as Process
Monday, November 7, 2022 | Fan Wu and Dan McFadden
The classical figure of Atlas—let’s take the Farnese Atlas as our oldest extant example—holds on his back the world in the shape of a celestial globe, a readable image of the heavens. If we were to circle this sculpture in three-dimensional space, we would count 41 constellations from ancient Greece: illustrations of star patterns whose forms have persevered to this day. Atlas’s spine is contorted and his muscles bulge; I witness his neck bowed and tug instinctually at my own shoulders, stiff in sympathetic reciprocity. It’s not that the sky is that heavy. Rather, Atlas only knows the sky as a burden handed down to him, and treats it with the weight that punishment projects into it. (And I have to admit that where others see Atlas’s strength, his exhaustion is what I want to see; this is the interpretation my mind magnetizes.)