MONUMENT VALLEY DEADHORSE POINT GRANDCANYONGeological - and hence metaphysical - monumentality, by contrast with the physicalaltitude of ordinary landscapes. Upturned relief patterns, sculpted out by wind,water, and ice, dragging you down into the whirlpool of time, into the remorselesseternity of a slow-motion catastrophe. The very idea of the millions and hundreds of millions of years that were needed peacefully to
ravage the surface of the earth hereis a perverse one, since it brings with it
an awareness of signs originating, long before man appeared, in a sort of pact of wear and erosion struck between theelements. Among this gigantic heap of signs - purely geological in essence - manwill have had no significance. The Indians alone perhaps interpreted them - a fewof them. And yet they
signs. For the desert only
uncultivated. This entire Navajo country, the long plateau which leads to the Grand Canyon, the cliffsoverlooking Monument Valley, the abysses of Green River are all alive with amagical presence, which has nothing to do with nature (the secret of this wholestretch of country is perhaps that it was once an underwater relief and has retainedthe surrealist qualities of an ocean bed in the open air). You can understand why ittook great magic on the Indians’ part, and a terribly cruel religion, to exorcizesuch a theoretical grandeur as the desert’s geological and celestial occurrence, tolive up to such a backdrop. What is man if the signs that predate him have such power? A human race has to invent sacrifices equal to the natural cataclysmicorder that surrounds it. It is perhaps these reliefs, because they are no longer natural, which givethe best idea of what a culture is. Monument Valley: blocksof language suddenly rising high, then subjected to a pitiless erosion,ancient sedimentations that owe their depth to wear (meaning is born out of the erosion of words, significations are born out of the erosion of signs), andthat are today destined to become, like all that is cultivated - like all culture-natural parks.