all the king’s men

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Last weekend I installed this twenty seven feet long lightbox installation at a private residence in Prince Edward County. Each letter was hand-drawn, photographed and printed using commercial processes, face-mounted onto plexiglass and then affixed into LED backlit frames. The result is a presentation of the Latin palindrome “in girum imus note et consumimur igni” which means, ‘we gather in a circle by night and are consumed by fire.’ The installation, in a house created out of two barns, is integrated onto a beam that runs the width of the room, located two storeys up. The title is in reference to Humpty Dumpty’s speech in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ where he explains the jabberwocky poem to Alice. One of the words in that poem is ‘gyre’ which shares its root with the latin ‘girum’ and is the hint to the traditional answer to the riddle, namely moths gather to a flame and are consumed. However, my answer to the riddle is that we all will be consumed in our own way and so will the characters we create. I choose ‘all the king’s men’ as my answer for they are just as ephemeral as Humpty Dumpty. As Humpty says “When I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean – nothing more, nothing less.”

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