chapter  8
14 Pages

Ephemeral Art: The Art of Being Lost

ByMary O’Neill

This chapter argues commonly understood in French and English, what we mean by cairn are the heaps or mounds of rough stones that are most often found or seen erected in mountainous or desert areas along tiny and evanescent paths, at crossroads, on the edge of passes or on the top of some mountain peaks. Cairn, as a word, comes from the Gaelic carn meaning literally heap of stones' and stemming from car, the word for stone' or, more metaphorically, hard'. Even when Gillet Alexandre interested in trail-markers or rather trail-makers' sometimes there are not even traces of the trail, as for instance on stony ground there is something that links every cairn. Something which in no way gives up the idiosyncrasy of a particular artifact, that is, the cairn's architectonics: the dry-stone. With this in mind, let us finally come back on some stony ground and again meet the cairn and its moving and open figure.