Daniel KnorrNavel of the World, 2017stainless steel, concrete, edition of 3 + 2 AP 295 x 337 x 90 cm
In collaboration with Meyer Riegger
Art Basel Miami Beach Public Collins Park
Navel of the World
Touching the earth determines our existence as humans. We are like plants growing in a common garden. We cannot escape and we also have nowhere to go; we are simply growing towards the sun. This phenomenon is the positive definition of our existence. Growth has one direction: out of the earth and into the sky. It is positive growth, forward. To move backwards designates negative growth, into the earth. We are determined by positive growth. It is in our nature to grow, to colonize, to take over.
Growth can stigmatize the processes of civilization and culture. Disconnecting humans from their own nature, from their primitive instincts and their judgments driven by these instincts is an important role of cultural practice.
When Manzoni created the “Socle du Monde,” he was referring to the earth as a minimalist entity that was inverted and exposed. His work situates its viewers on the underside of the earth, placing them in opposition to the “top of the world.” He changed the way we look at the earth and demanded a reorientation towards its development, towards the existing world order. The political nature of this setting touches zones of influence and the prefixes of global growth.
The “Navel of the World” is a popular term for the most important point in the world. In many cultures, this point is set at the intersection of mystical coordinates. In everyday language, it is the point in the world that appears most attractive and popular, or the “center of the world” around which everything revolves.
The act of body piercing also has complex meanings in world cultures and emerged as early as 7,000 B.C. It was used to distinguish between different groups of people with specific cultural backgrounds and statuses. Since the 1990s, piercing has experienced a huge revival and now carries new-age connotations of trendiness. It also represents a further development of the way the body is presented in public.
The piece “Navel of the World” revives Manzoni’s practice of signaling a singular point in the world, assigning it a certain importance, and situating it within a political chart of global influence. Piercing the “most important point” of the world is an act of humanizing the earth and shifting its meaning to the level of contemporary body consciousness. At the same time, it highlights the vulnerability of the earth and questions future evaluations of its human body. Mother Earth is not only good; it is also cool.