Equivocal Cartagraphies



A crea­ture that hides and “with­draws into its shell,” is prepar­ing a “way out.” This is true of the entire scale of metaphors, from the res­ur­rec­tion of a man in his grave, to the sud­den out­burst of one who has long been silent. If we remain at the heart of the image under con­sid­er­a­tion, we have the impres­sion that, by stay­ing in the motion­less­ness of its shell, the crea­ture is prepar­ing tem­po­ral explo­sions, not to say whirl­winds, of being.

Gas­ton Bachelard

it was qui­et · but when child came out of its shell it screamed · it fell quick­ly silent and found itself in anoth­er shell · but it couldn’t find the lan­guage to name it. child the metal­lic colour of an oyster’s pearl · sil­ver and pur­ple · in this child moth­er and father found a mir­ror · they gave it a name but it couldn’t under­stand it. into its word­less shell it crawled. 

There are innu­mer­able hid­ing places and only one sal­va­tion, but the pos­si­bil­i­ties of sal­va­tion are as numer­ous as the hid­ing places.

Franz Kafka

sanc­tu­ary · sal­va­tion · child waits until they grow too large for their tiny shell.

I shall throw away this thing that I have found as one throws away a cig­a­ret­te stub. This sea shell has served me, sug­gest­ing by turns what I am, what I know, and what I do not know …

Paul Valéry

emerg­ing once more into the world · with uncer­tain­ty · but the aware­ness of one’s hands and fin­gers · feet and toes · to stare into a mir­ror know­ing it isn’t a strange star­ing back at you. a mir­ror · the colour of the inside of the shell · what remains of the shell-world’s com­fort. 

red rib­bon
tied around a

large white shell

naked snail
some­thing like a slug

a slug

moves along the
pier where

pink and blue
shards of crab shell

is being picked
at by thin win­ter


a child sits with
some line and a


red and white

float­in’ on
the water

adult comb­ing the beach­es under a pur­ple hued sky · into the night shed­ding the shell-like safe­ty of the day · adult finds trea­sure · tiny shells and sea glass. late evenings spent in dwellings close to the fire’s hearth to keep warm · a shell that doesn’t move. safe­ty not in num­ber but in struc­ture. struc­tured days begin to spi­ral and cal­ci­fy · adult’s skin grows cal­lous · grows thick. weath­ered hands make del­i­cate tasks dif­fi­cult. adult begins to hard­en. chrysal­is or pet­ri­fi­ca­tion. evo­lu­tion or return to the earth · return to the water.