Through the Diplodomus

Par Hausel Anna, 25/05/20

Winding down the wood’s footpath, I approach an odd wooden structure reaching up to the top of the cliff from the Rhone, a jungle-gym of wood and plastic and net. There is a childish curiosity enticing me to run about and find all the connections, hidden spaces and various rooms to this enormous house. However, a sense of a more controlled introspection appears within me, too. Gardens and courtyards are ever present; trees and preexisting objects rise up inside and out.

I am now close enough to touch. A segmented ramp with an inclined barrier descends towards me, beckoning me to ascend. Up on my left are bleachers, maybe from there I can see how to get through this labyrinth. Advancing to the top of the ramp I see I have choices, I can go straight forward into a hallway leading I do not yet know where. As expected, I can also cross onto the bleachers. I could descend and walk along another path, same as the previous, just a meter lower, or I could ascend, leading nowhere. I look up, there are ropes hanging down from a canvas stretched on rails.

Here, amid my choices, I realise I am transported - surrounded by wood and plastic, no longer in the forest but swallowed by a skeletal beast. I am reminded of the perch I theorised earlier as voices float down, and I start climbing the smaller steps to the far side of the bleachers. A flock of teenagers are installed at the top, chattering happily about dinosaurs between handfuls of chips. Even with their presence, I am comforted by my vantage point.

Not wanting to intrude, I decide to go explore the two similar paths I now have seen lead to different places. I decide to take the lower path, which, unlike its sibling, is  only covered by a membrane of plastic on the right, the other one wrapping around the inside of the body of wood, depriving me of my view to the exterior. I perceive only the silhouette of my surroundings and the wooden skeleton of a space underneath me. After a sharp turn left I pass through a gap in the higher way down winding stairs surrounded by vertical wooden planks that circle down with me, connected by a continuous metal wire. 

At the bottom of this descent, I remark I am now not on the elevated forest path, but here, I am over and past the cliff that once separated me from the river. I can exit the wooden structure now, but I choose to continue through to the enclosure under the route that brought me here. 

There are suspended walls formed of vertical planks or plastic sectioning off parts of the room I had seen from above. In one of these spaces defined by the rectangular modules are blocks on which a middle aged man is seated, following a large, hyper-active dog with his eyes. I had not spotted him from pathway, but I can tell he had seen me as he looks up at the movement in the entrance without surprise and quirks his mouth into an affable smile. Not wanting to stop for polite conversation, I stride across the staggered platforms mumbling a greeting as I pass, spotting an adjoining area to the deck.

In my rush, my shoulder collides with a wall, pushing it into movement. I grasp the frame reflexively and add force to verify it’s stability. To my surprise the whole panel lurches, and I let out a gasp of breath. A muffled chuckle next to me reminds me of my escape. Flashing an awkward smile towards my audience, I pull it back into place and enter a tile bounded, pilar filled den dominated by an opening. Looking up, I recognise the ceiling as the bleachers from before, the gossiping youth’s voices reverberating down, currently discussing their friend Alice. I climb up a short compressed mud ladder, recognising the forest path in the clearing. Distracted by my thoughts, I had not realised my choice of entrance to the edifice during my initial descent. 

Above the clay tiles suspended by wire on my right, a familiar plastic clad ramp extends onto the dirt walkway. Exiting, then promptly reembarking the osteal wooden building. On the right the only thing separating the ramp from the grandstand are the angled beams that had acted as handrail before. The plastic on the left is separated in two by a gap following the ramp hip height, training my hand through it, I take a right turn and recognise the intersection of the hallways from earlier. I pass above the gap in the higher path through crosses the other one. Turning yet again, I find myself enclosed with the same blurred screens on either side. The semi-translucent material glows with forms bleeding in and out. On my right, I remember the courtyard of which I perceive only shades of light brown; on my left are a more diverse set of various tints of green and brown dancing around as I pass. 

Mesmerised by this skin, I don’t notice my ground moving. The skeletal beast awakens, unfurling its long neck and tail. It stretches its crouched legs and takes a step.