forever smiling

As time goes by, Gondorla is increasingly unable to remember why it started in the first place and how it is organized. Realizing its own shortcomings is in no way painful, or pathetic.

Quite the contrary : even in an empty room, Gondorla would keep smiling in a rather dignified but idiotic way.

It is just withering in its own insignificance, fading like so many once-colourful wallpaper motifs - which after all may be a fairly common condition.


principiorum gondorlae descriptio

Welcome to a description of Gondorla's principles.


Gondorla is an imaginary object made visible by different stories. It uses them as wallpaper, pavement, or panelling.


The analogies of those stories paper the Second Nature, a disparate and ephemeral structure.


Gondorla has nothing to say about the world and how thick it is. It's a paper house, a transient shape in the world.


Its heart is a stopping place where, ideally, anyone can linger before setting out again in their lives with more energy.


O. Novanni

a long chain

"Both Savage and Moehanga himself believed European knowledge and gifts of tools would make the latter great on his return to New Zealand. But Moehanga, though brave and intelligent, did not have the status, determination and vision to make this happen. His chiefs appropriated his goods, his stories were disbelieved, and, while he did some service as a go-between (whaling captains used him as a kind of postmaster), he soon forgot most of his English, though he would not admit it. In frustration, he stole an axe from a visiting ship and was exiled by his hapu (sub-tribe.) In 1815, John Nicholas found him, verbose and importunate, getting the locals to link arms with European visitors, forming a long chain, in what he claimed was a European custom."


Making Peoples, A History of the New Zealanders, From Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century, James Belich (1996) pp 140-1


a centripetal force

« Ni Tanjung lives in a small bedroom plunged into semi-darkness. The bedridden 85-year-old lady is too frail to stand up. (…) She enchants her nights by feverishly creating coloured figures she draws and carefully cuts out. (…) Her work unfolds behind closed doors, born out of a centripetal force (…) »
About artist Ni Tanjung, questions to Lucienne Peiry,

Artension (2014)



« Mirabilia are to be found in abundance in Book XXXVII; but whenever Pliny refers to the marvellous virtues attributed to certain precious stones, he almost always mentions the name of the author who guarantees dubious or outlandish facts, and implies he does not believe them. »

Eugène de Saint-Denis, an introduction (1972) to Pliny the Elder Natural History, Book XXXVII - Of Precious Stones (around AD 77)

an archaelogical dog

"While I was in the Marshes (of Southern Iraq), I never tried to collect objects of archaeological interest. But once I was given a Hittite seal and another time a small piece of lead sheeting covered in scratches that proved to be Phoenician characters. The man who gave it to me said it had been part of a huge roll which they had melted down for bullets. On a third occasion I was taken with much secrecy into a house and shown the terracotta figure of a dog. Underneath was printed, ‘Made in Japan’."
The Marsh Arabs (1964), Wilfred Thesiger

eager hearts

"But it is Spain's deserts that give her the advantage; for here we find esparto grass, selenite and even luxury—in the form of pigments; here is a place where there is an incentive to toil, where slaves can be schooled, where men's bodies are hard and their hearts passionately eager."


Natural History, Book XXXVII - Of Precious Stones (around AD 77)
Pliny the Elder

(Translated by D.E. Eichholz )

vulgar impulses

Miss Ambient "had, I believe, the usual allowance of vulgar impulses: she wished to be looked at, she wished to be married, she wished to be thought original."

The Author of Beltraffio (1884),
Henry James


Corporal Trim, a detail from the Siege of Namur (1773), an engraving after Tristram Shandy by Henry W. Bunbury
Corporal Trim, a detail from the Siege of Namur (1773), an engraving after Tristram Shandy by Henry W. Bunbury

Everybody rides their own hobby-horses.


‘I have but one more stroke to give to finish Corporal Trim's character,— and it is the only dark line in it. — The fellow lov'd to advise, — or rather to hear himself talk...’

The life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1767), Laurence Sterne




After Pierre Teyssonnières
After Pierre Teyssonnières

"'Monsieur,' said I, 'would it be indiscreet if I were to ask you the reasons for such eccentricity?'

"At these words an expression, which revealed all the pleasure which men feel who are accustomed to ride a hobby, overspread the lawyer's countenance. He pulled up the collar of his shirt with an air, took out his snuffbox, opened it, and offered me a pinch; on my refusing, he took a large one. He was happy! A man who has no hobby does not know all the good to be got out of life. A hobby is the happy medium between a passion and a monomania. At this moment I understood the whole bearing of Sterne's charming passion, and had a perfect idea of the delight with which my uncle Toby, encouraged by Trim, bestrode his hobby-horse.


La Grande Bretèche, Honoré de Balzac, 1831

(transl. Ellen Marriage and Clara Bell, 2010)