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rongo rongo
Daemon
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15 + 68 points

The Highest Place by rongo rongo

October 21st, 2008 6:56 AM / Location: -27.12119,-109.3664

INSTRUCTIONS: Go to the highest point of anything.

Easter Island was created when three large volcanic peaks merged together, along with about seventy or so minor volcanic hills. But no one visits in order to stand on the highest peak of elevation, and none of the mountains are particularly impressive as far as simple elevation. Instead, I went to the highest point of moai concentration, which happens to be on one of the lesser volcanic craters called Ranu Raraku.

The reason that the moai concentration is highest at this location is that a special type of rock found here (a soft volcanic tuft) was the favorite material for carving monumental statues. This is the quarry where nearly all the statues were painstakingly chipped out of the rock. About 95% of the moai are carved out of this yellowish tuft, and nearly half of the moai on the island are still located on either the interior or exterior slope of Ranu Raraku.

Rather than being arranged formally in a row, as they are upon the ceremonial platforms, the statues here are scattered around in haphazard groupings. Some are fully carved and half-buried in an upright position, others lie around half-finished, and some are toppled over and broken. Because so many of them are partially buried or laying down, this is also the place where you can get eye-to-eye with these tremendous sculptures. (You can see the details on their earlobes and their nostrils, and if you were irresponsible about archaeological preservation, you could kiss them on the lips.)

In addition to being the highest point of moai concentration, I think this is also a high point of most peoples' visit to Easter Island, and the most astonishing place I've ever seen. I was enthralled to sit and sketch for hours. (After most of the sketches, I took a quick photo for comparison.)

- smaller

Quite the profile

Quite the profile

This fellow is located along the lower part of the exterior slope path.


Single moai

Single moai


Various postures

Various postures

Also along the exterior slopes are groups of moai nearly touching, in a range of positions.


Group 1

Group 1


Looking down the mountain

Looking down the mountain

The exterior path goes right in front of this group.


Group 2

Group 2


The kneeling statue

The kneeling statue

This is one of the rare statues where the legs and feet are portrayed. Usually, it's a head and torso (though for many statues on in this location, the torso is partially under the dirt). Although many of the torsos include outlines of hands and fingers, I could not make out any details like that on this individual. This guy also has a goatee, but no mustache.


Kneeling

Kneeling

From the sketch angle, you can see Ahu Tongariki (a platform with 12 re-erected moai) in the background over his shoulder.


On the interior slope of the crater

On the interior slope of the crater

The path on the interior is more like a cow path than a pedestrian path. It winds along very close to a number of moai.


Up to the neck

Up to the neck


Looking at the top of his head

Looking at the top of his head

Although Ranu Raraku is probably the most popular tourist site on the island, there weren't really very many people around. For about an hour, this woman and I were completely the only people on the interior slope of the crater.


A view like a bird would have

A view like a bird would have


Looking from the top of the crater

Looking from the top of the crater

This is not the highest point in the crater, but it is mostly the highest point you are allowed to go. They don't actually want people falling down the sides of the mountain, or causing extra erosion of the soil.


Some broken pieces

Some broken pieces

These two moai lay broken on their backs at the bottom of the exterior slope.


Statues along the exterior of the crater

Statues along the exterior of the crater

When you look up the hillside, you can see many moai. It turns out there are a lot more that you can't see very well because they are still partially attached to the rock. As you get closer and closer, you see more and more moai.



18 vote(s)



Terms

statue, artifact, drawing

14 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Morte on October 21st, 2008 7:14 AM

Wow.

I mean just......

Wow.

I've never been, and you've renewed my desire to go.

In a trade for desires, you should go to Macchu Pichu some day. But make sure you get up early and make the hike up the mountain to be there in time for sunrise, and before the tourists show up. It's one of the most amazing feelings in the world, and I think it might be pretty similar to what you got to experience here.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on October 22nd, 2008 6:14 AM

Macchu Pichu sounds great. What I love is the idea that long ago, people created a location of awesomeness, and many years later, the mood is still transmitted.

(no subject)
posted by saille is planting praxis on October 21st, 2008 11:31 AM

See, i have been developing this thing where i never want to vote for things people were going to do anyway, and never expect people to vote for mine (because if i post something like that, I really just want to share something spiffy.) But this, the sketches, all the little bits of the trip you've shared, are made of so much awesome. So. much. awesome. And now I have points....

(no subject)
posted by susy derkins on October 21st, 2008 1:55 PM

Ooh, not really praxis if people were going to do it anyway? I like the idea a lot. It is a good thing to think about, I am not even sure if I agree or not yet, but I really like it as a parameter.

(no subject)
posted by saille is planting praxis on October 21st, 2008 3:34 PM

i have seen praxis Awesome enough to count anyway, (i did give this as many points as i could, after all), and things people would have done anyway but do slightly differently, more grandly, with more attention and purpose because there is a related task, which I consider very much point-worthy and part of the point of the game. i'm trying to figure out where my own lines are and whether I agree with it or not. i suspect i will be chewing on my own thoughts on this one for quite a while.

(no subject) +1
posted by rongo rongo on October 22nd, 2008 6:23 AM

I know what you mean, as far as things people were going to do anyway. I was kind of waffling about whether to do some of these write ups, because they weren't necessarily things that I did solely to achieve a specific task. But I decided that since the entire idea of going on this trip originated from playing SF0, I wanted to have some parts of the experience documented here. But yeah, an interesting question to think over.

And of course, one of the strange and wonderful aspects of the game is that it permeates and integrates with life, in a Don't play SF0, live SF0 kind of way.

(no subject)
posted by Loki on October 27th, 2008 1:56 AM

My voting patterns have always been colored by the same sense that things ought to be done *for a task.*

And yet, I really enjoy reading these Rongo Rongo tasks. They're a lot more interesting than many of the things that *are* explicitly done in response to a task prompt.

If an activity is fun to do, and it satisfies the task requirements, and it brings us pleasure to read it. . . then why on earth should we devalue it as a task? I can't think of a good reason. And "please keep on doing this because I really enjoy it, but I'm not going to vote for it" seems like a hard position to defend.

(no subject)
posted by Charlie Fish on November 5th, 2008 2:03 PM

I think a beautiful write-up can be as much of an investment of time and love as a task.

And therefore often deserving of points even if you were going to do the task-activity anyway.

(no subject)
posted by Bryce on October 21st, 2008 1:42 PM

Nort10d.jpg

I award you a Norton dollar vote in exchange for viewing the awesomeness.

note, I would give you as many points as I could if i had them.

(no subject)
posted by emma ungoldman on October 21st, 2008 3:51 PM

Your sketches are beautiful, and your enthusiasm is totally catching.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on October 22nd, 2008 6:25 AM

Thanks! I started bringing a sketch book along for museums and vacations because sometimes it's hard for me to really see something until I try to draw it.

Lovely contribution
posted by Waldo Cheerio on November 29th, 2008 2:06 AM

Getting to see sketches of these famous sculptures is a delight, and I thank you for it. The technical altitude restrictions do nothing to damper the fun of reading the praxis, so I'm voting in thanks, but trying to limit my personal enthusiasm for the sketches and photographs to a single-point tip of the hat to your completion.

(no subject)
posted by artmouse on December 9th, 2008 11:23 AM

11-09-07.jpg

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on December 9th, 2008 11:50 AM

That's great. I was thinking that they need to make Easter Island head chewable vitamins.