Negative space carved into the landscape, a hollowing, and a damaging of the wholeness of the material. A fissure in the ground itself. This essay considers the dungeon through the lens of an impossible necrosis of the physical material, a self-generating wound (negative space) alternatively worming and yawning wide beneath, the inhabitants either opportunistic or a consequence of this death-of-stone, spawned by the Wound itself.
Continuing this examination of the physical self-generating negative space (Wound), its very strangeness can be a wound on the expectations and experience of the observer, mirroring the wrongness of the physical artefact. It does not follow the rules of the world – by their nature, these wounds are aberrations, impossibilities in the natural order, a negative space in understanding – a wound in how we thought thinks worked, or how they should work. This feeling is exacerbated by two common features observed within the wounds – their age, as ruins presuppose history and thereby age, and the impossible inhabitants which cannot, should not ecologically function nor survive.
Self-generating aged ruined structures are a paradox – their nature explicitly points to a history, which is rendered impossible by their very self-generating nature – how can something not here yesterday have the weight of history so deeply embedded into every rotten flagstone. One could view the ruins and devastation not as a mark of history, but resultant of the wound itself – but this rapid destruction would leave burning and sharp fresh-severed rock, not aged ruins stamped by the passage of years.
The inhabitants, those oft-hostile monsters, seemingly doing nothing but squatting in the ruins, waiting to kill those foolish enough to plumb the depths. When there is no natural ecological explanation for their existence or their actions, one must examine through the lens of the self-generating Wound, as well as the negative space/wound opened within knowledge. They could be considered a result of the physical Wound.
One view, that of the self-generating dungeon as a force possessed of a will for self-preservation, more akin to a living thing, would give these generated monsters the role of the antibody, destroying foreign bodies which enter the system of the wound. However, this reasoning, considering the dungeon-as-Wound, renders this strange. The wound is a disruption of an existing system, not a system of its own. We could instead take the view of the inhabitants as debris – the wreckage spawned by the act of wounding itself, the negative growth of the self-generating dungeon. Something akin to survivors, squatting in the ruins left behind, wounded themselves and driven to madness by it, full of violence and spite for those who come after, plumbing the depths of the damaged body the remains were once part of.
They could, alternatively, be viewed as an infection – the wound, left open, allows parasites and disease an easy entry into the ruptured body, infesting and spreading in the increasingly fetid wound, eventually, perhaps, a greater threat than the initial wound itself.
A final view is that of the inhabitants as secondary wounds, caused by the disruptive effects on the body by the original wound, like splintered bone tearing open further injuries within. Following this, the wounding of observers physically and in negative-space infliction within knowledge, are tertiary wounds, further damage by the original self-generating wound, now attacking along further vectors.
As an aside, the increased danger as the wound is probed further and deeper could be understood as a concentration of the wounding energy, as well as the wounding mechanisms being worse as the injury extended deeper into the body – something applicable to all views on the inhabitants. The remains are deeper gouged, the infection deeper and more sinister or the secondary wounding worse.
Whilst this essay is an examination of the self-generating dungeon-as-wound, the notion of the dungeon as a purposeful wound, a designated and conceived site of activity is still worth a mention. Conventional, mundane uses can be easily understood, blunting the edge of their wounding potential, simply assimilated into existing knowledge rather than being a negative space of understanding, mirroring the physical architecture of the constructed space itself. However, giving the constructed space utility does not have to cause this, if the use itself is wounding, something not understood and, potentially, not to be understood. The site of unknown/unknowable utility has the mirrored negative space wounding potential of the self-generating dungeon-as-wound, and, perhaps, intensifies the wounding of knowledge through the frustration of the unknowable use. An additional layer can be achieved when this utility is in-congruent with the physical negative space of the structure itself.
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