Thanks for the photos of the work in progress, LINK is such a different shape to what I imagined. In my mind I was looking at a huge pair of steely sans-serif parentheses: two big symmetrical curves with rectilinear edges. LINK is softer and funnier than I imagined, more like bodies than punctuation marks - these are two big curvy worms. I understand now what you said about “soft and strong at the same time”. These qualities together create enjoyable synaptic misfirings, combining recognisable states of being into an amalgam that complicates recognition. They suggest a rest between movements or exchanges that are not for, by, or about my body: alien cutlery or conductors of imperceptible energies.
Such unfamiliar movements and non-human entities, our artwork familiars, can be co-conspirators in living abundantly (both hard and soft, both work and play). Lately I’ve been thinking about how as artists we tend to play and then bureaucratise our playing in terms of outcomes, deadlines, access and occupational health and safety… and then I think: dangerous, private and inaccessible games do not deserve a public that would sanitise them. I hope that there will always be new mythical, personal and particular pleasures before, during and after your public engagements.
Soft spot to rest (DDDdddD) is the exact dimensions of your ute tray, recoding utility as a foundation for inactivity. You wrote to me about stretching out the blue vinyl in the park and how its creases melted in the warm sunshine. You mentioned that handling the softening vinyl felt like an invitation to stretch your own body. This reminded me of primary school gymnastics and the thud of my failed cartwheels onto vinyl crash mats. Embodying object-hood can allow release, but only if the conditions aren’t forceful. I felt the force of my child body turning as a wheel and dropping as a chain, that was the extent of my physical ability and it was embarrassing. But there are moments and places for willing submission towards being less subject and becoming more object. I am thinking about the D-ring of a dog collar, a little point of tug, where resistance and compliance make a hard shiny sound.
The varying distances between puppy and owner, ankles and crash mat, the sculptures in this exhibition and the schedule of dances that reconfigure them are distances between subjects and objects that are holding without touching. This is familiar and sore; in the last nine months I’ve been strung into support networks necessarily characterised by a lack of proximity. From this distance (writing about the exhibition before it’s install, writing from Naarm to Meanjin) I can portend that support objects of this scale might imply a huge metaphysical holding. I want to be tiny and rest.
Who holds us now? Or, what holds us now? The photo of LINK hooked around a dancer’s neck as they lay on the grass reminds me of the vaudeville hook: the show must be stopped, the act has gone on for too long. But this is a reversal - the performer wears the hook, slowly dragging the hook into action. The collective citizenry of somatic knowledge is so slow and numb in the wake of crunching supply chains, global economic deficit and governmental decisions that require our bodies to be generally separated out. Those decisions also widened the institutional gaps through which marginalised people sink. We need slow strange movement, we need to shift collective anaesthesia, we need to snag each other. We need to learn from our object familiars the lessons of being handled, given that we are already under the control of forces both microbial and political.
Wanna know something weird? I want a mirror for my room, and my lover suggested a square acrylic mirror tinted yellow, to stick on the bottom of my fold-up table. It would be a yellow mirror at bed height to gaze in before the day begins, a mirror for feeling like a radiant larvae. I couldn’t believe it when you sent those photos. Sun on bare back exists for you in grams, centimetres, condensation and pressure. It offers others a dreamy filter of warmth, sunshine or piss through which to see themselves and carry in memory.
Being a radiant larvae exists in my mind. I’m sending hope for all the things you have in mind that are yet to come - the beating sun on a bare chested hike, learning through doing, finding both dexterity and strength in the things and relationships you make.