olafur is a friend. we don't see each other often, so our relationship consists of news bits travelling through his gallery in new york (which i designed), news bits travelling over email to one another, and me visiting his work. visiting his work is not like visiting olafur, but it does serve as a powerful reminder of the installations we have collaborated on, and the terrain he maps in the new works is as familiar as that we discussed a couple of years ago. yet it was years ago since we last collaborated. what happened?
i am going to be coached. no, not rugby-coached. life coached. a rugby friend told me to stay in the seat the entire weekend. bring a phone and a rolodex. go there with something to accomplish. go there to listen. (after taking a break from listening, i have decided to listen again). be open to being coached. after a year of being coached to sprint, pass, and tackle, without me getting angry, dimayed, or in any way damaged, i feel that i am ready.
ready for what, princess? to participate in something i have neglected for over two years: my life.
i stopped working on my architecture portfolio on september 11, 2001. it was a portfolio designed to get myself a teaching job, possibly one not in new york city. the goal was to have the entire thing done by september 30, 2001, and interview for teaching positions that began in january 2002. i took the rest of the month off and promptly forgot about this goal in my life. my passion for teaching, and for my own work, thus neglected of its sustenance, decided to wander away. like an animal that had not been fed, it decided to look elsewhere. three-quarters of the book was finished, and still looks wonderful. i have not looked at it until last weekend.
now, i do not intend to flatten my emotional state to that of lazy boor. i have grown and learnt a great deal about myself in the past few years. i designed and executed a very successful entry for the High Line Competition last may. my current favorite sport demonstrated something i had only glimpsed by working out at the gym: that physical resilience is a state wholly dependent upon mental resilience. yet it is as if another self has grown around an older, forgotten self, the way a tree subsumes a metal fence if they are forced to grow in the same space. the resulting figure is naturally grotesque.
the other night i dreamt we were all playing rugby. we were good. we were driving the ball forward. as you know, the only way to do this is to pass backward, and so we were acting as a team, not as you-and-me. the other technique required is a ferocity, not about passing or running, but about scoring. teams will lose if they play to play well. we were playing to win, fearless and ferocious about being in the game.
i have forgotten to be passionate about you, my love. it's entirely obvious to anyone who sees me, and to anyone who has read that i have written nothing about you, and so it's almost redundant to state it here. yet if i do not state it, i am unable to follow with this: i am fearlessly and ferociously going to do everything in my power to find the means of being passionate about you. because i already love you.
olafur is not interested in the weather, or light. he is exploring how people move on the street differently because of the weather, or the light. how they see each other. he is trying to get to a condition of our existence: what is being? what external conditions cause internal effects? what are the scenes and settings that bring us together? what do we have to be to make this happen?
last week my boyfriend asked me the same questions. what astounded me, after the fact that my boyfriend is insightful enough to ask such questions, a talent he had demonstrated a long time ago but which i continually need to be reminded, is that i had forgotten to ask myself these questions, even though up to very recently i had asked myself these questions every day. and the last two years of spending hundreds of hours trolling the internet didn't provide any answers, but at least the questions remained. how do we do this?
his collection of refigerator magnets will turn you klepto.
my new hot hunky latin hair guy [sotto voce, as he's djuzzhing my hair]: the bad boy virgin at the meat market...
me [smirking]: **
me: is it really that obvious?
hot latin hair guy: no, it's hard to tell. you look innocent at first.
"Nature and letters seem to have a natural antipathy; bring them together and they tear each other to pieces."
a few weeks earlier we had been in miami, for a similar occasion. a cocktail party. i used to despise these events, but with boyfriend, they are somehow gorgeous activities. like the mirror scene, the cocktail mise en scene was put in motion by him, carried out by the rest of us. and like before, he remained as much a captive to the inhabitation as the rest of us.
when architects were masters of the art drawing--that is, manually placing lines upon a sheet of paper--we were beholden to lines. there used to be a system of lines, invisible in a final drawing, whose only purpose was to support the generation of the visible drawing. these were made with non-reproduceable blue or purple: invisible to the blueprint machine's violet light. the motions of a straightedge and drawing utensils often would erode these blue lines before the drawing approached printing. yet long before the final lines are drawn, before any ink is discharged from pens, before any plastic lead is frictioned off of the leadholder, a craftsman like myself can see, in his head, through a concatenation and syncopation of line-laying, the drawing i am about to do in the reasoned grime that lay before me. in fact, one can see many drawings: the outcome is fluid, but a structure exists which will enable any of a dozen outcomes to issue forth from the page. the resonance of multiple futures is infinitely more satisfying that the completion of the work. what others may see is a distant drawing, a dirty sheet that has layered under it markings of measure and guide, beneath the fog of the surface of the page, evenly coated with an atmosphere of graphite. only a few blue and graphite marks, along with the ghost of half-disappeared guides, give form to what will be.
the architect of this construction has placed at his disposal a world under his control which will produce any combination of lines he desires. yet he must play by its rules. the possibilities are finite. and he must still say something with this little structure, his ship in a bottle. he is at once master of the restraints and bound to their terms once accepted into the medium.
miami. the music of this place, and its underlying rhythm, had captured a part of me within an hour of arriving, like a large communist hurricane from the atlantic enveloping coastal hotels, destroying everything with a displaced ocean. the agitation became a watery wash. and i wanted to dance in it.
it was the cocktail party in miami where i first noticed it. i was by the fountain, overlooking Biscayne Bay, only the blue lights of the fountain illuminating my new friend. he was tall, well-formed, angelic, interesting. our conversation was exciting me, below the belt, even though the talk was perfectly innocent, about art. i was bringing him his cocktail. perfect kir royales were difficult for both of us to resist. his wife was at the pool, listening to boyfriend's friend, the owner of the house, tell her about how he took his boat up the intercoastals to Toronto last summer. champagne was on the menu, and everyone was enjoying it. my new friend and i were alone in a quiet grove nearby, the palm trees and bushes creating a little echo chamber for the fountain's bubbles. i sat down, and presented him his drink with all the love i would put into adjusting boyfriend's tie in England.
i glanced up to see boyfriend's face uplit, his familiar pugnacious gaze peering distantly, across low palms, across the pool, next to the bar. the palatial house rose up behind him like the wedding cake of a conquistador, the darkened topiary flanking him on both sides. i knew this look from long experience, and for a moment i was troubled by what he might do to my new friend; i knew from experience that something was about to happen. he has observed my gesture, the presentation of the cocktail, a gesture all but invisible to my new friend, but a telling trace to my boyfriend, the one other person who could see me captivated by the dim outline of my own affectionate actions.
i paused for effect. i smiled at his gaze. not my goofy grin, or the hapless dork smile i only put on when i feel like i have already lost the game. instead, i gave him the slow smirk, the one that delivers wordless guile to an adversary or a lover attempting to snare me with small jealousies.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.