Taschenbuch im Offsetdruck, Text auf Englisch und in chinesischer Übersetzung
146x96 mm, 60 Seiten, 1. Auflage von 300
Herausgegeben von am Art Space und Goethe-Institut Shanghai
Offset printed pocket book, text in English and Chinese translation
146x96 mm, 60 pages, 1st print run of 300 copies
Published by am Art Space and Goethe-Institut, Shanghai
What is expendable. It’s been pouring rain. Walking through generous wall-framed streets under a mint-coloured umbrella at dusk, peaceful, beautiful, wet, and blue. In the archive you gave me, I enter little worlds. Collected notes of nearly twenty years of observing and writing. Taking all leave from work, I want to dwell there.
What the plane trees and moving spotlights from passing cars, hustling legs, and wet hemlines make me think of: I will take us for a walk. We never knew when to stop walking, walk was the basic pattern of our lives at a time when we were also travelling across each other’s body in a frenzy; walking that was thinking, thinking that was speaking, and writing that was walking. Walking your story in the rain today. Am I at your will?
Writing from the city’s negative below. Infrastructure. Inside is where air is, outside mud and stuff. What carries over to the inside. While, on the surface, moving is informed by landscape, these tunnels do not have a landscape, there is no moving in between spaces, outlined spaces are all there is. In this negative, there is no standing on the edge and knowing that you are able to jump. Because that fear cannot exist in city tunnels, differently from mining shafts and therefore fundamentally different from all extractive sites, because of that, life down here is truly earthen. No windows. This is where you all will come to take shelter one day the way communities did in the mountains forever. Think of this planet congested by death and wealth, and consider the inelegance of going earthen, not a cure, not healing, but the condition for coping with collective congestion. I am writing from here to digest, though I know most people have hardly participated in the congesting ourselves. On city streets only lonely corpses stay unmoving, you said, and now I see that it’s because living minds on one-way tracks cannot care enough. These tunnels are where you wrote yourself.
Once you wrote a passionate letter to a man you didn’t know well at the time. After seeing a dead cat’s corpse collapsed on the pavement, that’s what you did. During previous days, in front of your house, its body had been shuffled here and there, some passersby having tried to get rid of it, or return what seemed like dignity to the dead, halfheartedly, so that it kept proving its existence. Two little paws sticking out of a folded billboard poster at the foot of a garbage can. A barren fox-red corpse on top of the same can was defying gravity rigorously. Cat back wrapped in poster unsuccessfully sticking out of dumpster. Corpse naturalised as extension of garbage can. You were swaying while you told me about your letter.
And secretly I sway between poles of how I can relate to you now. This project has an outrageous scale, this is your and my mass culture, out of touch with our social body, but a celestial body to our little physical lives. I am just mediating what you handed me, but the responsibility for the form the mediation takes makes me desperate. Knowledge is power, conjures the library you used to go to by embedding this statement in walls and carpets in cardinal languages, what kind of power. During this walk I want to engrave the tunnel walls to put a liquid spell on us in turn.
Seeing him that night in the half-empty lecture hall left you wretched. The skin under your clothes seemed to be burning up against cold fingertips. They had been steady carrying up bottles of water to the fourth floor but trembling throwing an empty one out. His sight left you exposed and his attendance drained you. He had been walking around all day, observant over long stretches of time, and at times carried away on transformative excesses of understanding. Then, moving away from mere understanding, following a hint the world didn’t know it had given. A sensitive inexplicable hunch. He walked into the room in the same way. Not exactly confident. Glaring neon-lights covered where he sat down, still taking in the spectacle of an architecture in a shape you couldn’t survey, designed to be suggestive, not informative, oh so powerful. Speakers were preparing to start in the front and you didn’t know which side to take. You had to close your eyes in a corner and let the sensation of hearing his breath across the room take over.
Taking thinking for a walk at your will, I discover more and more tunnels, all constructed by a necessity of the city which diverts from what landscape dictates, mostly in order to go between home and job. Even in your messy city this structure of need exists. Apart from that, digging is seldomly done for leisure, so in here I am not seduced, I am urged. A responsible maze directing me strictly. Tunnels underlie flection, and the grammar of the burrow is unfulfilling, you wanted me to experience lust, lust, I read now, is connected to austerity. I really hate that. Please play with me in the afterlife. In your city I am always protected by the concrete which has been poured into all gaps, as teeth are filled to keep dirt from going underground. Where sky could touch you. I have no need for dexterities when thinking of you in here. Territories deteriorate, because I want to start digging down after digging up to make lunar channels, avoiding to locate myself in relation to topography. Your gift is choking me.
Dreary bleakness, you have gone. This is new moon, still looming, and I find that getting closer to you in the darkness is keeping sadness at bay.