This is the place – Two


(The following was written in a process-collaboration with Anna Brownsted and unclaimed creatures, for The Fictional Woods) (Image by MaZzuk, 2007)

This is the Place/This is the Space

2 June 2014: 17:36

Tucked out of the way in the corner, you’re passive here. Observant. Expectation is a stranger to you, and you’ve no need to make their acquaintance. Other spaces, other rooms, tend to suggest or down right insist upon the relationship you should have with them, but not here. Fastidious in its shape, structure, integrity, it is indifferent to you and any designs you might have on it. Even if you were to lavish the walls, the floor and the ceiling with an other-worldly aesthetic it would resolutely remain, solid, stoic, silent.

People wander through as you could do – and will do – with no thought other than to pass through. Some remain in a temporary state: reading, in discussion, watching and listening things that are outside of this room – outside of this time. But to really remain; to live here is unnatural. What is the natural environment in which to live? Are our homes? Do we not do more of our living outside of our dwellings?… You might say that in sleeping at home we are merely passing through much like we would this corridor…through time, just sleeping.

This last thought compels you to move. You cannot dwell here, certainly without purpose. Moving away to your right, towards the centre of this transient space, you consider the various spaces you occupy in the average day: the bedroom, for sleeping; bathroom for washing; bus and train to shift from A to B; office to work…are you in control of the use of these spaces, or do they enforce themselves upon you? What would it mean to truly transform a place? Change its meaning…its purpose…

You soften your gaze over the silhouetted model cityscape and can begin to discern its appearance as though you were looking upon it from a nearby hillside, the sun disappearing behind the dusk-mottled structures that house and protect the urban settlement. And on this hillside, beyond the reach of the city, it doesn’t seem so difficult to leave the walls of this hallway behind and create an outside of it in here.

But outside of the city, you are inside something else. Somewhere else. For isn’t it impossible to ever fully be outside of everything? The haze of your softened gaze descends further, deeper, quilting your harsher perceptions and massaging the aesthetic of your imagination. Look around, and what do you see? The door to the courtyard behind you – which perhaps to your dreamy perception is no longer a door but a snicket between dense foliage that opens on to a clearing beneath the twilit sky; the walkway a beaten track carved into the earth. Many people have been here before you, that much is clear, but none remain. Cautious perhaps of the open space of the clearing, you remain in the protective foliage that obscures your presence on the hill outside of the city. You return your gaze from whence you have come and in the distance, towards the far end of the city scape and occupying the other side of the landscape; two lions stand sentry of another track, perhaps leading to another clearing. This path is to be followed.

As you approach the sentries, slowly, cautiously, the reflection of your advancement floats like a ghostly apparition between the statuesque lions. Their static presence is unnerving and so like a distant beacon, you decide to keep your reflection in sight, guiding you beneath an archway of large branches between two trees that frame the end of this woodland corridor. A little beyond the archways, you notice a cabin to your left in a small clearing. Inside an elderly gentlemen stares sorrowfully out of the window; he too is stationary like the lions. It appears he hasn’t seen you. Or can’t see you? Or else looks right through you, completely unperturbed by your presence here. His eyes are fixed on a point over your shoulder, with his face contorted in an unnervingly neutral mask that gives nothing away. Why does he not notice you? What is he waiting for?

You follow the line of sight and settle on a second cabin. Unlike the first you are unable to penetrate its windows; its contents are hidden. Like the strange gentleman you feel compelled to maintain your own stare, perhaps to glimpse a sign of life inside. But it is still.

Everything is still.

The city is still; the lions are still; the man is still and this cabin…is deathly still: like a heart awaiting a shock to bring it back to life.

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