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Second floor. A wall. Plastered and painted white.   It is flat to the eye but rough to the fingers. Irregular bumps rise over shallow pockets where the white is a darker shade of white - almost blue.

 

4

 

The wall reflects the colours, glanced off of nearby objects. It is a field upon which, the shapes and stains burnt into eyes can play. They fade in and out and scan across. Flaring into forms that waver then seep or glide away.

 

4

 

Cut into the wall is a rectangle. It is approximately two by three metres and is as deep as a hand.            On each side of the hand, at its fingertips and wrist, are sheets, of very thick, glass. They double and fatten the reflections, that are beneath and on their surface. Islands of light, cut out by the fat things, framed within the window, form a school of disorderly patterns, that swim out of the rectangle, and on to the wall, where they exaggerate the roughness of its surface.

 

4

 

Inside the rectangle, contained and defined by its frame, is a tattered screen.       The screen is slit from top to bottom and hangs in ribbons held together by strands as thin as hair.    It is more absence than substance. The light behind it, eats away, chipping at the things in front. It curves around and swallows them up. Pulling them into itself.                    The ribbons are made of light and wood. Softwood; birch and pine. Vertical lines of black and white and grey.      They are severed at the head, and foot, by the cut out in the wall. It is an elevated position. Not above so much as in the trees. Bough’s eye rather than bird’s. A latticework of almost straight lines.            Lines drawn without a ruler. There’s something unconvincing about the trees. They’re unnaturally straight without actually being so. They are too long and thin. These are the misshapen shadows of trees. Prolonged sticks. They never stop peering in. Never move. Apart from the slow twisting of their many fingered hands.

 

5

 

Their spines are disfigured by patches of white and gashes of grey, giving the appearance of some kind of mangy or maybe scaly animal print.             Old wounds healed over. Grown over by others and themselves. Lichen like mould.    From here it’s hard to tell if the scars are the result of a cracking and weathering, a withering of bark, or the woodwork of some giant axe wielding maniac, whose only language is that of the mark itself, a gesture of sorts, carving posterity into the flesh of the tree.

 

3

 

 

One tree looks like a spider. Three of its branches rear up on a diagonal only to come back down and backwards again at the half way point.      This static, cringing position gives an impression, of getting low, in order to spring forward.   The fourth leg looks attached but isn’t. It grows out of the tree next door.

 

5

 

Behind the trees, visible only in winter, are two apartment blocks. These 1960s rectangles, wider in length than height, recede into the grey-white nothing and provide an unobtrusive background for the black boughs to writhe on.            Except at night, when smaller rectangles, imbedded in the bigger rectangles, come out and turn yellow and three, vertical rows, of four even smaller rectangles, and some squares, appear at irregular intervals and then all of a sudden, altogether, disappear.   Then they come back. Then they go away again. Then on. Then off. Then on.

A Jacob’s ladder of lights. Clicking into place. Blinking through the trees. The larger ones, the ones that stay on all night, seep through the trees and assert themselves toward the front of the image.          Only the whispers of objects and suggestions of things can ward off the hungry yellow rectangles. But it’s not much of a life. Confined to the golden miniatures, reduced to a silhouette.

 

5

 

During the day the miniatures dissolve, taking the silhouettes with them. And as the buildings distance themselves from the darkness, the sky leaches thinly back in. It is neither white nor grey. It is a canopy of frosted glass. Occasionally an eye perceives a shift in hue but then loses faith in itself, as the wall, exploiting the fallibility of the eye, triggers an illusory visual hum.

 

3

 

This hum, or pulsing, is a deception. The sky is camouflaging itself, against the frozen landscape, drawing low and close, and encompassing objects by dissolving them into its flat shallow body.            The light behind the screen suggests a sense of depth or electricity but no movement or distance is discernible from this side. It is both liquid and solid. Perhaps like a rope, its strength stems from its not being made of one thing, but many things woven together, to form an impenetrable density.      

       From here it is a solid surface, a frozen lake beneath which, all life is imperceptible.   It is a poorly primed scene, not quite meeting the edges. At the far corners the paint is flaking off and the raw support is visible. The Masonite can be glimpsed through the thin streaks of paint.

 

6

 

Beyond the frame is a phosphorescent dome. It is geodesic and four stories high - the size of a football pitch.        It is a shiny pearl-like structure. Immobile and parasitic like a colossal scale insect. It is flush with the earth and crusted with snow that gathers in wisps where its lines intersect.             Its taut plastic shell conceals a semi-circular world - a world that is evidenced by the bands of light that flare beneath the iridescent membrane of the dome.

 

5

 

The dome is crowned by an ink wash of conifers whose upper bodies bleed into the mash of wet sky. A forest of navy-blue cannibals. Subsumed by their own pulp. They rise up from the ground, trying to climb higher. Pushing their way. Trying to reach the good air. Desperately trying to breathe.          They claw at the empty space and strain into the distance. Where looking down upon them are two red lights. Sentinels, hovering impassively in the space above the trees. Wide set. Ten metres apart. Bearing witness. Keeping their distance.

 

6

 

Running through the bottom quarter and dodging the islands of paint, is a horizontal line.           The line is white and cuts out layers in space. It delineates a conflict of planes. It hovers above the ground it belongs to. A stamp in the snow, authored by the feet of walkers, tracing the original footpath from memory.        

 

4

 

The way it rests in space is confusing. It weaves in and out of the trees like a white ribbon. It is a negative image of the black tarmac buried beneath it. A blink momentarily reveals the original. In the snap of lashes, it echoes black, then fades back to white.

 

5

 

The low even light has a dubious source. It materialises rather than rises. It sucks the colour from the monochromes and when a boy, about ten, drags his red plastic sled along the white line, he is no more than a double exposure. But the sled. A lightning bolt of colour, titillates the eye. It pops and stings like a slap.     He slowly trundles from right to left and further away. Melting into the trees. The red dot remains visible long after he has disappeared from view. And then, finally, it fades away as well.

 

8

 

The brief moment of midday has passed. The sun took forever to get not very high. It gets up late and goes early, sinking behind the rectangles, which seem to sense their moment, when the sun lets down its guard, and the hungry yellow rectangles can begin to creep back in. Circling. Some 60-watt victory. As along the horizontal line, up on metal poles, orange coloured, oval lights dilate and eye the gloom. And as the darkness thickens, the light emitting from their lamps blooms into in orange sprays. Night gladioli. Nottingham catchflies. Their heavy scented flower heads, reeking in the dark.

 

4

 

Meandering beneath their arbour, a man approaches the crossroads of the path. He trails along the horizontal, heading left, near the spot where the boy with the sled was last seen. To an intersection of white legs that spread, akimbo to the South West, North West, East, South East and South. It is a five pointed starfish. Flat on its back. An invertebrate lollipop lady. Passively flailing coordinates. But the man is deaf to directions and stops short at the crux of the star.          He stands stock still and stares for a moment, into the middle distance.   Opting for the South East arm he shuffles and trudges his way, through the trees, and is gone.

 

5

 

It is night as night now and the left-over light is manmade. The orange street lights hang like a chain above the South to North West limb of the starfish. Their feeble light exposing the cobwebs of snow that streak sideways on the wind. Bathing the threads in itself.          An emperor. Changing their colour. It fishes them out of the black and dyes them orange. Fixing them.

 

4

 

Out of their reach is a clearing. During the day it is an open space with a collar of trees. After dark it is not clear at all. It is a void that spits out the man, who retraces the footsteps that he left in the snow, dragging behind him a part of the void that clings to his heels.    But he is heartless or oblivious to the distress of this thing that drags and falls in his wake.   He returns to the crossroads.   And again he stops and stares.           He drops a can which stamps an impression of itself into the snow. A perfect cast. He stoops to the hollow and scoops it out. Stiffly straightening, he looks then walks south.

 

4

 

To the right of the dome and coming down a hill is a series of blue and green lights.         The lights are square and on poles. One of each on each. Five in total. Ten if you count both colours.  Blue plus green times five.

 

4

 

Each of the poles is split into two. By the two competing lights. Into a blue stripe and a green stripe that sit side by side.          The transition between the coloured areas is abrupt and sharp and there is minimal blending between the bands of light.       They flatten the cylindrical poles into parallel planes of cathode ray green and ultra-violate blue that buzz on the chromatic black ground.           Coming from two sources they cast a double shadow. But the shadows are not black. They are a darker blue and darker green than the shafts of light that they cut across.

 

4

 

Offsetting the five sets of blue and green lights is a single white one. It is taller or closer than the others and it drops further down into the image. It is exactly in the middle on the very far right, and apart from its colour and height, is identical to the vertical lines of blue and green that dominate the picture plane.   Its light lights the road at the base of the hill. Thinly covering its surface.   Where it touches the road it renders it white. Where the light is blocked the line is broken.             To the right of the light the line is continuous. To the left it falls away.

 

5

 

The flatness and straightness of the line at the base of the hill, and the way that the blue and green lights, despite their rectilinear shape, diffuse with distance into squashed circles on the ends of the poles, makes them look like half or quarter notes on an open-air stave.

 

3

 

It is a sparse composition. Largely silent.       The notes being metres apart.           From further away, their heads blow out, like the shiny white caps of winter mushrooms. They are blind at one end and chemiluminescent at the other. The result of a cobalt and electric green reaction.             Smears of light,    like tadpoles, swim in pools, at the base of their stems.

 

5

 

A figure is frozen in one of the tadpoles. It is rigid and directed at the viewer. It does not move. It does not shift its gaze. It points with its face which is bathed in geometric shapes.            A dog enters the tadpole and heads for the centre. Flashing on its back is a brilliant blue light that is strapped to the middle of its spine. The light is encased in a blue plastic casing, and inside the casing, a mirror is spinning, around a single, stationary bulb.                       The orbit of the mirror, around the bulb, focuses the light into rotating beams that flash and sweep in as they align with the window.

 

4

 

The dog and the light move out of the tadpole. The dog gets darker and ceases to be visible but the blue light continues to dot the line it travels.             The figure, aiming its face, which is round, flat and tilted upward, follows the signals, out of the tadpole and into the black.

 

7

 

Pulling away from the hill the frame reaches out. As it goes back it takes in and the stuff at the sides moves to the middle.       Everything gets smaller but there’s more of it. It opens up as it retreats. Slowly going backward until the dome and the edge of the trees can be seen. Flipped. The right being now on the left. It stops.                   Then rotates by 90 degrees in a slow fluid motion. Blurring a bit.    The stuff on the right is cut off, and cast out, in order to make room for the new stuff diving in on the left. It comes to rest at the beginning. On the second floor. In an elevated position.

 

7

 

Nothing moves for a very long time. As if the scene is trying to compose itself.      The snow gathers and drifts, under the orange lights and down on the peach coloured path, coating it in yet another, and yet another layer. Which the light then glazes in a fine mist of glitter, that dazzles like fainting, and is on everything.            Turning the whole world into a point cloud of star dust.      Everywhere it turns. But only when it moves. If it is still it goes static and dies.

 

4

 

Two women wearing burkas walk in it. Burkas and long black jackets.        They walk along, behind the trees, under the orange lights.    Figure one and Figure two. Calligraphic in the snow.                       Which settles on their shoulders and hangs in a curtain, that wraps around the women.           The black of their clothing and the triangles of light, reveal the flight paths of the flakes, which are winding and elliptical.         They double back and spiral in shoals.

 

4

 

The edge of the women forms the outline of a blob, inside which, the points of snow, though constantly shifting, become 3D. Amorphous yet cohesive. Almost solid. Almost a thing.          A thing to the eye but your hand would go through it like a ghost.

 

4

 

The blobs billow and pulse, and jerk along, rising and falling by millimetres as they crest the bumps and ridges of the path and trip up, jar, and right themselves on the infinitesimal, vertical course, that is a side effect of their horizontal progress, which propels them left behind the trees, but in front and under the streetlights. Whose poles are grey in the light of the lamps and partly eclipsed by branches. Branches that break up their outline and stripe them, and make them resemble the trees. Which are also grey and stripy and positioned in front and behind. Where the layer’s leech into each other and the line, the trees, the women and snow, slant toward the window, where they meet, flatten and become 2 dimensional.              

 

2

 

The trees are no longer in front of the poles but part of them. The poles no longer poles but rectangles. The women not women, nor backdrop, but broken islands of black, flecked with white, surrounded by shapes, in a perpendicular world of things next to things.  That the snow begins to mask.   It powders the faces and sands them down, softening the edges and clogging up the lines. It fills in the dark bits and covers them up, collapsing them into the white, which hardens into a rectangle that is opaque and impressed upon a bigger one, which is also white but sunken where the smaller of the two white rectangles, dips into its surface.

 

6

 

The white on white of the rectangles, makes them hard to tell apart. And they keep on changing places. The small one floats in the foreground, then sinks into the background, and lines come out of its corners, and lead the eye in space. Until the larger rectangle, engulfs the smaller rectangle, which slips into the opening, created by itself, and the border closes in on it, and now there’s only one, a solid wall on the second floor,   plastered and painted white. It is flat to the eye but rough to the fingers. Irregular bumps rise over shallow pockets, where the white is a darker shade of white - almost blue.

 

3

 

The wall reflects the colours, glanced off of nearby objects. It is a field upon which, the shapes and stains burnt into eyes can play. They fade in and out and scan across.                    Flaring into forms that waver then seep or glide away.

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

WHS Teatteri, Helsinki 2017

(a reading in the dark)