//Image description//: Brick building, disemboweled and swallowed by kudzu vines thick and thirsty like udon, bitter with contempt, billowing ropes gargle across the rip in its midsection. In front of the carnage, a group of small children play, the grain of the film pockmarks the little faces, freckles them in conspiracy with the sun. The grass is high, no adults or snakes in sight, a law unto themselves, exacting and pure.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Grain whorls on a walnut table provide a backdrop for a journal bound in soft leather, a moist, energetic brown, fertile and teeming with curiosity and sin and something secret. A latex-clad hand hovers above it tentatively, the tip of their index finger runs a charge at its top right edge. Running chemicals kiss the edges of the polaroid and its subject, evidence of the witness’ own quivering at the sight.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Three adults lay beside each other on a blanket in a vast valley. They appear to be either tanning haphazardly or asleep. The reeds surround them like a palisade fence. A butterfly rests in the crook of the arm closest to the lens.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Four cowrie shells lay nestled in the deep grooves of a worn divination board, cast wide open in the arena of possibility that corrals them. Their fanged mouths are tilted towards the sky, singing of good news, tumbling over themselves with joy into a capricious tomorrow.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Diptych. A field is peppered with projectiles left over from the previous night's demonstration. Smatterings of a dwindling crowd gaze expectantly at the newly installed monument on its fringes, as if willing it to do more. Their expressions indicate a restlessness, dissatisfaction. A lone person, higher up in age with hair spilling out of their ears like a waterfall, stands in the distance on a knoll.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Everything seems to be coated in a fine layer of dust–what might be the most deliberate element in the scene: a surveillance tool like any other camera, marking intrusion by its own passive crime of tracking subtraction. What appears to be a visitor then wears a tired expression as he observes what lies before him. The person greeting them has already wrested a bag away from our friend and is gesticulating wildly towards the sntiching expanse. The visitor clutches his other bag to his chest seemingly for comfort.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: In a hollowed-out room, people study a series of maps projected onto a grimy white wall. Flecks of matter twin capital cities and supply routes. On closer inspection, we can see that the maps are actually several super-imposed composites bound by hick black demarcations between places. Manually, on-lookers take to the projection with their own glowering neon re-designations, rejecting the trappings of nation to embrace the tenets of need.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: On the bed of ash-dusted grass we once called the church, a resting battalion of cows graze languidly after having completed the day’s course of undomesticating themselves. Their calves suckle the little triangular, blood-caked cul-de-sacs on the soft skin of their ears where their tags used to be. Democratically appointed sextons of an institution in utero.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Stars embroider themselves into a velveteen black sky. The townsfolk are all in their homes below–they know their celestial neighbours well enough and have no desire to close the gap. Their blinds are shut. Porch lights blur as if seen through a tear on the lip of your waterline–equal parts furious, unbelieving, and a bit ashamed.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Cattails slice the scene into panels; lovers’ triptych at dusk. Light translates detail into precious commodities: what is still is just that; what is not is not–a tension vibrating faster than sound, sharpening gossip into a weapon, tongue into a forge.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: This room is crowded. Very much a mess–of people, of broad tables, a (de)humidified haze. The audience before the conservator-thespian has the fervour of people watching a match in a pub, a kind of sea-sick giddiness that comes from willing a game to go faster but never to end. The conservator themself plays their role well then, commentator par excellence. They animate the yellowed broadsheet they appear to be reading from with such exuberance that you’d swear that they were there too, that they were dictating more than the weather on a Tuesday afternoon.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: A faded red ribbon hugs what appears to be the entire width of a skyscraper. Besides the billowing, overwrought knot stands a woman in ill-fitting kitten heels wielding a pair of giant brass scissors. Playing mirror to the sun, the urgency of its polished edges read clearly in the image. It is not a new building but has been granted new life. Dust rising from the rubble on the horizon sharpens the light, softens the steel. Bevel, taper, sear.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: This one appears to be a cell phone image, printed out and stuffed into a box of polaroids, another orphan: from over their shoulder, there is a solitary letter from the local hospital propped between youthful fingers like a cigarette. Documentation of documentation photographed with the sterile cruelty that documentation of one’s medical records demands. It outlines the care required after discharge and nothing else.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: A bird’s eye view grants us a vision of autumnal patchworked land undulating as it sags under the weight of its own bounty. A family tends to their harvest at what appears to be a leisurely pace.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: At a distance, a pair of bodies swaddled in white rest atop a funeral pyre, nascent flames crawl up to greet them from its base. Mourners stand by like sentinels, faces stony and unforgiving. No tears. Is their gripe with the continued fragility of the body or death itself, that for all our efforts to advance, death remains the final frontier, unbested.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Slow shutter stutters at night, desparate attempts to swallow dregs of light, spirits bloom into a procession instead. Glimpse the following: glints, sheafs of wheat scrubbing the emulsion white as they scrape past, instruments, metallic highlights made possible by a pair of flambeaux on either side of the frame. Never enough detail to make sense of what belongs to whom, a lenticular chimera of feeling. The loudest image I’ve ever seen.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: A beached grey whale calf lays lifeless on a pale shore. Its open mouth reveals a missing tongue- no more songs for saviours. The fins of orcas appear in the rust red waters just beyond it, waiting for the sea to return the corpse to them for a second feeding, as if it were a game of catch.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: Stone sentinels guard a gilded gate. Have you ever seen an inanimate object--one meant to be objectively terrifying--look so ashamed? The path beyond them may have once been something well-tended to. Here, though, it is more of a desire path, winding this way and that, looping in and away from the main walkway. At the bottom of the gate, there is a burrow, one just large enough for a body to slip through to the other side.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: The earth torn asunder. As always, it has the last word and does as it pleases.
(display:"button.next")//Image description//: A woman walks on water, feet sluicing through as if they were pinking shears meeting cloth. Where her toes meet the surface, the water yields, forming a bump like a dog-eared carpet. Her hands are raised; she braces herself on air.
(display:"button.next")The plastic atop the polaroid has long begun to fall apart, sticking out like icebergs. The back reads, "A love asymmetrical is no love at all." What horror can't the image contain? We use the tools at our disposal to look beyond its' limits. We usurp the edges of each one with our dirty nails and letter openers and knives, feral, greedy for memory, for a place to root ourselves. Suspend the image in solvent until the paper backing buckles under the weight of time and the chemical rises to the surface, each layer distinct from the next: an excavation. Nothing gets clearer or makes any more sense. How do you make known that which thwarts the lens? The wind; the girl holding the camera for her family; the soaring of planes overhead. Not everything can fit in the image but doesn't mean that it isn't there. That doesn't mean that we want it any less. That's why we go to such lengths to smoke it out, to give it fleshly resonance.
(display:"button.next")(set: $passage to (shuffled: "pyre", "monument", "skyscraper", "asunder", "scissors", "sextons", "kudzu", "sentinels", "whale", "gossip", "bounty", "visitor", "flambeaux", "maps", "archive", "journal", "cowrie", "hospital", "celestial", "dragonfly"))
(set: $index to 0)(link:"🔮")[
(if: $index < $passage's length)[
(set: $index to it +1)
(goto: $passage's $index)