Tights and Tiles
My little legs in wool tights with silver glitter stars emerging every few centimeters, little mountains of dust under my fingers. I am sitting on the floor, terracotta tiles of hexagonal shapes, repeating each other, bordering each other. Faces as points of contact and rupture. Overwhelming symmetry.
I am waiting. For the evening to come, for the friends to arrive. For then to be now.
The light coming from the corridor window creates shapes and shimmers on the floor that I try to mimic with my legs. I sit here, matching the rays of light projected on the ground with the ones heating my legs, watching time move physically. My body as a surface, a receptacle, the final destination in those lines’ itinerary. Contorting myself to the whims of the Sun, I realize I absorb their travel.
Long minutes lasting afternoons, the brightness trapped smaller and smaller between my thighs. Maybe if I capture it all, squeeze it hard, hide it with my small hands, the light will shrink and so will the day. The guests will come. And soon it will be dark, my legs closed together on the cold ceramic – in the boredom of other games, I will be waiting for tomorrow, for the light to come shine in the corridor of time.
The Shaded Part of Your Body
This one’s an obvious one. It feels like studio lighting 101, when we’re taught distance, Rembrandt and butterflies. It also feels like intimacy 101, getting to know someone’s body long enough that we’ve seen it under all possible lighting. Long enough that the sun has hit all the surface of their skin, across their torso, across mornings and midday naps. From one shoulder to the other. We find textures accentuated at different places, at different moments. I name them all. The creases and the curves, and all of your side body left dramatic in a contrasting shadow. You become the moon, a field for motocross, sand dunes. I harvest the sun in the hollow part of your hip, cave of flesh filled with light.
Do you only exist under the spotlight? What about the shady half of your body? The hidden, the discarded, the less worthy of sun cast and light shed.
I know you now that I’ve seen your traits made severe in an afternoon of long shadows. I know you now that your back has been sun smoothed under this window and under my hands.
The Ceiling Corner
Looking up, head floating down from the sofa, gathering blood. I am analyzing every detail of the ceiling. What if there was no gravity? I could walk along this vast empty space, climb up the door frame to go into the other room. Maybe once I’m done staring down at the sky from the window sill, I’d look up to a ceiling full of carpets and legos. I’d count them like we do the stars, the sheep, the seconds between now and then.
I remember looking at colors. The ceiling was painted white, yet when focusing on the ceiling corner, the three panels intersecting were all different shades of confusion: one of them was blue, one yellow and the other purple. And depending on the time of day, these colors would shift panels, vary in intensity. I’d try to watch their dance, to catch them fluctuate, to fix them in space and shade. Yet no matter how intensely I’d look at them, they would still change color without my noticing the transition. Seamless advancements, under my attentive surveillance. I’d feel betrayed, as if they were all lying to me. If I cannot trust color, then what can I trust?
Though I learned to find comfort in the indecisive ceiling corner, and would stare at it often. Years later, when my parents told me we were moving to Canada, I remember thinking “but where will I watch the colors change their mind?”.
I found many ceiling corners since, many panels of uncertainty, many shelters in the impermanent. I found reliability in the unstable, an anchor in the everchanging.
IMAGE TO COME!
The swimming pool
A swimming pool is a window, a screen, a mirror. It allows seeing through and seeing above. Cruising clouds and imagined sea monsters. It transmits and reflects. Our legs detached from our body as we walk down the first steps remind us that it refracts too.
Some basins are made of ceramic tiles, shades of white and blue alternating, wraparound frescoes. Small squares making up lines, staggered mosaic, it is art for the submerged.
I remember patterns made of hard lines and of running ones. Strong sun over skin and surface, giving scales to the fish that don’t live here. Shimmers of light on the water – rays of sun laying, more floating than they are bathing. We get an impression of movement yet the water stays still, blinding us, hypnotizing us. A mermaid.
We blur our eyes in this passivity, and all this depth of transparent layers becomes its own image, a two-dimensional surface. It is a new pattern for a swimming pool, made of lines that have lost their way. Straight ceramic motifs bent by the sun, they are the secret that lies at the bottom of the garden. They are the runaways from an expected world, they are the glistening lie. Come, we’ll go look at the pool of illusions.
IMAGE TO COME!
You are standing in the middle of the river, solid as a rock. Both feet are holding strong, your rainboots act as borders between the water and your flesh. With rubber as a frontier, you can feel the cold and the current, the pressure of the mass, the flow of time that rushes down. You can feel it all yet your feet are dry.
A second of inadvertence and you lose balance, your arms as airplanes, you are a sight for the amused. It could have taken you but you are still standing. The rock that rolls down doesn’t gather moss, you are as vulnerable as a lost leaf.
When looking at the water, you see both the sky and the deep under. The silhouette of a tree shows you the bottom of the creek, the sand, the life, all the secrets that lie low. And in between those obstructions, the water surface becomes a mirror for some narcissistic cloud. Following its example, you try to look at your reflection, to find your position. Yet all you see is what you’re hiding – the sedimentary. It is by obstructing that you reveal, just like those branches offer us a glimpse of what sleeps beneath.
The water rushing moves your silhouette, you are a portrait made of running shade. Unsteady, you get overwhelmed by this pattern of impermanence, your legs are starting to wobble. How strong are those rocks, standing still, unbothered by all that hurries, by the whole world precipitating around them.
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The Bored Child: Playful Interactions with Light, 2021. 3D printed sculptures in wood filament, recyclable plastic, ceramics.