On going studio work
A series of ten Polaroid images taken by my grandfather in 1972 describe a journey from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Architecture and nature seem to mostly describe the trip. There are no people in the images apart from a man jumping off a building. As I stare at this figure, I wonder who he is? How old is he? Is he still alive? And more importantly, what does it feel like to be falling through the air?
I begin to fill in an imagined past for each of these pictures, creating an invented story, for each place. I work through them like a detective. The house from Psycho, the tallest building in San Fran, a cinema, an art museum, a city hall, a tree. The conversation begins.
Me: ‘What are you trying to show me through these images?’
Me: ‘Are you wanting me to notice the unintentional viewpoint. The moment that we miss, forget, don’t even notice’.
I look at his images and realise that he is a photographer, writer, artist. His voice was only expressed to himself. Nobody else could listen.
As a child I remember you made me sit and listen to bird song off a tape. As I sat on the sofa in your dark front room, I remember staring through the window as I listened to the recording of the birds, thinking we could just go outside and listen to the real thing. I didn’t understand.
Your strange relationship to the world makes me question.
Towering above me I see your face frowning down into my world. I stare at the poster of Marilyn Monroe pinned to your living room wall and the feel the soft red corduroy of the sofa beneath my bare legs. The coffee table is piled high with magazines, newspapers, an old half drunk cup of coffee with the makings of a new universe constructing itself as a floating island. A bookcase filled with titles, all unpronounceable. As I look up through the large Velux window in the roof, I see big fat white clouds racing by, all hurrying so not to be late.
Me: ‘where are they all going?’
The mind drifts until my gaze lands on a woman sitting in a field staring back at a house. I can’t see her face. She isn’t moving. As my gaze widens I realise she is stuck in a picture. Always looking at that house, unable to turn her head, trapped in her own thoughts with no one to talk too.
Me: ‘Do you think she is lonely?’
The living room flows into the kitchen area. The counter top is full. Random items punctuate an ocean of unwashed cutlery, plates and pans. From here, it looks like a cityscape, a sprawling metropolis, a diorama of a utopian world. On the windowsill are a series of plants, mostly spider. Their pointy green and white leaves cut through the blue square of sky that is behind them. Off in the distance I can hear music, playing softly. It drifts gently down the corridor that leads to a series of small bedrooms and an even tinier bathroom.
You are hiding, thinking, being.
I am merely watching.