Being There

PRIMITIVE - Wednesday, January 21, 2009
  Dancing eyes

Caffeine helps. It makes me alert while buying. My eyes dance across objects. My body tells my mind I’m awake. It feels good to be stimulated because the heat is sedating. Sweat forms on my upper lip, but it’s not from the caffeine. It’s the heat. I have a glittery water moustache. Glen’s shirt absorbs as much moisture as it can before its navy blue turns to black.

Glen and Claudia move in tandem. Each nod and give consent and updates on where they are. They have developed a well rehearsed rhythm. Glen states, just as often as weather reports, “This is where I am.” ‘Where’ is not a geographic location. It’s a financial, emotional, aesthetic, and at times, metaphysical place. Where is a way to start a dialogue, sometimes a negotiation. Glen and Claudia can be in completely different places, but ultimately, they want to meet at the same ‘where.’

Moving in tandem 

I come into the mix and can either act as a chord of discontent or of reconciliation. It varies. It can take days for their where’s to meet, but once they do, or even if they don’t, they must take their collective where to there – the vendor. Where is as tricky a location to get to as anywhere – especially there.

Where are we right now? We are all staring at a 200 year old painted, carved wood wall. It has scale. It’s complex. It has amazing patina, presence and heart. It belonged to a Toraja family from Sulawesi for 11 generations. We know this because carved into the panel are family names like Pandan, Pongmang and Dadi Lamma.

Each generation who lived there had their names carved into the panel and then lived with it for as long as they occupied the premises – a collective total of at least 275 years if you figure each generation at 25 years. Each of us, from the moment we saw it, was there.

Still in tandem