A text submitted to COPY // Unfold, Critical Writing Collective, 2011
- Repeated act, Concentricity -
It is the middle of winter and the day is near its end – at least three o’clock in the afternoon judging by the low light, which spells a polarising language over the objects before me: a newly replaced lampshade leant against the wall and a dusty carpet between myself and the window. I lift the carpet at the corner examining perforations on its surface inscribed by the previous owner: wholes bowelled in to the design by chair legs or the repetitive playroom act of a spinning toy performing on its needled centre.
Stuck to my window is a 35mm slide photograph taken and developed back in 2006, when I lived in Yorkshire. The slide renders an image of a toy acquired from an office I used to work in. The toy is fashioned in plastic.
I got up from my desk after photographing the toy, I remember this now, walked towards the window and looked down on to the path below, then up in to the trees and branches beyond. Behind me the spinner sat motionless on the desk. Three winged arms, each with a matching yellowed design, were tipped with black and red stripes. When the object’s centre, taken between for-finger and thumb, is twisted and released on to a surface a circular pull is reached fastening its movement for a time upon a plane of action. One arm repeats the other and the third arm follows suit with qualifying momentum.
-- Red and black lines become circumferences for a whitened wheel --
I would take the spinner nimbly between my right for-finger and thumb. I would then role my finger moving the centred nipple of the spinner toward the first third of my thumb. I would then hover the spinner just above the surface and reverse this dexterous move in quickened deliberation, releasing the spinner in to circularity. I sit down at the desk placing my nose inches from the edge of the object now in full swing encompassing its dance with my arms. It spins as if it would never stop. I wish it would not stop, at least just for today. Alas the performance expels its energy. There is no more potential for movement. The spinner draws to a close and reveals its three armatures, each of them yellowed and tipped with red and black.
--- This could well be a repeated act ---
There is more to the room than the desk and its contents. If you look to the left, towards the window, your eyes will drive through a carpet that covers the interior’s ill-fitted floorboards. It is the middle of winter, the best time of year thanks to forgiving thermal wear, tidy slippers and long-johns. The day is near its end – at least three o’clock in the afternoon judging by the low light, which spells a polarised language over the objects set before me: first the windowsill, then the discarded lampshade, then the new lampshade awaiting its installation, which rests in its wrapping on the floor next to the carpet itself.
I remember where I kept the toy and take it from its box. I repeat the act described above this time barefoot and dressed in jeans with a light t-shirt; it is midsummer and the window invites the afternoon sun in to the room with defining affect. The same carpet aligns itself with my toes and I sit down at a very similar desk to the one aforementioned. I role my finger back moving the centred nipple toward the first third of my thumb. I hover the toy just above the desk, reverse my first move in quickened deliberation, and release the spinner in to circular motion. The performance this time seems to last longer as if it is driven by a clarity in the air: I grab my automatic SLR loaded with slide film from the top of the shelf next to the door and photograph the toy capturing its animation.
---- The carpet itself was found in a side street ----
I spotted its charm at the beginning of last summer. It smells of another’s private space when heated by the rays of the sun. Today, it gives off a faint perfume of dust and dryness – I flick its nearest edge with the proximity of my slippered toes. The carpet coughs with a little more dust, which dances on a shelf of light hinged to the afternoon’s departure.
I am at the window in another room. The carpet is under my feet and the lampshade, which is no longer in use, rests at my side. Behind me and before the door is my desk; there lays my camera and an old object stolen from someone who worked next to me in an office just outside Leeds. This object fascinated me as it would spin and repeat its action again and again – I look at the window in front of me, stuck to this window is a slide depicting a whitened yellow circle enveloped in red and black rings pierced by light and by dust. The background of the slide is an old desk I used before moving north. I take the toy from its box. I repeat the act this time dressed in nothing but my slippers, gown and the weight of thought. I take the nipple, twist and then drop the object on to the carpet where it spins for a while digging in to the fabric. For a time the object produces the same circle that is clarified in the slide photograph, but only for a time, then the motion stops.