Monday, 15 October 2012

watching what sophie calle saw...

Sat in the Perrotin gallery, I watched three screens, three backs, three people watching the sea, meeting the sea for the very first time. I watched what Sophie Calle saw. I watched the waves roll, shoulders shift and then one of the people turned, faced me, watching me as I watched him having first seen the sea. On another screen a man turned, faced us, watching him as he looked out of the screen, the experience marking each line on his face. Eyes closed, open. Tears ran. On the third scree, a women turned. Faced us facing her, her face facing us. All of meeting in the gallery, for the very first time. Sat in the Perrotin gallery, I watched  the three screens a second time and then, a third. Mesmerized by first times, I wanted to stay there, in the pure white room, in the tenderness, caught in a neat nostalgic rewind, for the first time, another first time, another first... 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Octobering Paris

On the twelfth day of the tenth month, we steal days soaked with Parisian rain. Days measured in city steps, marked on pavements, eyes drinking in roof-tops and capital smells.

Three days made from ramen soup, tempura and Molière's statue, in the elegant shadow of the Palais Royale. We eat and sleep in the 1er arrondissement, crammed with Japanese restaurants where pin thin chefs, with aprons wrapped round non-existent waists, whisk metals sieves of udon noodles from bubbling baths of broth. Morning coffee is pertained from moustached barristas - moustaches are the latest ting - who draw tulips into milky froth and treasure a collection of miniature owls. In the Marais, we drink lemon tea from glasses in the Jewish quarter, split a bitter poppy seed rugelach and watch doe-eyed families shopping for Friday Sabbath. After, we hunt for Sophie Calle and find first and last times in words and videos and I sit, stop, watch, think.

Watch the backs of the people discovering the sea, watch them turn to face us watching them, for the first, the very, very first time. Think about first times, memories. Fresh, unscarred by the tread of time. Nothing is ever the same. The next day, coffee drips through paper filters. Drips it drops to the sound of rain. Men wear scarves draped carelessly around wet necks. Silk, wool, cotton, knotted into negligent Parisian chic. It rains and we walk to the the Quai Branly Museum and fall into continents, dreaming time. Aboriginal Australian art.

I stop, once again, at these topographical wonders, journeys measured in dots and lines, circling sacred space. The museum is breath-taking, both the form and content. Then, in the evening, Chekov, starting and stopping, a Benedetti's version with pauses into which the audience can stride and gaze - for a second - upon casual tableaux, the actors on the stage with the ease of horses. Sunday, we eat boiled eggs. Walk. Get wet and then, come home on a silent train. Remembering all that rain.