|Sunday, June 19, 2005
||Word of warning - there's going to be something of an annalistic bent to the next few entries of any weight - I'm rather trying to catch up with my own existence, and since LiveJournal is the closest thing I have to a diary at present, it is taking the strain. If you want to start searching these entries for clues as to the perpetrator of the apalling crime to be revealed in a later chapter, please feel free. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead. |
The day after the wedding, that is May 29, was one for last chances (thus reversing the usual progression). First at the National Gallery, to see John Virtue's massy pictures of London. Unfortunately, the National Gallery is one of the only places where these large canvases can look undistinguished. Virtue's London is not my London - he portrays the endless pollution - air, sound, light - as dirty grey and black clouds rolling at ground level and blurring out the details of the buildings. I love the rectilinearity of London - the blocks rising from the ground, interrupted by the slow curves of the occasional alien. Take that away, and you don't really have London any more. Nonetheless, the way he covered the ground of
the canvas was interesting - blocking in with rags and aerosol.
There's an element of "I can see my house from here" with all pictures of London, although in this case only if you live a good hundred feet above ground, on the river, and in a home made of thick lines of black paint. The Virtue exhibition is now closed. London remains available for viewing.
Onwards thence to the British Museum, to see the African Garden - still running, although the idea of outdoors is at present the only thing with the power to chill the blood. Too. Darn. Hot. More Mozambiquan weaponry sculpture, demonstrating that once swords become too structurally complex to be made into ploughshares you are basically stuck channelling half your GDP into art projects. Expect North Korea to start selling nuclear tea cosies within the decade. There are both some beautiful plants - I remain tickled by just how spiky and aggressive-looking the aloe is - and some impressive art - the Carstens' baobab tree is impressive in scale and a superb hiding place - but the whole enterprise is obviously most important as it represents the last time the Ground Force team will work together. Not since the death of Donna Troy have I been so profoundly unaffected by something almost certainly described in press releases as the end of an era. An era of what, exactly? Ground Force, to quote Morrissey, says nothing to me about my life. In fact, they say nothing to me about any life whatsoever. Nelson Mandela had the right idea. Everyone else gets hugs and canapés. They were sent into the back garden to do the weeding.
And to the Sorting Office on Holborn to see Küba, which has now been broken up and is being distributed across London - see here for locations. Theoretically, the stories of the inhabitants of Küba will thus filter across the city until we Londoners feel that the locals whose stories we are watching are our neighbours as much as they are occupants of a Turkish shanty town. I'm not so sure - the fact that the peoople who will see them will largely be Artangel audiences - students and hipsters - makes it feel a bit like poverty porn.
The presence in a single room of all these stories - each a chair, an electric fire, a DVD player and a television, playing out one person's account of life - created a strange babel, but when you sat down in front of them the words, translated from several different languages, seemed the same. The mother of three miserably married to a hashish addict, the twenty-fifth of twenty-five children, the man who described the death of his son in the tones of the hopelessly exhausted, all spoke the language of incidents.
There was an incident, and now he is dead.
Recently, my best friend was caught up in an incident.
There was an incident. I could not leave the hospital until I paid the bill. My husband had no money
Küba seemed to be a state of affectlessness as much as a place. Long stories wandered further and further from sense. Women wrestled then befriended adultresses, men abducted brides, light-hearted capers segued into murder. I am unsure whether the impact will be as great with only one story on display - perhaps a greater sense of intimacy will create its own depth.
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