the text and images below are posted from beijing, berlin, hong kong, new york, sado island and zürich. there are a few of us, and this is the space in between.

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notes on Thirdspace, errant crepe

To enter a space from the critical position is a contradiction of sorts, both an opening and a closing. The body moves forward passively while the mind holds back actively. It is a splintering of awareness, perhaps not so dissimilar to a contemporary condition, bearing and baring a third position, more, wanting to be found, approaching words. I can affirm it again to you here now, as we read, there is something Aleph-like.

I said to myself that I would simply watch the movie. Doubts carrying forward, being ushered into, I followed the direction pointed to by the slightly hunched figure, down a dark parallelogram path towards the light of the screen, looking down once to see the 3 for row number, then back up to see Larger-Than-Life in conversation, a film already started. There were co-conspirators in the packed room, but I did not know where they were. I crossed the cold light reflected on subsumed faces towards the single empty seat in row 2, a quick thought that someone must have taken my seat one row above to be with a friend, then sank down low into the seat. Larger-Than-Life was still in conversation, it seemed to be something about making a film.

I turned halfway around, half afraid to really see my co-conspirators. Something kept me from the spirit of conspiracy, something personal, or perhaps a lack of solidarity. One week ago, they had reminded me of another meeting room from a few years before, with the same mischievous eyes lighting up over the details of planned public disturbance. Piss, shit, throw light in their eyes. But really it was not the boy band instigators as such that disturbed, it was the nomenclature. Co-conspirators were supposedly reading partners, we were told, and we had been reading from Soya, from Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Shanghai, from Thirdspace. The proposition to hold the meeting outside of its usual locale was perhaps an active form of reading, but in question was the lax literation of thirds into cinematic space, only debated in heat against the Space of a clothing store chain dressing room which had recently dominated newstainment chatter. In the latter case, a so-called private space had been tried on as cinematic Space, and a pair’s selfie sex on one square meter led to the further reaching destruction of a human flesh search in world wide web space. The publicness of this act and its consequences are marked by the ambiguity of it being a privately initiated endeavour along the lines of viral marketing. As a question of publicity, the dressing room thus warranted a reading, some argued, but in the end, a general passivity among the group met par with one person’s insistence to hold the next session of the reading group in a cinema.

Tickets, erguotou, mirrors and glowing wands used at concerts were purchased. A WeChat group serves as organizing device and reading medium, the giggling Thirdspace amidst the Firstspace of the screening room and the Secondspace of Tiny Times. There is an obvious condescendence which carries the absurdity to a high.

At the edge of row two’s uplifted faces, I slink down a bit lower, obediently guilty for continuously checking mobile phone activity. This radical opening feels predictably like grade school, and from the inadvertent margin of the second row, I choose to watch a film.

There is a scene in which the struggling director narrates a flashback to his deflated crew, and desaturated color effects drone out the cliché of the director as schoolboy, othered for his invention of a superhero fueled by the power of egg and coriander crepes. As audience, we laugh in a comedic Space created by effect and affects. It surrounds the actors playing actors like a gelatin, wiggling around their low-budget tears of outcast. We laugh while they cry, but everyone identifies. Solidarity is renewed. The film in the film must go on.

Someone in the chat group is counting the number of people leaving the Space. I must have been too absorbed in Secondspace to have noticed, and looking back again to the audience behind me, nothing looks out of place in the frame of vision——simply another imprint of Society of the Spectacle.

This movie has indeed a spectacular way of making us enjoy its cheapness, as it lays bare the superhero genre while keeping all the same tropes intact. I like seeing the texture of his badly crafted mask in high-resolution from the second row, the clumsy choreography of a fight scene traced by zip lines, sappy talk about dreams and ideals from the tops of skyscrapers. It was at that moment that someone in Thirdspace chimed up about his own endurance, that he was the only remaining conspirator among the group, the rest trying to arrange a meeting point somewhere around the nearest metro station after being ousted by security. I thought perhaps we were dreaming the same dream together from two sides of a peak, an unseen cohort and I, but perhaps doubt was my only audience. I romanced myself in the numbness of Secondspace before suddenly falling down a dream of Four, Five. Nobody gets to see the film in the film, and nobody saw me appear! Doubt opens elsewhere, I am overwhelmed counting Spaces. Real pop stars make cameo appearances playing themselves, and it is they, with the thrill of Firstspace, who promise that “the making of” (Five) will be even better than the film (Four). That is how it ends, the rock band walks away, fading into the fiery gases of promise. It is as stupidly bad as I had begun, ironically ushered into an opening and closing. Self-castaway from my co-conspirators in Tiny Times, this was Larger-Than-Life!

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inadvertent soundtracks for inversion eyes

put your inversion eyes back on, proximity as the coming towards of embodiment, she says “the politics of location”. speaking as:

Ivo Kohler and Theodor Erismann, 1950


__”Computer Eyes”, Jakob Boeskov/Timothy DeWit/Matthew Morandi, from The Wire Tapper 34
__”Golden Hours”, Brian Eno, from the album Another Green World
__”Pure”, Blackbird Blackbird, from the album Summer Heart
__”Tigers”, Christy & Emily
__”Talking History”, Xiao Hong & Xiao Xiao Hong, from the Dada Damage Compilation
__”Sullen Ground”, Mount Kimbie, from the album Cold Spring Fault Less Youth
__”Went Missing”, Nils Frahm, from the album Spaces
__”What Time is Love”, The KLF
__”Token Eastern Song”, Nirvana, from disc 4 of The Chosen Rejects: Live Rarities
__”Little Dreamer”, Future Islands, from the album Wave Like Home
__”Wait For Me”, 張曼玉 Maggie Cheung, from the Clean original soundtrack

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the light of day – or, the most intense fiery sadness inside the palest of blue

the difficulty of writing. therefore words become physically written entities. are animated by the postures and movements of the hand. the word becomes image. is placed in perspective. the natural rhythms of speech and of reading contorted. a video on writing:

act 1:
the street is where it finally played out, no confining corners of a room, simply a street and a doorstep and a door. a door that remained closed. closed that night and all the nights after. closed for several years. there were a few words there on the street, an evening chill picking up, words uttered from mouths tightly locked into position, not once breaking out into smile, no more spontaneities. now i remember it was an iron. the last object that passed between us. an iron. your iron. my iron. no ironing board. the irony. an iron with no more spontaneities. all those years summed up into the exchange of a single iron. a pink iron.

act 2:
you entered the studio that day and it filled the room. eyes locked and we understood. a kind of understanding that was hard to come by in those days. “we paid people 50 kuai to cry”. leaving the party early i cycled to the apartment that night, shared by several, it was only you there, you and a dvd menu on loop, the same jingle over and over again, you kept emphasizing the word ‘taken’, ‘taken’, ‘taken’ – i guess it was the opposite of what i was getting – the other word that night ‘transgressive’ – you and bataille – he and whitman – i couldn’t do it – sorry bataille – sorry whitman – i couldn’t do it – so much for ‘transgression’ — whenever i revisit the room, you are both there, bataille and whitman, bataille, whitman and me and the king-size bed. the torrent of words finally gets me writing on afternoons alone in the house, just before the onset of twilight.

act 3:
a gallery space, half emptied out, i keep going back there, the mounted and framed photographs are placed on the floor, leaning against the wall, a few are supported by the pillar in the middle of the space, you try to get them to leave, to let them leave us behind, but there is simply no subtle way of doing it and you mutter at them clumsily, they leave, we are left, the afternoon sun is slowly disappearing, the lights are left off, we talk, walk around and shout, until we settle behind the reception counter, a chair and a wall for support, we can do this but we can’t do that, what do you want from me? don’t ask that of me! she tells me his knees were shaking all the way on subway ride back home, i was never shown shaking knees. now, i only ever meet you in that gallery space. we don’t exchange words just glances and parts of our bodies in a deafening silence, the afternoon sun perpetually setting.

act 4:
an early spring evening, i keep trying to leave: “i have a party,” “a party to go to,” “a housewarming party”, but something keeps me at your side all night, first we sit at the “less important people table” and are seated next to each other, after more guests stream in we are both upgraded to the “more important people table”, again placed next to one another. what luck! finally settling into a comfortable position we continue our conversation, your leg brushes against mine a few times, i recall her remark about “woody men”. and i can’t stop staring at the eyes. can’t stop. the whole night – no rooms here, but the chambers of eyes to revisit “an intense fiery sadness” i describe to her later “inside the palest of blue”.


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i sincerely wish this for you

“you said you didn’t care when people were not talking to you but in your films, your characters are actually always trying to connect with somebody — following someone, or trying to make contact — but they just don’t seem to be able to connect.” “i prefer some distance. i don’t decide what the best distance is — how two people can get close and not feel uncomfortable. my films treat human relationships like an experiment. there’s no real conclusion. they are always experimenting, experimenting with that distance.” from an interview here

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wasted time, excessive time, suspended time, comrades

“But when we begin to question our projects, to doubt or reformulate them, the present, the contemporary, becomes important, even central for us. This is because the contemporary is actually constituted by doubt, hesitation, uncertainty, indecision—by the need for prolonged reflection, for a delay. We want to postpone our decisions and actions in order to have more time for analysis, reflection, and consideration. And that is precisely what the contemporary is—a prolonged, even potentially infinite period of delay. Søren Kierkegaard famously asked what it would mean to be a contemporary of Christ, to which his answer was: It would mean to hesitate in accepting Christ as Savior. The acceptance of Christianity necessarily leaves Christ in the past. In fact, Descartes already defined the present as a time of doubt—of doubt that is expected to eventually open a future full of clear and distinct, evident thoughts.”

–boris groys, comrades of time

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mrs. jeanne dielman, objecthood, health and routine sadness


leaning towards, leaning on, attachments.


靠!to be close to.

Posted by 丫 | reply »

Zürich night

Photo courtesy of Nic Shepherd

Some 15 minutes after having been abandoned at the Perla Mode by an American living in Zürich, I found him again at another opening at a small exhibition space called Les Complices. He made some comment about how I was typically Canadian because of the desire I expressed (which admittedly had structured my last 5 years) to keep going out rather than back to North America. I had not assigned value to my statement, and in my view it could indeed be taken as a lack of control and capriciousness. The space, which had a DJ playing, was a queer art space. I was not sure if my jocular, drunk brotherness was appreciated, and I was in the mood to joke. Out front one of the drunk women, who turned out to be a Canadian from Montreal, tried to convince her acquaintances to go out to a non-gay place to dance. She appeared to be quite drunk, and unless I was mistaken, the other two were not very fond of her. She had pimples. The other two returned to their friends inside and I was left, so she asked me and I thought, why not, I’d like to go dancing. We walked arm in arm down the street to a place right on Langstrasse. She joked with the bouncer who tried to remain stern, they were obviously familiar with each other, and it made me feel that this was a small town. Inside it was hip hop night, and various large men rocked back and forth in the red velvet surroundings. She knew someone (although they claimed they hadn’t known each other before) and they began talking. She asked me to buy her a drink, but I really had no money on me. This other girl seemed to be looking for someone to go home with. They asked me if I wanted to fuck, said that it was what everyone in the room wants. I joked that I was a virgin and the girl believed me, appeared to take pity on me, which made me uncomfortable – when I retracted the statement she asked me what kind of lover I was. I motioned to some of the large men standing near the turntables “maybe they want to fuck.” She considered this and went to see about it. When the lesbian’s back was also turned I used the opportunity to slip out the front door with my backpack on. I walked home along the vacant street car lines. I kept thinking of the girl’s sad expression when she said she came to the bar quite regularly, but no one had interest in fucking her. It made me kind of sad too.

[courtesy of Michael Eddy, October 2009]

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in passing, black-capped chickadee

Michael writes to H.F:  “We enjoy the space between being ‘in the know’ and simply being attentive to one’s social environment where the unexpected may occur, setting up an interaction that will provide a meaningful communication, ‘loading the decks’.”

[photos by 戴璞 Dai Pu]

It ends with a face in rain, or two, that washed away one after the other like passing faces in a party.

The next day, he sends me a message: “One day I will explain to you why things are so complicated.”

And then it becomes difficult to respond, silence an only recourse, uncovering to plot thickening. The loneliness amidst joyful crowds, like the stripping away of an impersonator who says, “I don’t know. I was born that way.”

People ask questions all the time to which we must answer, “I don’t know.” I can’t remember anymore which way it was when i was born, but somehow I always return to a letter read as a child, from an old woman. I read her as if I were her already, so confounded by the inexplicability of my thoughts, to the possibility of their being expressed. It seems now, in future, utterly impossible to answer any question asked of me. I find less and less the words to place the complexities of my feeling.

Perhaps now back outside of each of those moments, I could answer each of you in turn, eloquently and honestly. Like an old woman’s remembrance of the sound of a black-capped chickadee, a doing nothing kind of being or simply, so simply, the fullness of…

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