(Photos by Corine Smith, Detroit-based Dutch artist, who will soon be coming down again to Mexico City so we can go rooftop and cow hunting.)
(And a little text from many many years back that I did for a project of hers, dusted off.)
At night my toes disappear, as if they were not mine. They are the first thing to go, and slowly the rest of the body follows, upward, until it dissolves and I am left floating in a place that floats also. At night one floats. At day one falls. It is a long stretch until home.
Across the ground it is too dark, spread deep in the shadows. Across the sky it is too bare, and a mind could sink upward, never to be found again. Across the heart it is both dark and bare: spread deep and red in some parts: shallow in others where the blood has run dry, with sounds still echoing of how moments squealed like pigs as they where shut in cells of forgetfulness. It is dried oblivion that has a quality like bone, like the bone of a human, or an avocado. It is this anatomy that they do not teach you, because they do not know: they do not know it is another. Anatomy is another. The world is another. You is another. Another to be pushed into your heart made red again.
But what if all is fiction? What if we have put too much trust in trees, and earth, and ocean. What if all is unreal…
I remember when I was about five years old, I would stand in the middle of the garden and look at the green, look at the blue, at the invisible movement of the wind, until reality would start to quiver softly, arrange itself in other densities, expand and deepen in color: reality so present, so heightened, it became absolutely unreal. And I would ask myself: what if this is a dream? Or is it that other? It was like drawing a door that I could suddenly walk into, and if maybe my reality is your unreality so what, let it be.
Because maybe it is this reality, this feeling of unreality, that we search for (yes, always the search: never no end; always the thirst), that we search for everywhere, in every place, and all the faces that we meet and suddenly start to care about. That moment where the world stands out and quivers, becoming what it hides, apparent, naked, strange: alive. So much more aware; the heart made red again, pumping strong, excited.
Yet what if all is only a fiction. Maybe the mistake then is of too-much-reality, of comfortable reality, of things forgotten or transformed into hollow symbols of what they are. Maybe the error is not including a dream in every production of the eye or the hand or the mouth or the brain. In a weird way, I feel at home in the dim light that reveals other structures, and the funny sound that two feet make walking down an empty street.
But there are two kinds of unrealities, and we have yet to invent a word to distinguish themâ€”there is an unreality that deepens the body and the life it floats in, and then there is the unreality that kills it all and gives us only broken shells. Unreal = untrue. Unreal=too-true. One is timid and comfortable; the other is huge and dangerous and usually makes us feel tiny and awed, surrounded by a huge universe of revolving blackness and red suns. (But it is home anyway.)
So maybe we must trust in the trees, and the earth, and the ocean. And in us. In all our unreality. Maybe we should try not to hang on to anything; there is nothing to hang on to anyway.
Maybe we should fall willingly; falling forever.
I open my hands, and let myself be swept downward: suddenly.
Because to fall forever is to fly.