I Need You Tonight
Night has fallen and landed at my feet. It’s just me, myself and I but three’s a crowd and all we got is this moment, the 21st Century’s yesterday. I need to work on the rest of the play but how do you create something from nothing, how do you invent an event? As Deleuze says “an event does not mean that a man has been run over” and at the moment all we got is this moment; a flat plane of time folded into a box, flat-packed in fact, just me myself and Ikea. An event takes more than a fold, an event needs a curve, a ripple, a ruffle, a wave, so we need to dress the box with décor and drapery, cause a mise en scene. Hang on, hang on I’m ahead of myself. Every corner is a coincidence (a slack tautology I know but I have a lethargic imagination) so the chances are I will hang on, I will apprehensively apprehend an appropriate position apropos of a pair of proffered percepts. She takes two and I take two, our arms outstretched to our combined maximum wingspan. She walks towards me and our hands touch, I let go. I crouch below her as we mime closing the pages of a very large book, and she thrusts her arm across her stomach. She turns her back on me, I can see that the next task involves someone else’s underwear, and I retreat one pace in hesitation.
Believe the hypothetical, believe the hypotyposis, this is our reality; if we build it they will come, if she comes I will make it up. Peace is a kite of materials you never catch but let’s tie our colours to the mast, let’s spin a yarn. I’m flagging and I’m disorientated as the horizon mists up emotionally, the sky cries intermittently and the sea whispers persistently, ominously. Closer, it says. It to me, or me to her? Heel for heel and toe for toe I place my foot upon her foot, half an hour behind. Closer. Gravity holds me in place, but what holds me in time? Grains trickle past unchecked as four lines in the sand form a square, a memory of a game played and won, soon to be lost, soon to be washed smooth. Caressed into oblivion. The wind ruffles my hair, my coat, myself and I with words that form a sentience. Now let’s cut a swathe of four axes in linen, cotton, satin or silk. For better or worsted let’s outline the parameters of the plot. The flat plane becomes a space with a simple fold and this horizontal event builds an empirical statement of objective logic, locus classicus. But when? I picture an image which is a projection of memory, am I remembering or am I imagining? The ruffle, the ripple, the wrinkle is my only clue. Agitation, vibration, fault lines and fold mountains are my brocade-memoire. If the moment is a monad, “an inside without an outside” as Deleuze has it, where do you come in? My event needs a fourth dimension like space needs time, it needs a random selection of peaks and troughs, it needs the wind in its sails. Night creeps crepuscularly. The convoluted consideration of ‘what is it like to be a bat’ ruffles the feathers of the owl of Minerva and it calls out, to wit: I need you tonight.
A limb is held prosthetically, a misjudged angle entangles a mangled metacarpus. Hold still, close your eyes, head up, head down, arms out, step forward. Darkness. A perfect straight line makes the cut, heel to toe to heel to toe, into a graceful feline groove. Calico, jersey, cashmere, damask, velveteen, taffeta, georgette, chiffon, a gloss, a sheen, a sparkle, a flicker, a shimmer, a shaft, a flash, a flare, a beam, a blaze of light. Schrödinger’s catwalk becomes three dimensional and the picture comes to life, or death. Two people see a fourth dimension when they pool their resources, so how many people, how many resources, how many times? How many moments make momentum momentous? The event. Here we are now, entertain us.
I arrive backstage. “Hello” she says. It is a question, meaning, ‘who are you and what do you want?’ I want to ask her to trust me but I don’t trust myself, I forget myself, I lose myself. At least this is what I tell myself: to thine own self be true I say; swallow your pride; swallow your lies; swallow your tongue. But how many swallows will it take to make a summer? I couldn’t predict the future but then, what did she expect? All we got is this moment, the 21st Century’s yesterday and I think, outside the box, a man has been run over. I need you tonight.
text by John Harrington
for 21st century event at Chosenhale Gallery, 26th Jan 2010