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Student 24's picture

I turn onto a new street. The busy avenues and squares and plazas and circles have been making me dizzy. Linear, point by point. I walk down.


Friction. It’s scratchy, the antique shop. It’s crafty and edgy and dripping with assembled shards of authenticity, with which the likes of I am not entirely familiar. So curiosity walks me in. Ding, the bell on the door goes. I am attracted to the intricacy of fabricated collection. Surely it represents an older time, but from when and where – it doesn’t offer a name. How convenient, I scoff. It only promises age and character and superficial, complementary wisdom. Ding, the bell goes sharply into my ear, following by scratching. I follow the sound to its source: an old record player. Dddzzzzp. Ddzzzzzp. There is a voice. Scratchy, hoarse, dusty, and old. Character, it certainly has, but no melody. No solidity. Sensuous life– sensuous life– sensuous life– sensuous life– it is coughing: broken and stuck, so I give the needle a nudge. An immoderately sensuous life makes one blasé, the old man in the record sings. Way off-key, sharp, and it hurts my ears. Words are jargon, the ballad continues, but the importance of their meaning should not be missed. I am the receiving end. I am the audience. And I reject. I can be as sensuous a lover as I want and make all the meaning I want. And I can miss what I want when I want. I leave the antique store. It’s not for me. The seller must seek to produce in the person to whom he wishes to sell ever new and unique needs, belts the scratchy singer as I ding and walk out the door. Damn straight, I nod. At least you got that right. So, go forth and seek, for crying out loud. The old record player isn’t enough anymore.


Out in the street again.

Cars. Trash. Crushed coffee cups and controlled motors and clock-like gears and,

Dead rats run over by cars.

Kids playing with plastic toy cars,

and sticks in front yards of small, cramped, row houses.

Dead rats just inches away. Flattened by tires. Reduced in dimension. Displaced.

Toy cars. Too light to crush, but brrrrrm! Zeeooommm! Vrrrooom!

You know you want to go fast like the big cars.

If you used your own hands, your own little hands and your own little cars,

Could you also flatten a rat? Little flimsy plastic wheels.

No, I should hope not.

I should hope the rat would run away before you got the chance to try.

Or better yet, just stay away from the rats. They live in sewers and carry tons of diseases. Do yourself a favour, kid. Honestly.


“HEY, LOOK AT ME! OVER HERE! HEY! HEY! HEY! I PROMISE YOU WON’T REGRET IT!” Jesus Christ. Now what. I didn’t hear you until I looked in your direction. All those big letters and popping-out colours and, Good Lord, would you keep your clothes on? You’re in public. But I guess that’s why, isn’t it? Advertisements on big, heavy, looming billboards. Immensity, they’ve got. And volume. Immense volume. Quiet, though, when you think about it? Quiet volume? Soft intensity? Because if I don’t look in the first place, I can’t hear anything they say. They exist in a state of perpetual shouting and earsplitting competition. No wonder the city gets so loud, the poor things. Can’t be all that fun when you can’t even hear yourself think, regardless of how many attractive, party-loving nudes you’ve got overshadowing your potential consumers. Lucky for me, I can keep my eyes closed. Block out the noise. Let me whistle cheerily as I skip down the street in peace.


I walk into a side alley, off the street. Some kids are riding around on their bicycles.

  1. Find empty, thrown out soda or beer cans.
  2. Place them in a relatively accessible place on the ground.
  3. Ride bicycle over can, so that front wheel crushes can and makes it curl around and clutch onto the wheel.
  4. Can should then get ‘stuck’ on the frame of the bike.
  5. Ride around on bike and can will make brrrr sound, like a motorcycle.
  6. Be careful to not turn the wheel backwards, because then the can will fall off.

Bicycle wheels. And lots of broken glass everywhere. Broken glass bottles. Scattered pieces. Shattered. Scatter. Clutter. Clatter. Broken pieces. Cut yourself by accident. Dangerous. Watch your fingers. And your bicycle wheels! Don’t pop! Don’t broken yourself too! Play safe. The can can get stuck in the wheel too much and it can get hard to steer and panic! and what if you fall over and what if you lose your balance and what if you throw out your hands and what if you fall onto the broken shards of glass? Watch your fingers. Bicycle wheels. Fingers get stuck. Don’t pop on the glass, wheel. Don’t broken yourself too.


This alley is by an art gallery. The outer wall of the gallery makes up part of the alley. The alley is composed of many outer walls. Some brick. Some plaster. Some cement. Some wooden fences. The gallery is brick. The bricks are all, essentially, identical. They are small and they are many. They are held together with cement. The cement is like cracks between the bricks, like the bricks were once all one solid, dark red mass but then the mass was cracked systematically in a pattern of separation. Of organisation and separation. Now, the alley wall of the gallery is covered in shocking, vibrant graffiti. Street art. Street play. Street artists: paint over the broken cracks in bricks and cement and concrete and plaster. Paint over. Visually dominate and— solidify. Solid colors and images. Holding together, even if only visually. But then again, isn’t a picture worth a thousand blocks. Or was it – yeah, for sure – a thousand blocks are worth a picture. Sooner or later, at least.


I wander into the art gallery. I’m not looking for anything to see. I am not a fan of visual art, nor their respective artists much. I suppose I’m looking for a type person whom I’d hope to find in an art gallery. This person. Reductionist. Simple, rational, absurdist, reductionist. Things don’t make sense in isolation. The city doesn’t make sense in isolation; as the space between people. The people don’t make sense. Don’t leave me alone. The city. Where is there no paint. No canvas. No image. What. Breathe. So why am I in an art gallery?


Reductionist. Reduce. Dimensions. From four [three + sound movement] to three [three] to two [three – real, tangible life]. Two dimensional. Maybe two is still too many? Two is still. Rats! Two are still. We two are still. You too. If we two are too many then how we further reduce? Perhaps, simplification. Solidification. Combination through a common denominator. Eliminate intricacy. Flatten. Be not pieces placed next to each other, but rather: placed on top of each other. Flatten, and then: Layer rather than position. Reveal not the diversity but rather: reveal the common light we emit. Is this what I’m seeking to produce?


I need fresh air. I am dizzy. My head is spinning. I haven’t found an simple, easy, tangible, visual solid that contains everything. I walk out.