When you arrive at a foreign place how do you cope with it? How do you process the infinite number of impressions your eyes register, the strange noises your ears record, the smells, the warmth, the voices, people. Away from daily patterns, I personally try to make sense of things by creating a record of whatever I feel or think about in this new environment. I note down details that stand out to me in the flush of new impressions, things that my body or my mind reacts to. This written record doesn’t necessarily relate to reality. Often it is fictional. A thought that came to me because I saw something I, at home, possibly wouldn’t have seen. A sentence in my head. A word. A picture.
When making new work abroad, I try to do these initial reactions justice. And, mostly, I fail. Sometimes though, when I re-approach the forest of unfiltered production that I made – which often happens much later –, I spot something that makes me relive these first raw, undirected feelings. And when I notice that, I dive into it. Dig into that world deep inside of me and bring it out, somehow. Ironically, after all the effort of steadily taking notes, being on the road, seeing new things, over time I realize it is not so much the being away that matters to me or that in any way improves my work. Or the unknown, foreign environment. But, simply, being aware. Anywhere.
In early 2023 I spent six weeks at the artist residency Villa Aurora in Los Angeles.
heading home on sunset watching the sun set roaming through another night and all its lights been thinking about what you said that last time when you promised it will be tough but it will be alright this city of hollow ghosts and broken charms made each day seem far though the way you sounded on the phone made me certain I am clearly gone but I am not alone so I continue walking amid empty stares of a tired man listening to his screaming about how things were and how things are about how things used to be for him and his kind living against all odds being told everything is fine they say it doesn’t rain here but I saw thunder in his mind clouds in the palm of his hand a wrinkled face, torn like the streets of this town scars on his forehead and blood from his mouth empty gloss trying to shine a light on someone just trying to get by a landscape of tents red shadows and me walking by the man still sitting there what’s your name I say when he asks me for a dime he goes I am the quake waking you up at night the hundred purple shades that dawn shines each time I am another lost soul waiting for the dole to arrive a father with dry tears in his eyes I am another one of those failed tries of an army of hopeless scattered in the streets left and right you’ve been bathing in sunsets my friend, he says, and that’s fine but don’t you dare think you’ve seen anything of me or of my insides you walk blindly here in your rented car and with your sunglassed eyes go home now boy it’s time
I heard a rumor once about sadness and about the way we talk that it’s connected and that it’s been too long since we tried laughing and being free and that it doesn’t help if you’re too close to me
certain I was funny how things grow big from little thoughts funny I’ve been thinking again about the way you talked so calm and strong and without the urge to be heard makes everyone tilt their heads until they’re near, certain I was I never thought a thought about you crimson skies look pale and you do too traffic stops and gutted people wander about still wonder why you can’t hear me when I shout
At the Studio
teargas in your hand your mother always told you to take it along when you go out better than standing square, useless trying to shout when they come for you she said hold it tight don’t be sure it will help but it might
sundown and four fingers resting on a steering wheel tail lights and the music feels right
wonder my father in these parts it seems there’s a particular type of the american dream something I had never witnessed or seen but often heard of since I was little, I wonder what an irish dream would feel like my father must have dreamt one day far away would it be similar to the polish or turkish dreams of my friends or what does a german dream look like even in these parts I see big cars with big trunks loaded with junk shattering waves in the distance and sunrises at 6 am the time it takes for the traffic signals to finally switch seems much longer, too long as we’re sitting in my car and KCRW tells us it is going to be just fine