Writing #1

# 7 [19 March 2012]

Five Conversations.


one half of a performative lecture which took place 16 03 12 at the Harris Museum, Preston. Based on field notes from February visit to Florence.




Cool, damp marble. Tracing rusted veins that run along the surface.

Tinged blue morning light creeps into the square.

Trucks wake and haul the streets. Calls ring through, excavating stone, shattering, chipping away, illuminating.

Light moves through, and space begins to shift.

Sirens and bells pierce intermittently. Birds flee. Fading paint peels and falls. Soft brass.


Space and stillness





Brighter, people moving past. Loosely formed groups disperse and reform. Pausing, stilted movements, capturing.

American girls, laughing, form a line. “I’m the only one in the dark”. A shuffle along. Image after image. Positions shift. Adolescent loyalties played out for the camera, played for memory.


I was here.


A sudden crowd descends on the space. Always through a screen, only glimpsed, indirectly. A recreation of a recreation. Experience metered down.

Layers of detachment forming the image.




Softly booming around the space, into the city. Above new chimes, melodic yet overbearing. Rehearsed, a pattern, overlapping one another.


Silence rings through.


Chatter slowly re-inflates the square. Movement begins. Doors closed to milling women in hats.

Shadows flit overhead, darkened, sillouetted against the imposing light.





Metal rails hold and contain the mass. Tidal in pulls away and towards. Further back, removed, watching.


Intrusions into photography, loved ones alongside the anonymous spectator. Site on the map, marked in time.

Shoving motions, laughing exclamations. More people than place. Follow them through the city.


Out staring lenses at the cathedral doors. Will he catch my eye? Or only later, at home, and wonder what that mean look was for?


Teenagers just beyond, sat on steps, bored, smoking. Teacher delivers a flustered lesson, begging attention. Clipped facts, names, dates, strain above the hum.

Groups ebb, leaving and arriving in formation. Stragglers run to catch, a cursory nod towards the subject, more concerned with the now.




Indistinguishable forms twisting, audible… moving closer

Heads thrown back, snap forward. A few staggered steps ahead, straightening.

Intense stares, whispering and looking on darkly. Others vibrant, in the bright silver, dancing.

New visitors, groups and space claimed by the subterranean. Beneath the surface a shift. Flashes of neon rising into the night sky. Laughter and outreached arms, a chase.