Polishing The Earth

Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham

Of The Eyelash


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2009

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Photograph by Tanya Cottingham

An unplayed act posted at midnight through Marsha's door. a white envelope. inside a ticket, a barcode and a ten pound note. An uninvited desire.

Leaving Marsha's house i thread back across the city. desiring body following practicalities of time and space. for a body can only move two ways through a city.

A body moves through a city pushed both by the pavements desire and its own. If a body has no place to go, no meaningful plan, left to its own intentions it wonders at the will of the streets, drifting through the city to the pavements call.

A desiring body affects a fixed route of intention through the cities streets. Bullied by the pavement it is led and blocked, facilitated and denied. In a dialogue the body collaborates with the concrete to reach its aim.

...and what of the city where we play out this act?

the endless journeying, the tube network, crossing back and fourth past Marsha's home, under her home, towards my own, back towards the railway station. The station.

The station is ultimate transience. All bodies enter with the intention of leaving. It echoes back and fourth across time and space. Connecting arteries like a large pumping heart. In its perimeters lovers meet and leave, office drones metronomes pass by, hollow eyed. Tourists arrive gleaming with new desires, they later depart desperate to return home.

I stand alone. An aside, watching like the CCTV. A part and apart. I watch new traces write and rewrite.

How do you hear past traces? What are their stories saying? They are left behind, physical tracks, an accumulation, a coagulation...they are the worn smooth stone steps, small stories just out of sight.

And the practicalities of these flesh bodies and their movements through this place means advancement of neon and cafes and toilets and the infrastructure has shifted and layered and been re-written a million times. A million mouths. A million stories trapped between paint layers.

And the eyelash. Let us speak of the eyelash.

Marsha arrives without the intention of leaving. She arrives for the sole purpose of arriving. She has no idea why she is here other than to arrive.

She hands in the left luggage ticket and is handed a parcel. In its depths, a slither of a plastic bag and nestled within, a single blue eyelash.

The eyelash resonates. It does not provide a full stop, rather, mid-sentence it rushes on. The eyelash shimmers in its layers. In its most simplistic form it says, "i am as honest a dialogue as i can give you. I am Tanya Cottingham. I am DNA. I am the beginning. I am the past and also, the future". The DNA is covered in a clogging layer of blue makeup, cover-up. The blue makeup i always wear, that i think describes who i am, but of course hides who i am , and that in turn tells who i am. The small trace left behind from the intention. The eyelash. it can be examined with medical precision or as detective. it can be a springboard, suggestion, an open book, a blank page except the title is now written in/delible (blue) ink. it can become a museum piece, revered in a gallery. It can be taken from the bag and sent fleeing through the air to join the debris flaked, peeled, oozed, deposited on the floor of the station. Swept up by the cleaner. And thus another trajectory begins...

(Act that was part of The Unnamed Collaboration Project, 2008-2009. See watersideprojectspace.org.)

Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham
Photograph by Tanya Cottingham