A kind of a "dangerous supplement", marked, scarred on a body, post-orgasmically, always, already in anticipation of (a) crisis OR for a desert avec 'agape'. Mindb(l)ogg(l)ing Noise. "Avalanche, would you share my last pursuit?" (Baudelaire)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Because, when I try to kiss you, you always turn your other cheek

I spend Sunday afternoons, when the rain is pattering against a surface I can’t see, listening to Jack Vettriano’s The singing butler. She says nothing. He says “louder”. Then, when the voice-over is over, I put the water running, tapping down the sink. I try to see their faces. And then, I try again. Then, as the phone rings I stretch to pick it up: “Hello?”, “Hello, it’s Nicosia here”. I’m unsure if that is you. After all you don’t have a voice, right? Didn’t I fill endless pages in my notebooks recording your muteness, or did I actually waste them? There is a moment in Wim Wender’s Lisbon Story at 0:39:46 when Phillip Winter plugs the boom mic. into the DAT recorder, and the levels of sound rise noticeably. One is no longer in Lisbon, we are in Winter’s ears. And Winter no longer sees the broad light of Lisbon, but as Fernando Pessoa writes and Phillip Winter reads “In broad daylight even sound shines”. I watch the film frame-by-frame and I am assured that Winter can’t see. No, he is not blind; this is not a film about the sense of sight being malfunctional. It is about sight, both as an object and as a sense, never having existed. (This is a director [Wenders, not Friedrich Monroe, the director in the film], who gave us the best images in cinema). Is it because you don’t show me your face, you don’t show me your façade or is it perhaps because when I say “I see” I cannot apprehend what sight is or can’t see the apprehension. “Is your name really Winter?” (I am the one who makes the rain pattering sound – behind the door – every Sunday; I am the butler with the umbrella. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the object with the most appearances in silent films is the umbrella [not only as a dash prove instrument of preclusion but even as one of aggression like in George Melies’ A trip to the moon where the umbrella is used by the astronomers as a device to reduce the fragile beings – Selenites – to dust]– and then the camera). Is it so that I can only hear you through cables? You scare me when you say “It’s Nicosia here”. “It’s Nicosia here”?. What do you mean here anyway? Where are you calling from? Certainly not from a landline, right?

“What do you see when you hear my voice…There is no longer anything but your eyes”

Jalal Toufic writes in Undying Love, or Love dies: “The architect of Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters drives his two attractive women companions around Manhattan, showing them his favourite buildings in that city…When single, one explores a city, its museums, cafes, and bookstores, with a future lover in mind as a companion. Having found her, for a while one takes her to some of these places”. (pp. 2-3) What happens to him that falls in love with cities, then? To him, that when strolling around London with a Moleskine®, noting the monuments to feature in future affairs, will fall in fact in love with Nicosia. Who buys postcards of her for her. To him that falls not only in love with Lisbon, Athens, New York or Paris, but with Wenders’ Lisbon, Giannaris’ Athens, Allen’s New York or Godard’s Paris? Perhaps I could take you to the movies sometime? He wanted to take her for a drive, her, Nicosia. Hold hand in hand with her and breathlessly race through the Louvre in exactly 09 min and 43 sec., like Franz, Odile and Arthur; in exactly 09 min and 28 sec., like Matthew. Isabelle and Theo; exactly for ever like Jacques-Louis David, Godard and Bertolucci, taking an oath as though the three Horatii (The Oath of the Horatii, Jacques-Louis David, 1784) while the camera pauses momentarily during the race, to die for. They are all the triptychs in the world in two parts, for ever exactly in orbit they never meet. How can he take her by the East River of New York and show her the Manhattan Bridge, how does Nicosia sit on a street bench? He will never show his lover, Nicosia, his favorite bookshops in London, his beloved arcades of Paris. They, him and Nicosia, sleep in a bed of such strong gravitational pull where they fall deeply (to the core of the bed, where one having fallen, gravity won’t let him get out anymore) in love. She is looking at the sky and he the pillow, unable to even turn to each other (nor turn their backs either). There, at that deep state of paralysis, he is disabled from seeing her face, her facades. But he whispers like Bob to Charlotte in Lost in translation. She hears nothing (seemingly she says “ok”). In fact she is saying “louder”. They spent light-years in this Black Hole going through endless minutes of silence, unlike the one cut short by Franz in 36 sec where he escapes the orbit. Nicosia, I am pregnant with Moleskines® and you a prude virgin. You never show me your whole face.

The Cypriot painter Phota Photiadou, undertook a mission that would have taken a whole lifetime; to collect every single film frame ever shot in any capital of the world placing them as though in a bar chart race where the longest wins. She was convinced that in such a race between capitals’ images, Nicosia would have the shortest trace, would be the one scoring the minimum duration of engagement with celluloid. By the end of the time of her life, the mission was left uncompleted, proving that a whole lifetime was not long enough for such a task (or perhaps putting under question the wholeness of whole). Two days before her death, sensing that death has reached her, she wrote: “Nicosia, you never showed me your whole face”. By the end of her life – which marked the end of the project – Nicosia was first in a race awaiting for the other competitors to arrive at the starting point, an unrealized anticipation due to the shortage of time or its end. Nicosia scored 16 Super 35mm silent film (24.89mm x 18.66mm) frames, which amounts to a total of 29.86 cm; a whole lifetime for less than a whole second; less than a whole foot of mute footage.
She [Nicosia or her photo] is ill-represented and under-represented, absent from the sequences of unknown but becoming familiar family posing portraits above the threatened by extinction non-flat screen televisions that provide their shoulders as shelves for handmade Lefkaritika and elaborate kitsch picture frames. Her face is missing – unlike those missing in person but unavoidable to be missed in imagery, or in numeric representation (1619). When trying to find one of your postcards to send it to a brother or friend, subtitling it Voila my likeness my brother! (18/11/2001), I end up posting white or stained cardboards. Trying to say “louder” to the blank surface, anticipating a revelation or a hollow response, it ends up taking too long and I realize I have to wash the dishes. The brilliant white eyes of your postcard implied an unhealthy “ok”. Once, while performing the activity of writing a postcard from abroad, portraying the image of an iconic landmark of the picturesque face of another city, addressing you, Nicosia, I had neither your eyes not your voice in my ears. Perhaps another time. Nor can I carry your picture in my wallet or show it around seeking for information in an attempt to uncover the veil disabling the accessibility to your face. By the way, can I have your address?
I have been in search of your mini jack port for a while now, foreseeing some kind of amplification, but in any corner I search I find myself painted into it. Didn’t I say I want to take you for a drive? [“Interrupt her, tell her to speak slower. Tell her that the tone of her voice should be one bar above whispering”]. Nevertheless, you make one feel out of house, out of home when he is in no position to face you; face you face to face to face. You are a film noir face with freckle under your eyes. Every name in the history [of images], is she.


And now, on his bicycle, night after night, he licks every edge of your surface – even your disproportional and unexpectedly jumpy ditches – like a wall surrendering to the fantasies of its windows that is seduced by the brightness of sun who penetrates it and strokes it bit by bit moving west. Unlike the ditches of your body, my walls have no paintings.


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