I went hunting this weekend. I went in search of the exquisite places, the quotidian spaces where the body lives.
I was reading. It was hot outside. I was comfortable inside. Amidst the comfort, I started to see my surroundings. I started to watch them, different from how I normally see them. I started to observe them.
Those spaces where the body finds itself day in and day out. Those spaces where boredom occurs. Relief. Confusion. Work.
Things are worn down in these places. Marked. Sagging. Splotched. Stained. Carved. Unkempt. Curled. Cleaned.
These things don't lie. These things have life in them.
Like the body has life in it. Like the body doesn't lie.
As me and my camera swam around tiny corners and secretive spaces that afternoon, I remembered a conversation I once had with the artist Ann Hamilton about text, textiles and the body. I was explaining to her one of my recent projects and my sudden yet strong fascination with knitting and yarn. The sensation of the wool between my fingers. The experience of slowly building something out of animal hair. The discreet experience of sitting in silence and making tiny holes.
She confirmed all of this for me, saying Yes, yes. We commiserated about this fascination for a moment. I suspected, then, that she shares this fascination. But you would have to have a conversation with her to really know.
She then told me about the origins of the word textile, coming from the word texere, meaning to weave. We talked about the similarities between text, textile and the body, their meanings and what they lead to. We nodded and smiled. It all made sense in that moment. A kind of sense I can't explain here. You just have to trust me.
Something exquisite in this search? Yes. Something unknown in this search? Yes. Something comforting in this search? Yes, for I felt my human activate. My animal. How a hunt is about all six senses. How the body needs to explore.
And in my search for this relationship between textile and text I found this article by A.S. Byatt. I enjoyed it. I think you'll enjoy it, too.
"My sense is that reason is one tool of many and is often an intermediary for a quicker, deeper, more elusive facility. It’s the difference between ladder thinking and constellation thinking. I feel things more quickly and more deeply than I understand them. I understand things more quickly and deeply than I can speak them. I speak things more quickly and deeply than I can write them. One of the keys to being prolific, and I am fairly prolific, was giving up the notion that I had to understand what I was doing before I could put it down. Since that time my writing has become an ongoing curriculum, because I no longer record what I understand but explore what I feel. I write because I have questions, and often the writing leads to more questions and not answers."
~Mark Nepo from an interview with David Bradt, which appeared in its entirety in The Plum Review (Fall 1996, Issue 10)