Today, Tomorrow, 2023, Digital print
I woke up having forgotten which way to turn the key to my door.
It was as though somebody had taken apart pieces of me while I had been asleep, only to put me back together, like a puzzle; and in the process had misplaced one of the pieces. So irrelevant it had been, that the puzzle looked complete enough without it, and the solver just walked away shrugging.
Or maybe it was an accident on a microscopic scale, concerning a couple trillion neurons and synapses, and a single fallen martyr.
I returned to Saint-Etienne after a year’s absence. My old studio used to have a municipal alarm system like the one in the image, above. It would blare out with deafening wailing sounds like clockwork on the first Thursday of every month. I usually put on ear protection and worked through the noise. If the alarm test day coincided with a morning when I brought my newborn into the studio, we had to go out of the building and down the street to escape the noise. I can’t imagine living somewhere where air raid sirens are an almost daily occurrence that actually indicates real and present danger.
Hungarian Oak, Glasgow, July 2023
Letter from Glasgow: Living Oaks
That evening, when I had finished the drawing, I walked down the hill by my house. I stopped by a tree at the bottom of the hill. It is a tall oak, with arms raised up as if in greeting. You could not hide in this one’s skirts, but her head is almost heart shaped. A plaque says that this is a Hungarian oak, planted in 1918 to celebrate the granting of votes to women. I think of it as a tall woman. Young, by oak standards. Oak trees can live a thousand years. Two thousand, according to Pliny the Elder.