Writings and Images from ‘underway’
December 2017- February 2018
Documentation: Writings and Photographs
- Wait – Listen to the space/place
(a). Observe how passersby behave in regards to the space, how they treat it, how the
- Take (5) photographs
- Move in conversation with the space/place
Arrive/ Wait – Listen to the space/place
The arriving felt accessible to me so much to be in or to open to people places objects considered and composed environments fronted by sidewalk La Boheme Condominiums, Il Postino Restaurant, Caffe Calabria Coffee House always the cars revving by with insistence people walking by alone with someone, with a dog a cigarette a coffee to go a yoga matt themselves arriving or leaving me I’m noticing how each of these individual activities create the feel the mood the trajectories of bodies going somewhere it’s the going that I am paying attention to that forms the shape of my waiting and how to wait.
As soon as I am noticed not going somewhere lingering or being still this is when my presence begins to be questioned by passersby I was noticed because I was still or in relative stillness I would walk and pause look skyward the quality of my waiting and observing was shaped by where I placed my attention I saw the shadows thrown by trees people cars resting in parking places at one point as I was looking up at the sky a passing airplane caught my eye it was tiny and leaving quickly vanishing vapor trails in between myself and this plane there was a quick flicker of movement a small bird it was not much bigger that the palm of my hand it was on the corner of the roof of the highest point of the condominium building where two sides meet there was this bird in that moment the plane at a great distance the bird and myself all connected in a composition engendered by noticing and imagining the feeling of each of our movements as a dance.
How is this performance? And at the same time this kind of waiting gave my observations a brightness, an infinite feel that my noticing and being noticed slowed down time or rather revealed the simultaneousness of time moving and being experienced on multiple levels all at once.
Move in conversation with the space
As I began to move I immediately felt hesitancy there is so much to consider in our current climate around any odd behavior in public spaces I was acutely aware that I could be seen as potentially dangerous although I am also aware of my privilege as a white man of a certain age, dressed in a certain way. This tension influenced how I moved and my timing nonetheless I was able to find pleasure in allowing the space to work on me the sun on the sidewalk the shifting shadows of late morning sliding into early afternoon the trees with thin(ish) trunks that twisted and curved in a dance with the soil, the sun and time with green leaves and gray sidewalk in front of Il Postino Restaurant.
I felt like I was able, through action and movement that was not goal orientated, movement that was about a desire to know(feel) through attention and engagement with the questions:
What is this place? What am I in? What is the art of it? How can I invite people?
What made people look twice or notice the quality of my presence was stillness. If the flow of activity, of going places is like a river then I appear as some kind of obstruction or interruption in this flow. I worked also as if I were a non-human presence like the trees, the tables of the café the small fallen leaves on the sidewalk the gate or a grate that surrounds the base of one of the trees this way of imaging myself seemed highlight my human presence (so I imagine).
I found the moving, the dancing most fraught. At one point I stood between two of the tall rectangular shrubs and between them was a gate that was locked and behind it were what looked like large pipes for water or some kind of system that supported the condominium building maybe even a place for fire fighters to connect a hose in an emergency. As I stood there and began to move in a way that could be described as a small dance I noticed a CCTV camera mounted above on the wall in that moment I wanted to dance for this non human observer that could have a human sitting somewhere watching me. This dance had me engaged for several minutes imagining being seen.
On a durational note there as a man and his dog who saw me standing in the arrival portion and over an hour later returned to find me in the same place and he said ‘your still here’ I said something like yes I’m enjoying the light on the trees and the shifting shadows he looked dubiously at me (or so I imagined).
I can’t say if I actively disappeared I experienced it more as a dissipating heading into Caffe Calabria for a coffee and then sitting down at a small table outside to do my free-write.
268 Shuffle steps to traverse the space from Left to Right.
I ended up in Mission Hills working in front of two empty storefronts one of which was a record store. The empty and former(ness) of these spaces are magnetic for me to look in reflected empty spaces with settled dust white from debris and time the exposed concrete floor is beautiful like a map of sorts I immediately want to be performing in these spaces but access is near impossible so I stood outside with desire.
Everywhere scattered and not lost not lost not taken so many or what many if any options for placing myself the waiting was simple the space place laid between a small public library branch at the other corner (north) a florist. There were (2) trees again coming up through a black iron grate with a round opening a square grate-like structure with a round open-mouthed center the sidewalk shit-stained in a few places.
Not many passersby compared to last week this due to the empty storefronts being in an inactive corridor gave me both more permission and limited my options in a quieting way working in front of active establishments has the owners/employees becoming wary of me.
Move in conversation with the space
More subtle movement today a pull toward stillness that can be recognized but not easily categorized by observers in the case of today’s location drivers who come to the traffic light. There was more car traffic than foot traffic which has been the case both times but at my first site on 12/1 the cars where passing at this site several cars lined up at the traffic light and had time to look around and notice me. I was engaged with the reflection in the glass windows today there is a split of blue sky and green tree with interior shadows and my reflection you’ll see it in the photos the deceleration stillness and acceleration of the cars created a rhythm a vibration today
I was completely in the shade the shaded side of the street (east) I felt more alone less observed that last week yet even more reserved in my moving. There were no vocal interactions well there was one it was a time when I overtly shifted my placement in the space as to be obviously ‘in something’ there was a protective grated metal box over some kind of meter and I stood atop it for several minutes I was above the sidewalk and a man came by and asked “How’s the view up there?” during this a fire truck passed and one of the firemen made eye contact I thought maybe he’d return to investigate. Around the corner there is a fire station no one returned.
Again stillness or placement was mostly what I worked within today I felt I had more time to wait to observe how people across the street in the distance on the sidewalk and crossing the street and driving by I felt much more distance today like a picture seen from afar working in this way more of the space revealed itself to me. Details; touching of the tree trunks, the stains and cracks, the dust in corners, the tree trunks and the sidewalk still cool from the night, forehead resting on the trunk of one of the trees, a hand placed on a trunk. I was able to track the noticing of my presence more today. Got engaged with listening for what it was my presence is doing what is possible how when I enter a place in performance mind how that changes me.
I walked north and turned off of Washington Street and stood for the first time in an hour in the full sunlight disappearing into the brightness the warm blazing sunlight. I felt mostly unnoticed today the place that attracted me was really on the way to somewhere else the public library to the south and the florist to the north and in between the empty spectral spaces, unestablished, cool, uninvited.
Corner of A Street and 7th Avenue
Observe how passersby behave in regards to the space. How do they treat it, how they perceive you?
Take (5) Photos
Move in conversation with the space
The empty full lot of a former structure now the bottom revealed the foundation an ocean receded a dried land scape scraped pulverized and all support showing the long shadow the bright block the hotel or residence tucked between prodocarpus trees. Me stalking, walking, standing, the looking up dizzying tall buildings and shit smears the coolness of a hilled street in shade.
I wonder and wander. How to be in this place? Unhurried and curious and guarded. Women walk by, men walk by, going somewhere. The positively glowing corridor of a long avenue (7th Ave.) spilling, pouring, tripping toward the harbour at the end. I’m high up drawn to foundations flattened sun and lit shade bathed ground level entire facades revealed.
I only wanted to move in that ghost space the foundation now open to wind and sky to shadow-shaping moon-surfaced just beyond the chain-links seven signs warning me that my body moving in that space will be taken as trespass police(able). I only wanted to bath (in late morning warmth and pre-dawn chill and dance, be still, stand, lie down, traverse, throw my voice that shapes is shaped the shift of walking the block all the while magnetically pulled to the former(ness).
The spaces speak and invite and are forbidden I walked a real and imagined concrete and blacktop map marked by stubbed cigarettes, shit smears, infinite shadows, coolness, a glaring glowing avenue, public pissing, money and none.
The long way down and the up(ness) of hills passing the chain-link sweep of the forbidden profit scar of what will next be built down the sidewalk sun-blasted or sun-glowing into the quietness of recovery.
The Union Tribune Building rising across the street a man urinates between the building rise and gleam. I attempt to poetically attend to it hold the opposing forces the actions lives disparate(ness) in the same unfolding skidding moments a kind of witness an artist a person desiring to viscerally correspond so cool and quiet this block the hunger and the loss the maintaining and the ‘this-is-happening’ of it hums and drones just below each step each glance each turn of a key, a lock, a door, a fence, a gutter. The keep out and keep in of it.
The pigeons on the long arm of the traffic light outstretched impossibly a suspended bridge rounded white shit streaked floating like a bomb above the scuttling pigeon feet claws clack, make patterns and round ledges.
The sun moved bleedingly into and away from me. Each other all the same thing obstruction and access this move rounded steady of the sun source of my shadow on the dirty white painted cement wall. I saw a woman walking in the shadowed sidewalk across the intersection on a diagonal away from me. An arm raised, a palm flat toward the geometry, the face of the building she was passing. This became my motif my movement entry. I discovered myself within the shadow, the light warmed on my own flat surfaces.
The wind ripples my shirt, whisps my hair, caresses my torsos, the length of my arms. At one point a young man was squatting, seeking, putting his whole body near and pressed up against sidewalk and parked cars, sides, tail pipes, undercarriages. Like a coroner or a lover.
I could make out small picked at, dried blood flecks on his somewhat sunken cheeks his furrowed brow seeking, searching. He drew the attention of a security guard eventually who did not address him directly or at all but rather got close but did not engage him only shadowed him as this boy (to me) always came up empty and picking anew at his bloodied spotted cheeks.
But for some moments I realized, imagined, felt, chose to believe we three were in a dance together. All a bit uncertain of how to be with each other but as serious and passionate as desired strangers. Each of us searching, all of us trusting something will hold together, not unravel be found. The shadows, my small mapping of the space, this place side-walked space, the shade crawling sliding up the hill, the elevation, the grade the hill side-walked, the warming stillness.
I floated my arms slowly from my back from my spine through my trunk and pelvis rooting spilling down-footed(ness) splayed them five times each a seed to tree lifecycle in my comparatively fast body time finding a way of unfolding each time climbing out of my pelvis, torso through the limbs, my splayed leaf-like empty hand warmed by the sun the spill of my hair in shadow the wind was there, the caresser all the time as I was made by shape as shape spoke to me in shape.
Making myself stand and stand out amongst the flow of going places standing in essence still in the flow of a kind of time. I took time like that crawling sliding up-pouring sun-wind, sun-shadow unfurling of limbs that blue sky available and present making bright and warm possible too
During my last shadow shape making against the wall someone in a passing vehicle (my back was turned from the street) yelled, “Look at that asshole.” In that moment I thought yes you are right look at this asshole. A righteous summation. What is it I am doing?
The small detail; the cigarette butt, my feet sneakered black white Nike swoosh. In stillness facing four directions was the performance score that I sensed I was in.
Looking standing breathing in relationship to people to place on their way all of this in my face(ing) in my cardinal direction(ing) (N,S,E,W) my directional bones my muscles in their wrapping skin blood untold spilling splitting unified above and around swelling like a tide and receding the constructions hydraulic scissor lift dangerously folded quiet squat orange and gaudy still and waiting across the street from me in the southern direction my image hovering dimly reflected as cars and people pass through my reflection in the unfinished plate glass slabs the light pole nearest me on my sidewalk splitting my image of myself my parting ways the tea in my hands (chamomile) in the cup unwarming itself also under the rhythm of all these intersections the western direction has airplanes glidingly reflected in the second floor wall of windows just down and across the block these planes these bodies full of bodies sweep along the surface of this glass lane ethereal and diminished huge and deadly all at once.
Alive at the time standing in time; skin-time, breath-time, shifts of weight-time. My attraction to the center or the earth a top cement smoothed and smothering slip my sundial self not forward not backward not sideways lips moist and breath always dropping arms and hands fingers slope mouth looking too my eyes focusing and softening as I spin slowly, imperceptibly.
The discarded items thrown or placed away. This space, this place(ment) I am occupying or that’s occupying me is not meant for inhabiting it’s on the way to the entrance and the exit the cross walk the side walk the up and down the arrival or departure but never here and never now face(ing) north the last direction of the performance the smoothed and ridged sculptural skin on the tall column just over two feet from my face the front of me has turned itself now away from the passing cars and people in the center, the down of the city.
I see dark stains bleeding out of the deep set corners dark stains of urine of washed but not clean of shadow that was made as shadow not a place sunshine or even artificial light ever gets directly always leftovers and not-enoughs not a place sun ever gets into the smoothed over roughness of it around me people step out stand and flank me, smoke, talk, gossip, try to make sense, hold the day in its slipping, its receding.
I hold the tea in its colding paper container sip swallow stand pour into the ground rotate spin. I am like a sundial my spinning only apparent after when the coolness and shadows are long.
Back to the people to me this person now who rotates spins with pauses and wind the signs all around that announce the, It’s About Time Festival on the light pole that has split me this whole time “A Festival of Rhythm. Sound. And Place” I did not know about this festival beforehand yet here I spin never invited formally but have taken the invitation nonetheless how too to arrive, wait, move in conversation with the space(place) listening observing with my whole self while moving so slowly so quietly yet on the other side of my skin I am racing roaring crashing like waves and forested with activity and sensation memory and always the wind the air turning from one element to another with every breath every rotation there I spun there I sank there I stood there I performed quietly thunderously. How Dare I.
Sat on a sun warmed cement bench facing a sign over the doors on the ground floor of a skyscraper in downtown San Diego. A sign for WeWork over it. Glass steel shine also in this building are the Union Tribune, Robbins Arroyo LLP, Mitek, Brown Law Group, Allen, Semelsberger and Kaelin LLP and Rudolph and Sletten Inc. The building is managed by LPCWEST. My initials are also LPC (Liam Patrick Clancy).
The San Diego Symphony is here too in particular SD Symphony and the Union Tribune speak to a way of framing, presenting and contextualizing performance in the world (San Diego). My moving in the shadows and the sun-blasted spaces down here points differently, points to places on the way to these important institutions. I am drawn to people mostly “at” work in the middle of work, out for a cigarette, a coffee, a tea, a break, some sun, air.
Today found the performance of people’s pathways trajectories then at some point a man approached the plaza from the south headed north bisecting the plaza at the far end facing north in an in between space that was off of the plaza yet connected by the same cement patterns it was a wide walkway that was between the plaza proper and a fenced in area of grass and outdoor seats and couches connected to an interior cafe he was neither in the plaza nor in this other space he stood still on his phone his back to me to us.
I discovered/imagined I found him through the circuit I was doing, a choreography that had me circumnavigating and passing right through the plaza. Each time I encountered him his back, his minutely shifting presence I stopped and keeping him spatially to the inside of my left shoulder imagined us in a duet. Both of us still amidst our minute shifting. I was composing and was composed by his shape, his place in space our, unknown to him, dance. He and I. His softly pinstriped, like chalk and pants that looked impossibly thin and plush at the same time. Chalk stripes on perfectly powdered charcoal his hair perhaps had been blonde but now a bit hollowed out with gray.
I continued to walk and experience my circuit. Who is seeing what I’m up to? Who has not seen me? Will never notice? I unbeknownst to him stood moved in relationship in compositional time with the dance we were in. I was in with him grounding it all.
The feeling was exhilarating. I knew the choreography and could dance and be fully present within it. How to capture or describe the smokers sitting with a hint of furtiveness the rest in rest the light(Sun) bright but not necessarily warm the blue like something washed and stripped of dullness not shiny just clear available today the light that is not warm does not embrace as much as carry me or move me through this place this space the inhaling a mix of homeless people office workers construction workers executives men women. The small courtyard open on two sides to the street corner and running off into grass and a sharp slope behind a black fence thickly spaced enclosure in the opposite direction.
I have memories of working in New York City and sitting out on a similar plaza in front of the Seagram Building in midtown Manhattan on Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets, my past self working at a conference center for a law firm to make money to make art to hold on to this.
My past self was in this dance today in that long time ago other plaza. I was wanting to swim against the weight and waiting of work and breaks and slivers of time for myself to move through slip away from wriggle in between and today 3,000 miles and 20 years away from that plaza this performance was possible and I loved it, smiled, felt light and felt the light waiting and wanting moving at the same time patient another body in the place/plaza arriving.
I was drawn immediately but had a sensation of this space as in between but it’s an in between space made and designed (however cruelly) for in between so in this space I was drawn to the neglected parts of leisure some in shadow some in the full sun walkways I stood placed rooted to be still in a place of implied flow and to flow in the still places rooted for moments enough to honor and recognize(be recognized by place).
Parked close to Achilles Coffee Roasters the man at the counter affirmed that I’ve been coming on Fridays and would I like my usual chamomile tea; yes and yes. We talked for bit about roasting coffee our favorite coffee houses in San Diego. We are Dark Horses.
Today arrived over and over trajectories were on my mind a resonance from a score I worked with in my graduate course last week (dance making processes) the score was as follows:
Time in Three Trajectories
Individually select three trajectories to follow through space:
One driven by movement or a sensation you remember;
One driven by responses to the immediate perception of a sensation;
One driven by imagined movement or sensation in the future.
Travel along these trajectories in any order.
When you intersect with another body, change your trajectory.
At some point start moving backward and forward, retracing your steps.
You can choose to be outside of the trajectories at any point.
Any space outside of the trajectories is a space of dissipation or suspension, undoing or unknowing.
Reflecting now in the writing I realize with a surprising clarity that today’s performance was this score in every way and I could not have known while doing it but having done it just over a week ago, today I was more in it without “knowing” it than the first time. I did not have this score in my conscious mind but the word trajectories came back to me yesterday in a moment of rest as a way to think about dance making and process the complexity of following a trajectory, all that it offers in terms of specificity, simultaneously unfolding within a larger energetic, temporal and directional flow.
I kept in motion trajectories and range and found I was walking, revisiting, revising, remembering (past, present, future folding). I arrived through motion waited and waded in and through my memories of these city blocks and the now(ness) of them too making circuits laps orbiting saw faces over and over cycle and recurrence reverberating walking in orbit and each time more of their lunch, their conversation, their lives had unfolded plates, dishes, cups, glasses, forks, hands, napkins, sauces all diminishing or shifting state, chewed, spoken, unsaid and longing, around and around back and forth over and back as I kept reappearing, re-approaching. Who sees me? Who do I see? Not many people out today when I arrived at 11:15am but by 12:15pm, 12:30pm there is a swelling a soft surge snippets of conversation winding their way through me I can and cannot decipher done and doing spilling into this orbit this dance this feeling like I was in a composition already underway that I could not get outside of only from within and as part of it.
One foot in front of the other, pauses at intersections, stop, go, wander and follow my singular silence while sound and rhythm underway before me and underway after me at midday and midnight, years and years ago months moments a decade 100 years 45 millions years and the light cotton texture of my shirt in the wind as I turn this corner again and again my cooling tea and warming skin I have always been hungry and waiting like this was always like that spun out like a goodbye or the first word in our conversation my death orbits and my pain my sicknesses my falling my loving and kissing too my running and my wading/waiting all the way in under under this way and that way underway so orbit cycle move follow redo somewhere not yet.
The shadow of the rounded metal handrail an elbow image bent for support I sat sit on the topmost step rise off the plaza here in front of 600 B Street my tea hot beside me arriving again and again in the coolness of today the wind and the shadows whip tossing the palm trees and small debris there was a time when two men stood in the center of the plaza on phones yes but in postures that invited me that I invited myself into their listening composing of conversational physicality.
I entered and the three of us for perhaps less than a minute or more than three minutes we were in a contained space with the stone seating like the smallest stadium we were enclosed by these long heavy cement benches in this space. I danced, they moved shifting weight changing position and orientation sometimes walking several steps their lines of energy danced with the lines of energy and trajectory I was following and moving between, through, in, around this small dance not so small was exhilarating enlivening they did not have to know that I/we were moving together that I was paying attention to the composition already underway that dance that does not need to know it is a dance unfolding with the choreographic specificity of the most rehearsed work and full. Then the spill of no more and dissipation if thread head heart energy spoken the words of sentences unspoken language(ed) nonetheless or moretheless we did not need to know (identify, name, categorize). I wanted to not just copy or mimic but to be in the dance with respect and reverence for the dancing and the composition of moving in the world.
How to do this? How to let them know what I’m in love with? What I’m praying (literally) to…. Availability….
I’m after just this; move(ing/ed) in space with attention(time) and some grace, if grace be a space of presence the entire hour my circuits, my orbits of these particular city blocks all the circumambulations creating through repetition with variation the possibility of these specific bodies(heavenly) to enter and sense how we can dance them all the time alone? Alone lone longing seeing noticing taking in and being taken in the cold chairs, wind, all the ways people walk the rhythms the snatches of conversation the exchanges near the end one man who was present at one of the outdoor tables for the entire hour I was there I had the strong sense that he noticed my presence my walking my stillnesses my sipping of tea the lifting of the lid and the bringing to my lips, my sitting, my looking, my leaving, going out of sight and returning sometimes from one direction and sometimes from another returning until he looked at me without looking away as I disappeared.