Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sick with desire

Dear Sisters,

Hope this message finds you well.
You can usually tell how exciting my life is by looking at my studio floor. Here you see the vortex of inspiration with silence in the middle, for it is here that I am working. Opening this Saturday of my soloproject "Sailing to Byzantium" at the amazing Verbeke Foundation (more about that later), from 6pm onwards; everyone welcome!! There is lots and lots going on, more than 100 artists involved in the G58-G59 Mass Akker group show...and I find the other solo projects by Saskia Van Imhoff and Jacobus Kloppenburg (both from the NL) hugely interesting. There is SO much to see, I haven't even seen half of what is going on yet... as I have been preparing the labyrinth in which I am to exhibit the work. The title comes from the poem by W.B. Yeats.

It's on for 6 months, so maybe you'll get to see it all.
Must dash, and, for example, clear the floor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The clinical laboratory

Regularly I have blood drawn to monitor the coagulation of my blood. The lab, next to the elevator on the ground floor of the hospital, is overseen by Natascha, a Russian woman and Jamal, a big black man who, when it is quiet, is often hunched over his desk whispering and laughing into his cell phone, his hand cupped around his mouth, much to the annoyance of Natascha.
When it is very busy, early morning on Mondays for example, David will be there to help them, a pygmy with a friendly scrunched up face and spiky hair, his white coat looking more like a cloak. We share our date of birth, he has told me happily.

Natascha has a tough job, going by the loud sighs she lets out and the way she brusquely brushes back her long blond hair, outgrown at the roots, as she looks through the files trying to find my standing order. She wears a white plastic apron, which fits ill and is tied tight around her round belly. On her feet she wears sensible shoes.

“Zee last one”; she triumphantly holds up my form, shaking it at me, and laying it under the photocopier. “Room won” she says in her thick Russian accent. I sit in the chair and wait for Natascha, taking her time to print out labels with my name on it and prepare the test tubes, laying them out on the counter. I stare at Natascha’s name badge, which shows a picture of Natascha looking younger and fresher, smiling at me, her hair blown dry and lips painted crimson, perhaps on her way to the xmas office party.

“Please give me your name and date of birth” she orders. I comply and she rubs my arm clean, ticking the veins in my arm, with the tips of her fingers. “You relax now”.

I have had so many needles stuck in my arm it should no longer bother me, but more out of habit than fear, I never look as the needle goes in. Conveniently, a picture of a green valley in Yosemite national park, torn from a magazine, is stuck to the wall with tape, directly opposite the chair.

Natascha does not like doing my arm. The one good vein in my right arm (left is out), is by now so covered by scar tissue, that she sometimes does not get through and has to withdraw the needle, mumbling and sighing. In that case she may try lower down my arm, where it is more painful and more skill is required, or call Jamal to take over, muttering under her breath that she is too tired, having been on her feet since seven am.

Jamal will shuffle over and calmly, with his big broad fingers, push the needle a little deeper, through the scar tissue, until the blood slowly comes dripping through the tube.

“Keep pressure on for two minutes”: he says as I get up with my fingers pressed on the bandage. “Yes”, I say, but never do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES TO ALL: Trickle Up Time!

Here's me looking at the brand new day.

Dearest Sisters,
A better birthday present than what the world received yesterday cannot be imagined. Tears and happy yelling in the kitchen, laughing, thought, action, ripples through our existence. Our lives may seem small compared to such momentous events, yet I cannot help feeling that what we do in the small scale can mean as much and is as significant as, yes, complementary to, what is done on the greater scale: it is all connected. This is the time for active idealists, in a general fashion, rather than as deviations from the norm. I can only imagine the elation felt by people in Africa, the United States, and what trickle-down effects it will have all over the world. Trickle-up effects! Europe in any case, or my little pocket of it, is elated and relieved. With thanks to the US citizens who voted for this change.

And it is so good to have good news coming out of my radio alarm clock, which since September 11th 2001 was consistently shaped by harsh news. Such items won't go away quickly, but how delightful it is to be able to shed new light on them: the light and determination of incontrovertible hope! All I can say is YES! or, as Sylvie Fleurie puts it, by way of Oscar van den Boogaard, 'YES TO ALL.' YES WE CAN. If we are looking for life-affirming mottos the above are great.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am glued to the screen. In a minute I will go for a walk and look at people voting. I am already worried about the black hole, the day after election day.


Monday, November 3, 2008


Every week I go to Meranda’s dry cleaning. It is not too far, but not within walking distance, a remnant from when we lived on the other side of the neighborhood. I park the car right in front, five minute parking for customers, sometimes with a pile of washing so big (I let it develop again), I cannot see where I am going. Awkwardly, I will push the doorbell from behind the pile and Meranda rushes out from the back room to take over. At this point I usually need to run back to pick up the stray garments that are lying in a trail on the pavement. I take the dry cleaning, the shirts to be ironed (no starch) and the king size duvet covers (with starch), all at a fraction of European prices, a luxury I will surely miss one day. When we have had a lot of guests or after vacation, I will also bring her bags of washing to catch up. I get it back all clean and folded and wrapped tightly in blue paper, nearly too good to use again. Meranda also does little repairs when necessary, taking up Jip’s school pants, patching his jeans and fixing loose buttons.

I am a loyal customer and as a reward Meranda has softened up a bit since I started going. Meranda is Vietnamese and talks in mono-syllables; “yes”, “no” and “when you pick up?” She nods her head profusely when she has understood my request, but never a smile. Just business. That hasn’t changed, but now I get a “how are you today?”, with feeling I believe, especially when I have skipped a week. And I no longer have to tell her what I want, because she already knows, including my name. Lately, she will already have brought my dry cleaning from the back room to the front, ready for pick up, as she sees me arriving through her window, struggling with a new load, which I see as an indication our relationship is deepening.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

a magic peacock and a swan

These are a gift for you S2 but i let S1 enjoy them too ! Happy birthday ! Hope you had a lovely day and night and above all i wish you many happy unbirthdays and birthdays to come !
Lots of love

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Approach by Eva Koch

Dear Sisters,

Here finally is the website of an artist that I have mentioned before, who has made an impression on me, eva koch. She makes beautiful video works, sound and light sculpture embedded in the landscape.

I can't yet put my finger on what it is that makes it so enthralling, but something tells me it is the underlying current of humanism it exudes. Her precision.

In particular I like The Approach, when you go to works it is there in the list. It palpably expresses translational processes for me. The artist has been generous to allow us to view it online. I love the crisp English of the Danish actor.

It does not compare with having the full sound and viewing experience of the real installation; it does give an insight into what she is doing for those who cannot see it in-situ. Greetings from Antwerp where it is dark and drizzly.
love !