U’s hurt is not the ache and swell of movement’s delicious aftermath, but the rigid drudgery of standing still––behind a counter, a desk.
Both U and the counter are there to function as a threshold: a discerning gauze through which only certain people can pass through, across which only certain things can be exchanged. U watches people milling about, their things passing through, listless. U’s indifference means that what comes in and what goes out has become pretty arbitrary. U isn’t very good at their job. Something like money changes hands. The ceiling begins to sink.
Neither the milling of the people nor the exchanging of their things moves U. Their blank bustle simply washes away, eclipsed by the aching and the swelling. There are screens, they choke and flicker. Far away, barely audible, the sea broils––muddy and pearlescent.
U’s feet hurt.
On their way home U finds some intricate, pleasurable thing on the side of the road. It seems to have been thrown out with the rubbish, which steams quietly in the chill dusk. The context of this intricate, pleasurable thing’s production is unknown to U: it could be a trinket, (easily misplaced) or even something which may once have been precious, but is now bereft of the owner or ritual which formerly imbued it with meaning. Perhaps it has been discarded intentionally. Who can say who made it? It seems unauthored and unattributable to anyone in particular. It might be made of wood. It sounds hollow. It has a folksy quality. Yet U recognises that the pleasurable thing testifies to the conditions of its making by virtue of its own material (obviously reappropriated) and its skilful craftsmanship (clearly a labour of intimate attention) even if the identity of both material and craftsman ultimately remain anonymous.
If there is a way to open the pleasurable thing, U finds none, but is immediately animated by the prospect that there may be something contained within. U taps it––gently at first, then harder––on the curb. Its surface remains unmarked. They jam their penknife into a seam, trying to pry it apart like a clam, but the blade only gets a few millimetres in––no further––and cannot gain enough leverage. Beads of acrid sweat blossom on U’s forehead and catch the waning light, like suns. Something strains.
This animation is so powerful that U temporarily forgets their ache, the counter, exchange.
26.04. — 17.05.2022