An Essay for Departure


Here (The Exhibition)

There is a darkness, a comforting envelope. Folds surround you: walls, a floor, a domed ceiling, the glint of brass as it extends around the curve in the wallpaper. As you move further into the lowlight you begin to recognise shapes. The flutter of pattern on the carpet, the lacquer on the wood. The light is showing you something, illuminating, intervening in the memory of this place. You feel uneasy. It pries open the seam into a landscape. A figure moves. They must let go, like you.  

You come back to it some time later, and still, the low darkness, the lick of lights blending and dying into each other. Slowly, finally, you remember…patterns will begin to emerge, one step and then another, this life into yours. We are asking: let us write a journey together.


The Portal (In the images there are landscapes and in the landscapes there is you)

You were stood on the rocks, looking over the water. You can recall the thinness of the soles of your shoes, the gap between the fabric of your scarf and jacket. You’d found a warmth there somewhere as you’d walked to this place, but the wind caught the edges of things like skin, and fingers. A smarting glow in the far periphery of your eye. You see, the ocean, the abyss. The planet earth! To your side you find a small bright rectangle in the surface of the beach: a screen. Tiny crystals of sand skating across the surface. It is a reiteration. You crouch, bring your eyes closer, glassy surface toward glassy glow. From across the rocks your face was luminous in blue and silver, the lowlight of the coming rain. Effervescent shifts in the image as you watched the journey unfold, your face getting closer, toes sinking.


“Communication with the past and future is impossible” (How long does it take to write one word?)

A conversation is happening. As you feel the wind mind its own search across the rocks and grit and creases of your crouch you hear a tcktcktck. A projector starts up in a quickening rhythm, now an anxious tttttttttttttttt in white light. You say a conversation is happeningtttttttttttttttttttttttt We decided to speak about time—
A murmur lingers…
You may forget this projection of the unknown (why not tell a story?) and yet around you will be the place you’ll find yourself, and near you a question will be asked Where—? what ne—? whose—…..? and all around the frontier will be open: a deep, far, worrying reach of responsibility.


Later, when you’re there (How can we even begin to imagine?)

No. It is impossible to say, where, when. A question from the back seat, from the figure wrapped in sheets in a winter bed, motionless, separated, being refused for; from the horizontal rain, from the overwhelm of the waves, from the percolating into lungs. You think this is exhausting?


It is slippery. (Tell me about your dream)

An artist walks into the future, forehead glistening, growing thinner until she is only a myth. When she arrived she lifted her fingers to her face in the shape of a rectangle, clicked her right forefinger as if into the shutter. In the gap between her hands and yours, there is an attempt to make the reach.

The effigy says Fiction is all we have.

Kate Holford
~ Glasgow
February 2020