In Search of A/The Point of Life

Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

REVERIES OF A SOLITARY RUNNER II: flights with Qu Yuan and his beautiful suicide lament (3BCE)

We seek not immortality - not even longevity (what for?), but a life lived to its fullest, every lifetime, each time we live it.

Qu Yuan’s description of his passage to death and beyond (3BCE) is simply one of the most beautiful passages we have ever encountered – the juxtapositions of internal turmoil with external journey, the spiritual and the tangible, the political and the personal, the metaphysical with the physical, the melancholic and the ecstatic, the extreme feeling of isolation and liberation, the unliving with being most alive – are so skillfully presented that the reader can not but feel happy (for the narrator) and heartbroken (for us, for there will be no more beautiful verses from him) at the same time. (Any experience that evokes 2 opposing emotions simultaneously – that the sublime embodies perfectly, with the interplay of the fearful and the awe-inspiring – is the most powerful experience for us). While we certainly cannot say that we fully agree with or understand it (with the multiple references to the religious/spiritual), Qu Yuan’s song hits us. According to Livia Kohn in her delightful The Taoist Experience: An Anthology, Later Printing (State University of New York Press, 1993), Qu Yuan’s The Far-Off Journey (Yuanyou) is ‘most classical of all ecstatic journeys in Chinese religion and literature’. In this song, the poet and official describes ‘a visionary journey that takes him from the sorrows bad afflictions of his unhappy life on earth through various physical practices and concentration efforts to the realm of the gods and immortals.’ Qu Yuan is of course renowned for eventually having thrown himself in sorrow into the Miluo River as a protest to the corruption of his government, the reason for many Chinese to mark the annual Dragon Boat Festival by throwing rice dumplings into the river from dragon boats in the futile wish that the fish would eat the dumplings instead of the tormented poet. Sensible 21st century beings that we are, we respect and enjoy the lovely story/legend/myth that makes Qu Yuan heroic and poetic, as much as we take it with a pinch of salt (as we wolf down the rice dumplings). At the same time, trans-dimensional runners that we are, we have 1 foot on the ground, and the other in cuckoo land, in blue skies; grounded and earth-bound as we are, we travel the world(s) (in spirit – whatever that might be? With more bags of salt? How heavy is that!?!) with the doomed anti-hero-fantasist-travellers, ala Don Quixote (Cervantes’ and Kathy Acker’s), Fitzcarraldo and Orlando. While Qu Yuan flies (and at some point of the song, GALLOP!!), we run, trans-dimensionally; while he seeks union / re-union with an ineffable force (the Tao), we dispel the notion of the existence of any convenient, centralised thing/being/institution; while he is disembodied, leaving his physical body behind, we run, embodied, burdened, with us, our physical, corporeal beings – which is the point, which is also the problem, the problem of our 1000-day troublesome endeavour, but the problem is very much the point. And, unlike Qu Yuan, we seek neither longevity nor immortality (as if one lifetime is not more than enough!?!). Yet, like Qu Yuan, and like Rousseau, we know, and we do, want to move on. Here, we reproduce Qu Yuan’s Far-off Journey (Yuanyou) from Kohn’s anthology (p. 251 – 257). Qu Yuan’s astral journey reminds us of that of the ancient Egyptian as we learnt at the British Museum at the wonderful Book of the Dead show, as well as the hauntingly beautiful paintings of Marc Chagall (so much so that we are compelled to pick up the brush and paint and canvas to paint [again]- although the production of paintings, of things, is is direct contradiction to our desire/purpose of wanting to not attach, to be free from burden, in our earthly travels and beyond…). The process of transcribing the translated text help us move closer to Qu Yuan’s mind, as he traverses the worlds, as every word comes off the page to the screen, from the poet to paper, from text in one language to another via the translator, from the translator to us, from us to you.

Saddened by the hardships of the common world,

How I wish to rise up and travel ways far-off!
My own strength is feeble; there is no support –
What could I stride on to float up and away?

Encountering nothing but foulness and defilement,
I am alone and miserable – who could I talk to?
At night I lie restless, never sleeping,
My soul roving about till the approach of dawn.

Thinking of the infinity of heaven and of earth,
I cry with the eternal toil of human life.
People of the past I cannot reach;
People of the future I will never know.

Pacing with restlessness, I yearn to get away,
Confused and close to madness, I long for the eternal.
My mind goes wild, strays off without control;
My heart melancholy, I am ever sadder.

Then suddenly my spirit, off, never to come back.
My body, like a withered tree, left behind alone.

I look within, try to get back my grip,
To find the place where life’s energy arises:
All vastly empty and tranquil, there is serenity.
Quietly in non-action, spontaneous truth is found.

I hear how Master Redpine cleansed the world’s defilements
And wish to follow the model he has left.

Honoring the blessed virtue of the perfected,
I admire all who in the past have become immortal.
Taking off in a transformation, they were never seen,
While still their name and nature continue on and on.

Oh, how Fu Yue went to live among the stars!
How Han Zhong Succeeded to realize the One!
Oh, for the body to slowly fade off in the distance –
To leave the human crowd behind, to vanish so completely!

Oh, to follow the flow of energy, rising ever upward –
Swift as the spirit, wondrous as a ghost!
To see thaw rolled get hazy, look back from far-off –
All dazzling essence, flashing back and forth!

Oh, to go away from all the dust to greater purity –
Never to turn back to old home!
To escape all the afflictions and never fear again –
None in the world knows how this truly is!

And here I am, afraid of the passing of the seasons,
With every rising of the sun on its westward move.
A subtle frost descends, sinking ever downward,
I fear my fragrant freshness will fade all too soon.

Oh, to leave it all for free and easy journey
Through years eternal that will never end!
Here, who would enjoy with me my remaining fragrance,
Walk, through the country air and share my depth with me?

Gaoyang, my hero, is removed ever farther,
Where will this life, so lonely, lead me to?

Then again, as spring and autumn hurry,
How can I always stay in my old home?
The Yellow Emperor cannot become my model,
But I can follow Jumping Wang to please myself.

So I eat the six energies and drink the nightly dew,
Rinse my mouth with yang itself and swallow morning light.
Guarding the purity of the spirit light within,
I absorb essence and energy, drive out all that’s coarse.

Wandering in the wake of the gentle wind,
I reach the Southern Nest without a single stop.
I meet with Master Wang and pause to speak to him,
Inquire about the harmony and virtue of the One.

‘The Tao can only be received,’ he says,
‘It never can be given.
‘So small that has no within,
‘So big it has no bounds.

‘No twists at all inside your soul,
‘And it will come spontaneously.
‘Focus on energy and open up to spirit –
‘Let them grow in you at the midnight hour.

‘Wait for the Tao in emptiness,
‘Clear even of non-action.
‘All living species rise from this,
‘It is the Gate of Virtue.’

Thinking of my dear old friends in my imagination.
I heave a heavy sigh and brush the tears away.
Slowly again I float, rising ever farther:
Suppressing now my will, keeping myself controlled.

I point to the God of Fire and gallop straight to him,
Wishing to journey to the world’s southern end.
I gaze on wilderness beyond all known directions,
Float on and on over watery expanse.

The Blessed Melter of the South stops me on the way,
So I go back by phoenix and visit the River Consorts.
They play the ‘Pool of Heaven’ and sing me ‘To the Clouds’;
Both ladies then perform the Nine Songs of Shao.

Asking the Xiang goddesses to play their zithers for me,
I bid the Sea God dance with the River God.
They pull up water monsters ti step forward with them,
Their bodies coiling and writhing in ever swaying motion!

Gracefully the Lady Rainbow circles all around them;
The Phoenixes soar up, stay hovering above –
The music swells ever higher, into infinity.

At this point I leave to wander yet again;
With my entourage, I gallop far away.

At the world’s far end at the Gate of Coldness,
I race the rushing wind to Clarity Springs.
I follow Zhuanxu of the North over piled-up ice,
Turn from my path to pass through Mystery Darkness.

Striding on cosmic mainstays, I look back behind me,
Summon Qian Lei the Creator to appear,
To go in front of me on the level way.

Thus I tour all four outlands,
Traverse all the six regions,
Up to the crakes of Heaven,
Down to the Great Abyss.

Below just lofty openess, there is no more earth;
Above just empty vastness, there is no more heaven.

I look but my vision blurs, nothing to be seen;
I listen but my ears are numb, nothing to be heard.

Going beyond non-action, I reach the Clarity,
Become a neighbour of the Great Beginning.

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IN 2011 JANUARY 11, WE (Kaidie, Kai die, Kai live, Kai Syng Tan, dead Kai) POPPED UP AT ASIA TATLER (Singapore).

As you well know, we are highflying, highlycultured, highlycultivated, highbrowed and hightea-ed. At the same time, we are thick as a slice of 14-month-old Tesco’s nofrills white-sliced bread (made of highly-refined plain flour!!), and our humour, as you our dear Reader knows well by now, is lowbrow and scatological. Yeah baby. Nonetheless, at the very least we do have a sense of humour. We are uncertain if many other people can say the same. Our life as it is has been fluctuating high-and-low as usual, but a few weeks ago it was temporarily associated with the high society, as we (all of us Kai, Kaidie, Kai Syng, Kai Die, Kai Live, Kai Lives) were featured in the Tatler Asia (Singapore) magazine. Not our usual strasse shall we say, as our usual strasse is concrete (specifically on the pavements of lovely large cities) as well as ones-and-zeroes (on the information superhighway). Here is the lowdown (how could we possibly resist such a cheap pun??).



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MEETING AND NON-MEETINGS IN NONDON: KAIDIE AND CLIVE ANDERSON

To conform to the jolliness of the new year spirit, we had compiled a list of things that quicken the heart. Now that we are past all that intoxicated partying and feelgoodness, we now share a list of some of our pet peeves as Nondoners  / Nondon runners, which include:

1. Young and / or bad and self-righteous parents with strollers in tow, and obese-people blocking our paths when we are running; 2. Anything flapping from our body when we run (hair, clothes, flesh etc); 3. Having to run as Michelin Men in Winter; 4. Why we have to pay so much for good crisp bubbly in this isle; 5. Why we have to pay so much for seafood in this isle (and it is an isle!); 6. Pollution from the traffic 7. The taste of Nondon tap water; 8. Dogs and more so, dog-owners who, like parents, have the stench of smugness (‘I am sure the whole world ALSO adore my cute dogs/kids! Look at their envy!’) when we want to shout to them: ‘Leash up your bloody poodles and please wipe up their poo and your silly smile when you let them run after runners’; 9. Short men aggressively pumping iron in the gym; 10. Middle-aged men.

This post is about the final point. Specifically, we are drawing your attention to 3 exceptions from the media world to this final point: they are our beloved, in no particular order: 1) Jon Snow 2) Jeremy Paxman 3) Clive Anderson. (Actually, 3.5, if we  include 3.5: Ken Livingston since he appears often enough in our favoured Have I Got News For You, we can consider him as a media figure and hence save our arses and stay clear of politics).

Hence, when the opportunity came up for a chance to catch THE UBER-BRILLIANT Clive Anderson in the flesh, we jumped at it. On 20 December 2010, Monday 11am, in conditions described over and over again as ‘arctic’ by the media, we visited the BBC Radio Theatre in Central Nondon, to be ‘live’ audiences of the Radio 4 programme Loose Ends. (This is not the first time we attended BBC events – previously we had risked ill health and visited BBC to catch a glimpse of another middle-aged man we fancy, Grayson Perry, with CFTE [Companion For The Evening]).

As expected Clive Anderson was bantering, at top speed, first thing he stepped onto the stage. As expected in a way as well, Clive was not 6feet4 (and we say this being seated in the second row, but at least he was not pumping iron). As this recording was to be broadcast on New Years day, Anderson urged us to sound merry. So we did, clapping and cheering wildly. We were treated to music by a ukulele band, and appearances by guests from television and theatre. It was good fun, compactly packed in a single hour. Watching the superbly intelligent and witty ex-lawyer ‘live’, unedited yet ever-so-brilliantly sharp, reminded us why we admire him.

At the end of the show, we wanted to approach Anderson – while he was still lingering on stage, and we a couple of yards (whatever a yard is) away, yet not close (or civilised for us) enough for us to shout. Unfortunately, one of the ushers -in black of course- prevented us from doing that, in a firm tone.  We repeated our requests, and the usher did too, in a firm voice ‘of authority’. This unleashed an unpleasant memory from a previous life, when we had an experience of our lifetimes when we underwent layer after layer of interrogation (and patting down, and ransacking of our bags inside out, et al) when we were boarding and leaving the El Al to attend a lovely film festival. We glared at the lady, silently. We left the studio and stomped our icy feet on the icy ground.

Meeting, yet not quite meeting -is that not what Nondon excels in?

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‘LIST OF THINGS THAT QUICKEN THE HEART’: Closing the year (2010) with an other Chris Marker quote (1983), this time after Sei Shonagon (1002)

(Over)stretching ourselves in preparation for more mindbodyblowing trans-dimensional running in 2011

(Over) stretching ourselves to get geared up for more mindbodyblowing trans-dimensional runs (2 layers of socks) in the new year 2011.

Chris Marker, San Soleil, 1983: ‘Shonagon had a passion for lists: the list of ‘elegant things,’ ‘distressing things,’ or even of ‘things not worth doing.’ One day she got the idea of drawing up a list of ‘things that quicken the heart.’ Not a bad criterion I realise when I’m filming …’

Sei Shonagon’s elegant and evocative list, The Pillow Book, 1002 (italics ours): ‘Sparrow feeding their young. To pass a place where babies are playing. To sleep in a room where some fine incense has been burnt. To notice that one’s elegant Chinese mirror has become a little cloudy. To see a gentleman stop his carriage before one’s gage and instruct his attendants to announce his arrival. To wash one’s hair, make one’s toilet, and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure. It is not and one is expecting a visitor. Suddenly one is startled by the sound of rain-drops, which the wind blows against the shutters.’

Kaidie’s list, post Xmas, 2010, on the cusp (cusp – what a lovely word) of an other new year, 2011:
1.    The moment of realisation that our legs have been working in perfect synchronicity with our arms, mind, emotions, environment, weather, and that we had been un-self-conscious of this happening; that we have fully inhabited, embodied and embedded running.
2.    The moment of realisation that we have been living+working+playing in the city of Nondon, and that we had been un-self-conscious of it; that we have fully inhabited, embodied and embedded ourselves in this great city.
3.    When beginning to structure and write a new chapter (it soon gets extremely laboured and tedious, and is nothing but meticulous building, or precise shearing and stripping of, block by block, bit by bit).
4.    Experiencing the transition/cut between from the black-and-white opening sequence of Tarkovsky’s Mirror (of a man overcoming his stutter) and the first scene of the film proper a-washed in luscious green.
5.    Experiencing the transition/cut between the closing sequence of Marker’s Sans Soleil and the final credits (of 3 children on a road in Iceland); the moment when the woman moves in La Jetee (1962).
6.    Experiencing the first notes of Glenn Gould’s rendition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and, with the assistance of good earphones, the melancholic-ecstasy in Gould humming/singing.
7.    When water from the very hot shower first hits our skin after we emerge from the lukewarm swimming pool (afterwards, it is merely utilitarian).
8.    In the first 30 seconds of acquisition, licking the foamy head off a very hot cappuccino thickly dusted with cocoa (but as soon as the bubbles fizzle off, so too, does our interest).
9.    The moment of falling into a deranged, swirling, topsyturvy, eternal, divine love at first bite with toro sashimi shrewdly laced with fresh wasabi (how it stings!); ditto, at first sight and bite, with Sainsbury’s bakery’s 99p cheese twist (or that pecan and maple pastry thing 79p) (Our heart quicken, and misses a few beats. Gulp.)
10.    The sudden / brief moment of mutual recognition of something of a spark of sorts happening (before it/whateveritis falls into numbing patterns that we run away from, and move on, hollering, ‘Enough!’, because we do not have the stamina or interest to sustain such a spark; that a spark is such only because it is momentary; anything longer than momentary ceases to be such).

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As we stuff our faces with stuffed birds/puds/sprouts/mulling about, shall we have a DISCOURSE? (RUNNING TO & FRO, from the Latin ‘discursus’)?

Hard at work (as if): reading, or rather, posing with books that we have ordered for the library. If we hold the books close enough, hopefully our skin will be able to absorb all the contents, swiftly. And paraphrase them enough to regurgitate in our writing, too, hopefully.

Before you complain that we have been less-than-diligent in our postings in the past couple of months, we must tell you that it is because we have been extremely hard at work writing something else, namely our grand 80,000-word fabulousness and sweetness of our thesis, which theorises our critical strategy of trans-dimensional running for our 21st century technologically-enabled multiverse.

To write, we have to read too, of course. Here are some pictorial evidence of us (LOOKING AS IF WE ARE VERY) hard at work, reading some of the books that we have ordered. We particularly enjoy running with Dr Bernd Heinrich in his Why We Run: A Natural History. Himself is a TOP marathon and ultramarathon runner (coming in as champion, at the age of 41, a race of 100km in 6 hours 30 minutes in 1981 in Chicago!!), award-winning biologist Dr Heinrich presents a dazzling story of why human beings, compared to our relatives in the animal kingdom, run. One of our favourite quotes is found on page 103. It is a conversation between the author and his friend, when the former ran 5-minutes faster than what the friend predicted.

As is usually the case in science, you make a prediction, and if it comes out close, you are happy because you’re potentially right with one idea, and if it comes out different, you’re closer to some other idea that you didn’t even think of before. That’s even better.

What a beautiful, powerful thought. And this comes from the perfectionist and overachiever of the writer-scientist-ultrarunner. To stray from an expectation is not a sign of defeat, but instead, a potentially exciting route of discovery into something that one didn’t expect, perhaps leading one to something else that is even more interesting than where one could have ventured.

Dr Heinrich’s writing is simple and clear, while also loaded with first-hand anecdotes (so this is not some armchair critic/theoryhead who only sits on their fatarses in their ivory towers and conceptualise about the world and the moons and the stars till the  cows come home, or as one of our favourite artists ever, the brilliant Groucho Marx, says in the 1933 cccclassssssiccccc Duck Soup, ‘I could dance with you till the cows come home. On second thoughts, I’d rather dance with the cows till you came home.‘) We are, frankly speaking, dogtired of all those highfalutin empty gibberish expounded by the socalled pureminds of the socalled academia, some of whom really are only capable of blowing pungent wind through their holycracks.

We are however disappointed with Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run, albeit its extremely exciting premise of learning to run ultra-distances from the humble and hidden tribe of the amazing Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, who have run all their lives, since they first ran away from the invading Spanish (what a poetic and empowering imagery!!).  What we find disagreeable however is ultrarunner-and-journalist McDougall’s writing style which has the irritating trying-hard-to-be-cute-and-oh-so-personal-first-person-narrative-smug-frockingfullofselfbelief-noironywhatsoever-chest-beating-we-are-the-world-we-rule-the-world-yayyayay-watch-us-we-feel-ohsofrockinggood-about-ourselves approach also neatly encapsulated in the American talk show which we quite absolutely cannot stand (unless, of course, if it is so very bad that it is very good, out & out excessively trashy The Jerry Springer ShowJerry!  Jerry! we chant, fists in the air and on other guests’ holy bodies).

Philosopher and runner Michael Austin was the one who drew our attention to, in his good (although could-be-better, if each essay by the different philosopher-runners wasn’t so short but was more developed) Running and Philosophy, the etymology of the word  ‘discourse’, which comes from the Latin discursus, and which refers to a running to-&-fro! What a poetic image. We have said this before, but we will say this again (because we keep getting asked!), but to all the snobs who still insist that walking is the only valid psychogeographical strategy, we say that you are too closed-minded, and that you really should try running (YES WE CHALLENGE YOU TO SWEAT IT OUT AND GET YOUR ‘PUREMINDS’ AND FATARSES MOVIN’!) to see how it works. Alan Turing would go for a 2-3hour run midday, to run away problems from that he faced at work; yet, it was in the middle of such a run that he conceptualised the beginnings of the modern computer.

Now, what better synthesis of the mind-body-technology-imagination could you get??

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DO COME TO OUR 2 (OUT OF 4) OF OUR GIGS IN NONDON THIS WEEK!

This week, we are conducting 4 presentations – 2 of which you are cordially invited to! As for the other 2, we will tell you about them later – depending on how they go, that is. At press time, however, these other 2 gigs are state secrets…

** LATEST: We are running the 2011 Nondon Marathon on the 17th of April for Shelter, and will need YOUR help to raise £1600! ! TO MAKE A DONATION CONTACT US at <dislocation@3rdlifekaidie.com> THIS AND ONLY THIS CAN SECURE OUR FRIENDSHIP (or ‘friendship’)  – we will run FOR YOU  – what more can you ask of us?? **

Image from Timeout / First Thursdays site

1) Private View and after party: Wednesday 1 December 18:00hrs – 02 December at 01:00. Printnomenon, group. Exhibition at Oblong: 69A Southgate Road, Nondon N1 3JS. After party at Haggerston: 438 Kingsland Road, Nondon E8 4AA **APART FROM THE OPENING, DO COME BY TO THE XMAS EVENTS ON 17 DECEMBER 18:00-21:00hrs, and 18 DECEMBER 12:00-18:00hrs! **

Facebook friends Mathew Humphrey – an Aries- and Kaidie Nondon – a Sagittarius– collaborate for the first time in this Christmas show. Wearing a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, Kaidie,  a semi-fictional figure trans-dimensional runner, runs (on a bloody cold November Monday morning at 6am) along the shopping streets of Nondon, tracing the constellation shapes of the Aries and Sagittarius over the existing grid. The work explore the tensions between: a sense of dreaminess and vastness associated with constellations versus the dense urban grid that Kaidie runs in real life; the ‘high-tech’ and contemporary (GPS) versus the timeless (celestial space); the digital (GPS) versus the analogue (printmaking process); this world (where we are) versus (views from) other worlds (such as celestial space); fictions and near fictions (Kaidie and astrology) versus the non-fictional (astronomy, for instance), real life (running in London) versus otherwise (how Mathew and Kaidie had only ‘met’ on the evil social networking site prior to this collaboration), as well as the end-of-the-year Christmas excess of nostlagia versus spending splurge on the high streets of London.

2) Performance: Saturday 3 December 11:30hrs-12:30hrs. Part of the Sexuate Subjects Conference 2-4 December.

We are putting up a short ‘live’ performance at Sexuate Subjects: Politics, Poetics and Ethics, held at the University College Nondon. This conference brings together high-profile speakers from all over the world, to response to feminist Luce Irigaray‘s ideas. There is an entry fee to participate in this conference – to register please look here.

There you go. Hope to see you– soon(er) or later.

By hook or by crook.

One way or another.

This way or that.

Every now and then.

Here or there.

Online or off.

This year or the next.

This life, or the next.

Till then.

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FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF WALID RAAD / THE ATLAS GROUP at the Whitechapel Gallery!

Place: Nondon. Date: 2 November 2010. Time: from 13:00hr GMT. Starting point/point of departure: Central Nondon. Loop point: Whitechapel Art Gallery. What for: To see Walid Raad's show. Route: via the City. How was it, then: Crowded. Nice Gherkin you've got. Pet peeves: 1) Shoveling past people dangling cigarettes in their fingers. 2) Women/very large people who walk slowly but occupying entire pavements 3) Women/'girls' (sic) who are in a large group but walking very slowly or giggling and chatting away in the middle of the pavement believing that they look cute and are drawing attention - indeed, from an angry runner 4) Children/babies/prams with young parents with same level of entitlement as the chatty women and fat bastards who block entire pavements and roads, as if they are the first people on earth who have given birth and hence demand special treatment and that the rest of the world have been created from playdoh. We don't blame the kids but we blame their smugly parents. GET OUT OF OUR £k*fING FACE!!!! Attire: Short-sleeved T-shirt and shorts. Temperature: 14 degrees celsius (sweaty run). Smell: Not So Terribly Good for an art gallery (or elsewhere). Quality of outward-bound run: Painful now with not one, but BOTH legs with shin splints. Could not get a comfortable gait. At least our limp is balanced now. Run back was easier and even sweatier.

On 2 November, we awoke from a 12-hour sleep (after none the previous night) to run through the City to the Whitechapel Gallery. There are many, many artists we admire (Chris Marker, Marc Chagall, AES+F, Tarkovsky, Fernando Pessoa et al). Walid Raad/Atlas Group is one of these people whose footsteps we (attempt to) follow. In a previous life we had the privilege of experiencing his performance-lecture in a workshop we attended. Already conflating fact with fiction, objectivity with subjectivity, history with memory, ‘official’ grand narratives with micronarrative in our own work, and already familiar with the genres of the essay film, performance as practitioner, lecturer and sometime writer, Raad’s performance-lecture made an impact.

At this Whitechapel show, Raad’s appropriation of museum aesthetics in a trademark clinical austerity in his approach is chillingly disturbing as it is dead funny. We particularly love the small model of a gallery which contains tiny precise replica of his work.

We realised that there was another source of chilliness, and that came from our exposed legs. Another observation: except for primary school kids, not many other gallery-goers wear shorts. Was that why we received some interesting looks from the gallery-sitters, as we did when we visited the Wolfgang Tillmans show after a 30km run in Hyde Park? Will spandex and leg warmers have saved us from the faux pas (if it was indeed one), and also help us look ‘tuned in’ onto the retro ’80s look (or at the very least, an artistically clever and ironic wink/nod, that the artistically clever and ironic art world would approve of)? As usual, suggestions and advice welcome.

The above is the GPS track of our run to the gallery and back, totaling about 8.9km. For a detailed version of this and other GPS tracks of ours in Life 1.0, look here.

Anyhow. Go run with Walid Raad. He’s not bad at all.

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No offence to all you lovely trans-dimensional running companions – virtual and real – of ours, but WE’VE DEVELOPED A FATAL ATTRACTION TO THOSE RUNNING BUDDIES WHO HAVE DROPPED DEAD, GORGEOUS.

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THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING AND HENRY DARGER (many thanks to JO & ROB for this wonderful recommendation!)

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

At Jo and Roy’s recommendation, I visited the Museum of Everything last Sunday. (DO GET YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS POURING IN! I will take them up and report back!! This blog entry is proof!) I walked to and from the museum (about 7km) at a temperature not fit for humans. Fortunately I was a hamster then (and now). Unfortunately, my little hands/feet (call them what you will – ok, limbs) could not have a good grip of the icy ground, so I slipped and landed on my ass. In Life 3.0, being the smart ass that I am, I turned my accident into a positive experience, and instead of trying to stand up and confront the chuckling spectators, I rolled myself on the ground, all the way to the Museum at Sharples Hall Street, which is right next to Primprose Hill.

Museum3

Sharples Hall Street

How glad I am to have visited. I quite like the show (though I must say that I find the term ‘Outsider Art’ – which the show has been described as – slightly problematic, the way all forms of ghetto-isation are, and also dangerous, to an extent, for a sort of mythologisation and romanticisation of artists and their processes. This is interesting also especially if the curators of a show are NOT outside but on the contrary, inside inside. Or perhaps this is meant to be an other of those clever contemporary self-reflexive joke?).

Anyways. I like the space, narrow even for me (I have been invariably described as ‘diminutive’ – yes yes, compared to you human beings I am vertically challenged, but please note that while I am a hamster, I am NOT a dwarf hamster – that’s an other breed altogether. Kindly note that I am much taller than them). Being the last day of the show (20 Dec), the place was jam-packed. What a surprise. A very tall (nearly 200cm) young man with very arresting green eyes tells me that the space used to be a dairy. The way the artworks are arranged is quite clever, efficient and intimate. For the uninitiated (like this writer for instance), this might have even appeared to be a show by a single artist. Which goes to show, either that the selection of artists/artworks is a result of their similar aesthetic approaches, or that the curators have done a good job in unifying the entire show in a sharp and coherent manner, or both.

My favourite, favourite is Henry Darger. I stared for some time at his large superwidescreen drawings of toddlers in what looks like edens. There is as much violence as there is beauty, transience as there is timelessness, comehither -ness as there is repugnance and repulsion. The drawings are highly restrained as they are too much.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on  09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on 09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

This concoction of emotions is rather powerful. I quickly travel back in time and cycle through my bank of memory and knowledge, and immediately many names, images and sounds jump up for my attention: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Chagall, El Greco, Elsie Beckmann and Hans Beckert/Peter Lorre in Lang’s M, Chapman Brothers, the muse of Lewis Carroll and imaginations of Nabokov, AES+F’s Last Riot, and of course, the Great Pretender Takashi Murakami and his faux naif approach. I also recall that I had felt this surge of feelings only a few times before in my previous life: when I saw Boltanski’s solo exhibition in France, a Mark Rothko painting in Chicago, and Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.

I came back, and tell myself that I must, must go and find out more about Darger.

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4 LAPS AROUND REGENTS FARK: MIND OVER MATTER (IF IT MATTERS AT ALL)

Feeling particularly energetic on the first day of my life, I run 4 laps around Regents Fark. Including the distance to and from my starting point, I run a total of approximately 24km today. This is good for today, and although it is a long way towards even attempting to pay back for the damage I have done and will do, as well as to pay back for my stubborn continual existence in spite of  all this, it is a start, and a continual effort. As we know well, much of what Confucius says is rather dodgy, but the one thing he says about any change starting from oneself makes some sense.

I began running in the final year of my previous life. Prior to that I had been swimming 1.5km daily. I took part in my first half marathon and came in at 2 hours and a bit. As my wish to run my 1st marathon could not be fulfilled in my previous life, I will have to do it this life, by Summer 2010. If it takes me 5 hours, so be it. 8 hours, 10 hours, until the volunteers have all packed up to leave, until the cleaners have cleaned up the last crushed paper cup and runner’s poo on the streets the next morning, that is fine. I will run / walk / crawl / jump / fly / swim. Physical pain I can battle – the only thing I have to fight now is boredom. Being so young, my attention span is awfully short. I struggle to stay focused in any single activity for a stretch of several minutes, much less several hours (or years, or lifetimes). I think of 5 other things as I do one thing; linear events exhaust and bore me, as I already imagine travelling to 6 other places in 7 other directions. (That was how I got tired of my previous life, as it was going on for a while). (How I look forward to Life 3.0, then, since I am not bound by the trivial constraints of time and space! I will be able to do what I want, when I want, however I want it! More on this later…) Monotony is a weakness, though endurance is my strength. (Afterall, I have managed to endure myself all those years and life cycles). The only things that keep me going when running or swimming long distances is my imagination and willpower. Hopefully, by Summer, I will be older (more than 6 months old) and will have cultivated enough patience to not feel bored too quickly.

DO YOU KNOW OF ANY UPCOMING RACES? DO LET KAIDIE KNOW! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU ARE RUNNING?

Running today at Regents Fark, 2 runners smile at me – huge smiles. I get suspicious and wonder if it is my unbecoming running gait that so amuses them – afterall I am a newborn and my movement remains awkward – but one of the cops carrying a large toy gun at Binfield House and another passerby both shout hello. On my way home, another says ‘Go! Go! Go!’ and sticks out his hand to make me slap it as I passed by. Although I have run in several cities in my previous life, this friendliness is rather refreshing (a couple of the few fellow runners I encountered in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Beppu in Papan did nod at me; people in Spore primarily stare disapprovingly at my folly of running under the hot sun as they sit fat in their air-conditioned cars in their air-conditioned carnation; in Oxford in Yengland some dogs looked like they were smiling, or perhaps those were their default teeth-&-tongue-revealing faces which do not necessarily translate as the human equivalent of smiling?).

WHY ON EARTH ARE OTHER RUNNERS AND PEOPLE AND ANIMALS SMILING AT KAIDIE? DO YOU THINK KAIDIE SHOULD SMILE BACK ? WHAT KIND OF SMILE SHOULD SHE ATTEMPT? SHOULD KAIDIE INITIATE SMILES? HOW MANY TIMES IN, SAY, A 10km RUN SHOULD KAIDIE ATTEMPT TO SMILE? LIKE AN AVERAGE OF 1 SMILE PER 100m? PER 1000m? WHAT ABOUT WHEN SHE IS RUNNING ON THE TREADMILL IN THE GYM?

Camus concludes that Sisyphus must be happy  – good for him, and him, but let me tell you, my dear reader, that the 1st 3km of any long run is always the most dreaded. As I run I protest/resist/fight/struggle and say, NO, I do not want to do this, this bloody hurts / this is no fun / I’d rather spend £4.50 to swim at the Union pool / I’d rather spend 45p to pay another version of myself doing this / I’d rather sit on my buttocks and do nothing and get furious for sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing and sitting on my buttocks and for doing nothing but getting angry while sitting on my buttocks / I’d rather get greasy and let the calories choke my bloodstream and expire before the 1000-day duration / I rather slurp my own poo (with syrup) several litres over until I am flooded and I drown in, than to put one feet in front of the other, why do I have to do this of all people of this and other worlds / realities, why do I have to do this now of all my lifetimes. I have about 34,000 excuses that I come up with, looped, each and every time. Then after 3 km, I give up protesting as it gets boringly predictable as a broken record or a dislocated kaidie for that matter. Can’t go on, must go on, since there is no other options. So I go on. In the numbing repetitive motion, something else happens physically/psychologically. I begin to enjoy the groove and rhythm (never mind my beastly gait). I am there, much aware of my surroundings, and at the same time I am travelling elsewhere, as lucid as I am slightly intoxicated, somewhere that no one else is, where no one can touch me, where I am very much alone, feeling strong/alert/erect as much as I am unclenched/dreamy/soft where I am not fighting anymore, and am calm, at peace. So I push on. And on. My mind thinks of no thing, and it is aware that it is thinking of no thing. I remember getting there sometimes with my 1.5km swims in my previous life. It’s rather nice – and what’s nicer is the knowledge that it’s all MINE! Kaidie as a 3rd Lifer is a fabulous person and all that but she is also selfish when it comes to pleasure. Sorry!

Today is particularly interesting. At the 24th km, I not only feel calm, but happy. It is nice to feel happy. Then, I feel a large pair of plastic wings stapled onto my shoulders.

Original composition by PHILIP TAN

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