The Art Site

Monday, April 26, 2010


This is something I wrote last term, while sitting at a desk in the Uni library, looking out at the view. Looking at views invariably takes my mind off the practical and everyday, and plunges me into gynocentrism. Some of it is what I saw, some of it is distorted. Distortion and creativity are synonymous.


Sixth floor of the University library. There's a line of us students, sitting on chairs with desks, 70s variety, lined up by the windows. This room is ugly, with its yellow-brown carpet, glaring yellow bookshelves, purple columns and fading yellow window frames. The windows look as though they have never been opened and the long window openers hang dejectedly down, still fastened to their hooks. Paint is peeling from the frames, flakes lie on the ledge, undersides faded yellow, upturned sides white. The glass has splashes of dried-up matter on them - not cleaned, as students are meant to see their books, not their surroundings.

These windows look onto the brown, gray and cream-coloured buildings, oblongs that sit solidly on the concrete bellow, full of windows like eyes and more study spaces for more students. Remnants of old fashion, they are like imprints of another age, so immovable and entrenched, reminders of an ephemeral past.
Now their stained walls and roofs collect dove droppings, and their rooms, bare and spartan as ever, are the subsidiaries of mindless students.

Beyond the buildings is an expanse of trees that stretch out in varying shades of verdure to the gray hills.
Down the long stretch of desks I observe the students working. I feel no connection with them, although I am just like them. A man, black-haired, resting his arms on the desk and reading, serious, inscrutable expression. There is no aura of self-awareness encompassing him, his eyes and his mind are fixed in the realm of the book he reads. Two girls, heads tilted to one side like birds, hair - straightened more than Nature allows for - falling to the other side of their up-turned faces. One girl, sitting apart from the others strikes me as different.

If it were not for her attitude perhaps she would have passed with the rest. Her hands, ordinairy, pink, nail-bitten, rest loosely together on the desk in front of her, her shoulders slightly hunched with knotty tension as she leans back into her chair. A stack of books and papers lie untidily on the desk, as though she pushed them roughly to the side so that she could contemplate the view with slitted, black-fringed eyes.
The slanted, questioning eyebrows, brown, are pulled slightly together - the by-product of puzzling something out, or trying to sift through an idea, perhaps.

The intensity of her gaze - piercing, unblinking - directed beyond the University buildings suggests that her mind is not turning over her studies, in fact it seems more likely that she is exploring metaphysics. And like me, writing this down, her brooding thoughts were implanted by the view.


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