Belonging to Matter, A Matter of Belonging
1 HOUSE (hammertime)
Eloise Sweetman

We find ourselves in front of a room within a house of wood and concrete. As we breach the threshold, we enter into a quickly deteriorating moment. It is a moment that we must hold on to, as it is where they break into life, and then into pieces. Moving further into the room, our attention is drawn to an open window, where a continuous process of transposition and wreckage comes up to greet us.

From here, we notice them standing beside a Poplar tree under a vast sky discussing a scheme. Their amusement floats faintly to us on an unusually warm autumn breeze. Temporality and physicality are there, securely entwined, whilst they scribble notes of poetry and organization. Seeing that our presence in this extracted interval has been left unnoticed, neither of them provides us clarification. We can only interpret the unfolding scene with tools acquired from previous experiences. Exacting their plan they should have themselves covered, but from the window we can see naivety is among them, playing its part well. There is a brief nod of the head, suggesting that it is time to put their game into action.

The site is a hub of activity, of solidarity, pulling together with just as much force as the transparent barriers of accessibility. We can hear their deep and laboured efforts to keep up, and to catch a breath as the game progresses. Making use of the tree, they set-up a simple hoist system, from which each component swings cautiously to where it needs to be. All slotted in neatly, cared for, and completely understood. They are examined and navigated by the curious hands controlled by skilful eyes. It appears they have done this before. An unending choreographic score of assigning, detaching, opening, locking, pulled up and carried down, shifted left and cut right.

Now and then, they turn their sweaty faces upwards to a darkening sky. One of them carefully positions concrete blocks into a formation. The other whilst studying something, which is obscured from our vantage point, trips over a pile of wooden pieces. There is a gradual build. Propulsion married with an unending anticipation. All thoughts, sentiments, and actions are suspended in the air. Reaching their temporary destination the pieces scatter across the ground. A miniature success in the search for a seamless way of collapsing. There is little time for celebration as the first drops of rain begin to fall. Their unassembled structure pushes them down into the fresh mud; they try frantically to get inside as the rain begins to pour. Absurdity follows behind them, cradling a lost Starling in its hands. It appears as quickly as a name disconnects itself from its owner. Description no longer fits action, once friends; they are now strangers passing each other. The unreasonable is now conceivable within the triangulation of given points of sky and earth.

They resume; as the rain drips from a crack in the ceiling it becomes their metronome. Their muscles stretch, limiting their reach, so they shuffle the pieces around the room. The orchestration belongs to matter, and within it a careful composition of consequence exists. Solid, completed, neatly stacked, broken open. We cannot be certain about how they feel when they work; their motions are staged and calculated, harmonizing with their expressions. And yet, there is an atmosphere that is forming around them, wholehearted in the clean lines and the details. Patterns are starting to reveal themselves in the game: forceful acts of tenderness. We see it in their hands.

One of them drops a hammer, exhausted. The sound rings out and stays nestled in our ears. Adding to the cloud of dust, their laughter blends with the reverberating clang, which they let settle on to the ground. With their hands free, their arms float weightlessly upwards as if aerials, waiting to hear what is ahead for them. They allow themselves a moment to tune in. Floating back to them to report what they have overheard, their hands take charge and get back to work.

As they do, we grasp onto something long forgotten. We have experienced this before, not quite numb, but a tingling that moves from the hands and into the body. Looking at our palms we find that we are holding tightly to blue-purple tenderness. A brightly coloured injury that somehow was neglected. We think back to when we too were once composed of light, just after the expenditure of great effort.

Amongst the throng, we can see how their work has taken shape. There is a way of easily getting in and out, an aperture for the sun, and a bowl for a little fish. Protected from the outer-limits, they have enough room to sit as long they embrace themselves. They will be kept warm and dry. For the time being, the structure is grounded, a box-like stronghold with even attachments jutting out either side of the body. A place shielded from the storm, sheltering a brittle enclosure that fluctuates amid solitude and society. That, in the future, amongst the clouds will be hidden for all to see. They step in and sit inside their configuration. From where we are situated, one of them sings a song that reveals a visible gateway into a world within another. Then they lapse to silence.

No longer are there utterances; the lyric of their song is fading, leaving us with only an echo of their intimate unknown language. The disintegration of time is located in the trunk of the tree, concrete blocks, and converted shelving system. Unsure what to do, we shift our gaze to the ground, where lies a traveller’s checklist. Scrawled at the top stands the word “jigsaw”. A modest game for two, together when they are held inside their enclosure, they will contemplate only the pieces at hand.

One day, there will be a rupture in nature, inside this simulated scientific spectacle when potential parts ways with kinetic. They will find another moment, the median point where ache bleeds into relief. Its after-effects will be felt through the body at the instant of disappearing: a matter of belonging within the rise and fall. When this happens, we will be there to be a part of the moment of closure, of descent, of coming back to the foundation, and we will meet them again back at the beginning.

Eloise Sweetman, December 2013