There was the idea of so much to do in New York if you felt compelled to. It was after work one day that he dropped it, elated with his colleague and the carelessness of summer, he dropped it at the entrance to the subway. This shatter across the top right corner of the back fractured the apple into six parts, avoiding the camera by about 4 millimetres. Like a horror film, this instant fracture, the slab shocked to a net of glimmering sense, impossible to say how many pieces.
As for the order under which we lived, everyone knew what it was: Empire staring you in the face. Little fires of excitement laced with the crush of melancholy. The city all frills, all ferocity. Among its solemn storefronts, and desiccated litters, he swiped up to the first image on his 6S: a portrait of a man with a shaved head and cumbersome shoulders. He is thumb-like: cuboid, faintly bovine, and set against crumpled cyan bedding. A Vilhelm Hammershøi print hangs above his shoulder: a room with a wooden dresser, a small dark frame with a greying contents – nothing in particular – a woman sat upon a white chair with her back turned, distracted; beyond, a shady, chimerical space and further still, a lucent chamber with a door ajar, soft light coming through a window, a white nothingness.
Obviously, at the time, his nose was the first thing he noticed. Only later would he discover a bracingly clear, bare-boned economy to the man’s life. Lived minimalisms and tough passions. Hand on wood. Hand on ass. No mistake about his hands. He remembered something straight about his movements, cultivated like perfect table manners, the fold of a napkin, a well-bred protestant distance that settled beneath his seductiveness. His pearlescent eyes maintained that anticipatory tension: when what you learn can explode. Shaved Head had studied the romance of the Mediterranean, but everything that he saw of him spelled out Lake Michigan and not the Adriatic. Watching him was like tracking the chequered movements of class and self, the way they tessellate and interpenetrate each other in this activity we call the body. In light of his portrait, two sensations pronounced themselves: vertigo and thirst.
The sky reduced to a final glow across the atmosphere. Buildings absorb this hyperborean light that flattens against the street like a patina of dust, turning the black pavement blue. Walking 14th Street, doormen laze in the their thresholds. He flicks to another portrait, this beautiful redhead. Soft, warm, amorous, smooth and calm like the handsome motion of suede. His arm is like a perfectly smooth balustrade. In the bars they watched eachother in, the feeling of imperishable sunset. He was attractive to him, he and his friends, these particular life forms. Rummaging through their effects, things they carry on their person: silly key-chains, Xeroxes of books, stale cereal bars, special literatures wrapped in paper. Their impressions of saggy clothes formed them sexy and shank-like, one identity over and gone with only a provisional reminder to replace it. They are like literature come to life, resembling it more than the human. Pissing literatures. Bathing literatures. Together, they were people without ideals.
But the phone gets it wrong. Images are geotagged, but dated: 16 January 1970. It sounds mundane, this ‘1970’; as ergonomic shoes or bathroom taps or an embrace of normality, which may be both spiteful and soothing. This 1970, the phone’s inaugural state.
From the Notes app:
16 July, 2015, 14:11 – Drone, Hp ProLiant DL140, Projected chair melting to liquid, Diffusers Vivarium, Oxidise, Sunlite Polycarbonate sheets, Extends to the desk office, Blown-glass, Window panes change.
14 June, 2014, 13:22 – Sodalite Hippo
21 August, 2015, 16:38 – A critical practice needs a normative practice to run counter to, Boris Groys – check slenderizing is a word
24 December, 2015, 17:07 – Fantasia, Tron 80s
3 September, 2014, 00:31 – Mosque of Cordoba, Al-Andalus, Alhambra, Escorial, El Greco
4 November, 2016, 11:27 – gentrification, like porn, know it when u see it. Verbs: displacement, fragmentation, appropriation.
Also in Notes:
Confront phantasm (when you can only see the world through metaphor). Inlaid pine or Imperial china: authenticity, what customers really want. Lurex, drusy quartz, mesh-mix, when excess is taste – what I really want. Contemporaneity as extemporaneity – conceptualizing other types of time, not as progression but as suspension
Screen shots, locked screen:
03.27 Saturday, 8 November. E. now: Flag. Miss you mango. Slide to reply.
21.07. Wednesday, 12 February. A. 2 m. ago: Can we maybe have a bath tomorrow. Slide to reply.
One shows a cropped shoe position on the subway, caption: Western hysteria position (left), instructions on how to maintain a plant, another shoe, Seductress in flats, then a grey screen with a magnifying glass: ‘No results for “anthroposcene”’.
He receives this message every day: Your iCloud has not been backed up for 28 weeks. Shortly followed by: Your iCloud could not be backed up. He receives this message every day: Software Update, iOS 10.1.1. is available for your iPhone and is ready to install. Install Now. Later. Details. He taps, every time, for Later. iOS 10.1.1 can update automatically between 01:00 – 05:00 while connected to power. Remind me later. Settings. From settings to general to software update, install now, it flashes to his app selection: nothing. There is not enough storage. Please log in - something like having to buy more storage space in the cloud, about the cloud being too full. The phone is never too full, its gigabyte are an abyss of text messages, the endless scroll of years: university and tireless crits, his old house and the chandelier that fell out, six assorted Swarovski crystals, other things more than six—friends, hairstyles—other things innumerable, convoluted and continuous, clogged up inside this device. It never fills up, but the cloud is packed and heavy, not so much like a cloud as it is like too many groceries to carry.
Navigating this weight so effortlessly makes the history feel phony upon reflection. 6S is a supplement to him, though it frames him. Like a colonnade to a building, a plinth to a sculpture, or the swirl to the vertical, it distinguishes the contents but does not enforce itself as much in- itself. Rather, it constitutes the definition of inside and outside even though it has a thickness. His ignorance to its artifice affords its display a kind of magic. As with the city, it is an everyday group hallucination.
Sweet gloom. Dropped chains. 6S anomalous. Control, in this is case a template, organizes and sublimates him in grids. But as the archivist, he declares his borders, his profile. Sumptuous is the material that makes up his erasure, something devilish in the tincture of mediocrity not worth exposing, not even for irony. Shame and tedium; life can lack variety. Naturally, nudes remain as a case of, you never know. To reflect on this is to reckon with anxieties and masochist disciplines, it is to examine a self one has indexed. Considering the making of this archive contends with its unmaking. The laces pulled, the bow undone. Self delivered to burlesque treatments. The urge to unhinge the techniques of himself, to confront his persuasions; the loss within definition and the depth of the cloud, left thinking in general: too much to carry.