Table of Con­tents | Arti­cle doi: 10.17742/IMAGE.SA.12.1.3 | PDF

This image is neither decorative nor strictly available for simple denotative description. Our project rejects captions altogether. The spirit of this project is very much one of uncertainty and imagination. We hope that anyone with visual impairments will glean information from the written compositions.

No game to play here, in the pushed back sleeves and wet hands of wash­ing walls. Squares of black space, they appear, only the shape­less hap­pen­ings of repet­i­tive labour. Cam­eras record with a know­ing assump­tion. They see hands and a wall.

The wash­ing con­tin­ues, up and down. Breath­ing with pres­sure flared nos­trils, up and down. How loud it is to be watched. I backed up, with a pho­to. Backed up again, with a flash.

A dark wet square dry­ing slow­ly, slow­er still was the water drip­ping off my elbow. Pack­ing up: zip­per, soap bot­tle, rag. Quick actions. Damp cement dis­ap­peared. The wall left with a phan­tas­mal stain, a pud­dle of grime rest­ing at the near­est cor­ner. The water kept mov­ing, find­ing hid­den slopes that lead down, pool­ing and expanding—chanting the same against the ground as I had with the wall: faster and faster still.

* * *

ANTICIPATING is a ner­vous and excit­ing thresh­old. An action, a feel­ing, a space to occu­py that with­holds patience while ask­ing for time. Struc­tures of Antic­i­pa­tion became this tran­sient space. A work­shop built for rein­ter­pre­ta­tion; ask­ing par­tic­i­pants to embody research and inter­ro­ga­tion, to mar­ry process with con­struct­ing quickly.

My process was in wash­ing, wip­ing down walls to cre­ate a square thresh­old, a mark­ing (also unmarked) in its anony­mous pres­ence. Hop­ing to mim­ic the nar­ra­tive lan­guage of graf­fi­ti, the way walls learned to scream pro­fan­i­ty, mir­ror pee­ing youths and embrace sym­bols or images of oth­er­ing. The mean graf­fi­ti, the cru­el stuff. I found the work (the act of antic­i­pa­tion) in the process of inter­act­ing with the wall, in the washed shapes. Doing the math but show­ing the work, the work being that sat­is­fy­ing surprise.

Was this the actu­al strength of graf­fi­ti? There must’ve been some­thing more to turn­ing sen­ti­ment into a pub­lic bill­board or sign. The act of “putting it up” and “putting it there,” a note to be seen or read, a stranger in the back­ground of the every­day. Alike to the cam­eras that watched me washing—the action of it feel­ing odd was enough. To sneak down a back alley (or park­ing garage) and wipe the walls clean … the only mate­r­i­al com­ing loose was dirt and city smog. Stand­ing there, scrub­bing, oth­er­ing myself while chang­ing the wall (if only tem­porar­i­ly) as the water dried.

Per­haps the dis­tort­ed nar­ra­tives of graf­fi­ti (on graf­fi­ti, over­lap­ping graf­fi­ti) is the rela­tion­ship between what can and can­not be seen; anoth­er space of antic­i­pa­tion that threads itself between what was left and who left it there. My shapes fad­ed, the pho­tographs only a last­ing impres­sion. I felt glad that some marks can disappear.