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spacer Talking to Tania
Dialogue 1
Day 1 02.08.04
Day 2 03.08.04
Day 3 04.08.04
Day 4 05.08.04
Day 5 06.08.04
Day 6 08.08.04
Dialogue 2
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 4
Dialogue 5
Dialogue 6
Dialogue 7
spacerarrow Dialogue 8
spacerarrow Dialogue 9
spacerarrow Dialogue 10
spacerarrow Dialogue 11
spacerarrow Dialogue 12

painting white on white
Sandals and seeds

Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 1
Day 4 • Thursday 5 August 2004 • Skyros, Greece

RL Sandals and seeds

TK Extra virgin olive oil

RL And a ponytail hair-piece

TK Horse hair. And you with your notebook?

RL Notebook and camera, going between the two and the situation.

TK Two

RL Side by side, some shade. Sounds insignificant now.

TK Good

RL Won’t go back

TK Time and place

RL Midday between two shops

TK Wasn’t asking, commenting


TK So?

RL It was enough, more than

TK Got going?

RL Packets of veg seeds. One hairpiece. Sandals, hanging vertical. Olympic Games sandals, international sandals. Lettuce seeds. Ponytail like one that fell from dancer on Tuesday, mother blamed.

I’m in the supermarket side street. Why here? No memory.

TK Sitting thoughts


Body language

Doorway territory
RL That’s it. Where women sat yesterday. Man walks past, looks at me, about my age, similar clothes, Greek version, loping stride, arms swing wide. Is he me? Am I visible? He looked at me.

I imitate him. Am I performing? Am I him? International body language. People not knowing me see his walk as mine.

Standing with camera and notebook is enough today. Taking a position. Receptivity. Enough because it feels enough.

TK In or out?

RL Coming to that. More on sitting. Some of these low walls and sills are decked out. Striped rugs, frappes, ashtrays, claimed spaces.

TK Not a seat for an older woman

RL They prefer a neutral space. So do I. At the corner, some shade, long low curved wall, no rugs, people already there, bikes parked. Vehicles slow right down to turn the steep bend. They look out as they turn, mostly, bikers too, driving and coming out.

TK Is this so unusual?

RL It feels it. They come out of their window shell. It’s all very tight, some risk, slow, steep incline.

TK You sound different.

RL Maybe. Something happened in this spot. Fragmentation and complexity. Nothing. And more than before.

TK Anything to do with the moped?

RL Yes and no. Maybe. More to do with how we talked about it. How you got me out of it.

TK Don’t give me all the credit.

RL The in and out.

TK So you were exploring sitting not standing, and something happened?

RL Yes

TK You sat

RL I sat

TK On the corner?

RL Right where I described

TK Were you working?

RL Yes and no. I was merging and working. Which started with the man who was me.

TK You merged with him.

RL Then with everyone else. If no-one knows my body language, then I can be not me with them and not perform. In and out, but not. It became a transitory space and state.

TK Are you ok?

RL Yes. This was my high point of the week with our project.

TK Just checking. Was it the caffeine?

RL It helped. This felt like a culmination. Gradually, starting as nothing, became everything.

TK Give me an example. Go into detail.


Eye contact

Burning rubber

Donkey contact

Wall with no owner

Wall painted

Frappé sounds

RL I’ve given you the background. I wrote notes as it happened. Since the petrol station writing has become part of it. I wrote: “not in or out today, nether-ing – eye contact as the vehicles turn the corner – every interaction is an opportunity for action – even if they don’t know me.”

TK I need to picture it. I got the seeds and sandals ok.

RL I’m sitting at the corner, with a frappe in a cardboard container, straw and plastic lid and a 0.5l bottle of water. This is a place where locals sit, either for shade or to wait for people or a taxi, or to hang out. I’m merging somewhat. ‘Working’ is not the word for this.

Have the notebook and DV camera beside me, at hand. I swing my legs now and again. I make eye contact with drivers as they slow down. One car has trouble at the incline. It stalls repeatedly. She stalls it. I look away. She gets it going, revs like crazy, gone. Smell of burning rubber. I look down and it’s there, black liquid drops in the road. She made a mark. It left a mark. I noticed it. I saw it happen. I smelt it. I filmed it. I’m part of it.

I now smile at drivers as they turn the corner. Sometimes I nod at them, in a gesture developed on the moped yesterday. I let the machismo back in. I engage with these guys on bikes and behind wheels. I connect with them through my own stance and body language, the guys I normally shut out. I can do it. I want to do it. Of course.

TK Because you’re in and out of it at the same time?

RL Yes

TK Did it peak?

RL There is a peak memory, but, as a state, it was around all day, still is.

Having lunch in the Plateia with Debbie I was so in it still it was hard to sit there. By the evening with Peter, Ben and Philippa it was in the background, but always there to be called on. The taverna was crowded and as we entered the arena I felt my body language expand amongst these strangers as I glided and gazed. I took them on. And no-one noticed.

TK Sure?

RL Maybe they did. Morgan seemed to notice earlier as three of us began a long slow snorkel. Hadn’t met him before and he glanced sidelong at me, edgily, choosing not to swim with us. I expressed myself to three varieties of passing fish through elaborate gesture. They appeared to respond. I looked at the donkey. The donkey looked at me. Was I standing still or in the other place? We improvised on a hand to ear kind of thing, his ears, my hands. During siesta I went ahead and painted another wall white, with the renewed vigour of a full-size brush. This neglected wall in a key position may have no owner. A lot of work to be done. Highlighting one surface of this multi-dimensional shape drew memories of the Kultur Wall [2001].

TK The peak memory? Was this at the corner?

RL It sounds ridiculous, Tania.

TK Good

RL It had to do with the frappe container.

TK Yes?

RL I started making a scraping sound where the straw gripped the hole in the lid. It was quite loud. I improvised. Kept going. Filmed it. Looked out as I did it. Kept up the eye contact with drivers. And the body language. Kept taking it all in and giving something out. And this was nothing. No more than you’d do in a pub.

TK But?

RL But it felt so complete, so multi-sensory, so in and out at the same time, as much about how I sat, where I sat, how I looked, where I looked, how I felt, my relationship to camera and text, as it was about the foregrounding of this over-arching, irritating, but highly aesthetic scraping sound.

TK I think you could go further.

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