Carlos Cipa The Monarch and the Viceroy

Wed 19th December 2012


/incoming/vice.jpgIt is a grey morning, light coming in between the clouds, down through the window to push the shadows into the corners. The light, being as it is on this grey day, makes the scene monochromatic.

You wake into this, rise and look about with uncertainty, letting those moments of not knowing who you are or where you are linger. They pass and you go to the kitchen, look from the window at leaves rushing around in spirals in the garden, the branches they fell from increasingly bare.

Maybe you’re in a French arthouse film, you think. You could wash, cut yourself whilst shaving, then walk the road into town with the blood bright and drying on your chin. People would not look at you any different. You’d drink coffee and eat some kind of pastry on a lopsided metal table outside a café, the rain still drying on the slabs of concrete that make up the pavement, making those patterns like unnamed landmasses as it fades.

Birds swoop in frantic groups above, fluttering against the wind, trying for migration. In the distance children laugh and play in a park, throwing bunches of leaves in the air. But there’s something not quite right. It is not perfect enough, you decide. There’s a point where it dips into cliché and the soundtrack in your ear is too earnest. These changes cannot come so quickly. Scenes are not built to shift in tonality in this way. The spell is broken. You finish your coffee. Something cracks at the peripheries.

But then mood shifts again, towards that continental film. The grain returns, the world desaturating in front of your eyes. Colour loss. Maybe you like it this way. You find it increasingly hard to be sure these days. People in the streets smile and greet each other. It feels like you’re a doppelganger, a fake, or maybe they are. When was the last time strangers greeted each other in the street? On long walks in the wilderness you’d do this out of respect and politeness. But there’s a genuine kindness here. It’s unsettling. Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and that wrong side dropped you into some alternate reality. Or, you’re just having a bad day.

Experience is more complex than the memories by which we recall and define it. You go home and have a dream of the day, and it is more unsettling than the day itself. When you wake again, the next day, you are even more confused and unsettled than you were the day before. You stand in the middle of the room and speak aloud, trying to vocalise it for yourself, but anything you do say does not satisfy or come close to encompassing the things you saw and what you felt for them.

What you say is cinematic, in so much as you use examples from films to relate. You talk in scripted dialogue, and you soundtrack it with music that mostly comes as expected. You try to tell the story but it sounds like every other story, and it hardly ever deviates from template. Is that enough? Minor variations? It does not feel like it, when you reflect again. Trapped in tropes, you experiment little. Is that enough? You cave to expectations, even in the privacy of your own home and your own head. You do the best you can, and you have talent beyond so many. Is that enough?

There are many moments of beauty. Sometimes it is in the capturing of them that they are destroyed. Music, even without words, can capture beauty and lessen it. If your beauty sounds like all the other beauty, if it does not step outside the continuum of piano in a room, is it really all that beautiful? Beautiful but somehow empty, perhaps, emotions contained. You do have your moments though, you realise, and sometimes that is enough.


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