Dana DeGiulio_Small text for Biraaj Dodiya @ backyard ghost

written and delivered 19 December 2020
to start conversation with Biraaj + Annette Hur

*
work i love i think about you doing it and i wish you didn’t have to

for any object the question is What happened

why are there gloves on a 2x4’
(possible answers: there are no hands to protect, the hands that put the gloves have their own gloves or they don’t need them or don’t need them anymore, the 2x4s are trying to hide that they don’t have fingers and instead show this by not filling up the space where the thumbs should be, something is missing, there is too much; they are drying out)
the other possible questions are Who did this,
or How could you, and How could you is rhetorical + you’re lonely enough with it already,
with this ruthless sympathy,
it doesn’t hurt as much if you’re good at it

the gag was being unable to gauge how much danger Buster Keaton was actually in, the pulleys and clamps and springs having been set by experts in advance, a two-ton prop house falling, just a facade, flat.
safe spot clearly marked so he could do it again. take after take.

it’s romantic to think you dragged these out a mine you were trapped in for weeks, the record of some danger resolved into an almost-picture, an almost-joke. little pinprick of light, either small or far, probably both, depending on how deep, but it doesn’t matter because it’s work. you did this at work.
and
to ask what is the work of the work is not my business, unless you say so

because we aren’t with these,
we can’t gauge enough to see if we should open our arms or recoil a little
both
they want us to so because they are not images and i think part of the longing is just how far.
we have to try to speak them a little closer to everyone:
the big ones are the size of a queen-sized mattress
the little ones you could fit your head into, or a bed from far
i haven’t seen these but i saw some of it all last year here in New York
and what’s changed except for the entire ground on which we figure
they feel like they smell,
like sex or sleep or grief or boredom,
used like that
not used up
there’s another take and they feel more like tools than props,
to take apart i think,
substitutes,
but only as a gag, a joke about impossibility, a blanket, always partial, to haul over the hole to keep the conditions constant at one prick of light
they’re tasks. they feel like tasks.

further:
mud dries into dirt. you want to try to wash these off, to get more light in but dark is what they are and dark is relative and uninflected except in it you know by touching, and i’ve tried in my mind to scrub at these to see them better but they just shine because they’re already clean
and this is it and take after take it keeps on beginning

Buster Keaton had his neck broken when a torrent of water fell on him in the water-tower scene in Sherlock Jr. but he didn’t realize it until years later.
Water broke his neck.

so i guess the questions Biraaj are where are you?
is it working?

A Panel Talk: Biraaj Dodiya 'Aimless Desires' with Dana Degiulio and Annette Hur