Process video stills: Tera in The Effigy
She leaves the 5th floor of her office building for her lunch break at thirteen hundred and six hours. By thirteen hundred and eight she’s out the cramped elevator scene and moving through a large glass carousel – from a tense cool to an erotic heat.
Now we have her.. careering atop the seering asphalt streets, alongside glossy office facades. She wants banh mi from the trendy fusion cafe, 2 blocks south easterly from her current positon. To do so, while retaining ample chill time with minimal interference from transit time, she must first pass through the vacant lot, that is lodged between 2 high rise buildings. One, an apartment complex, the other, a cluster of more dull office spaces behind buffed and tinted glass panes.
She extends her black leather heel (that houses her right foot) away from the speckled grey slabs of concrete, that form the urban footpath, on to the (slightly lighter) grey sand grains that dwell in the vacant space of the lot. Foot poised – the motion of it cutting through mid air, seems to last an eternity.
And as she steps out… immediately, she is transported. Transported to arid desert lands. Lands littered with little white pebbles and larger, more endearing rocks. Her muscles are at rest and her skin soothed and softening. All the while heating, steadily.
The Cassia nemophilas; a sub species of evergreen shrub from the fabaceae family – that thrive in dry conditions – quiver relentlessly in her presence. There she slides through the scene like jelly.
The air is hot, thick and dense, it wobbles her vision. Closing in on the centre of her iris from her external periphery. Gathering around her body, like gelationous putty and she pushes through it gently, with the motions of a deep sea dancer. Translucent tendrils extending from nearby plant life (melaleuca ellipticas) caress her as she passes, and frill out then split at their tips. Perfect terrain for a hydrozoa variant, for a creature, for a mucous membrane, reeling.
An omnipresent humm breathes through everything in this otherwise silent empty encasing, in the void here, in the vacant lot here.
Her cornea floods over with white light. Pins and needles swoop in from the right. And then suddenly, abruptly, but for touch, there are no senses left to guide her. She reaches out for a solid object to grasp on to, for assurance, for security, for motion relief. Even though her heart rate remains steady and her nerves at ease.
She finds a metallic beam. Spins around it, radially accelerated and rips it square clean from its foundations. She pulls it through the thick putty air toward her upper body – with the pose of a proud weight lifting carney of the 19th century persuasion.
Clasping either end with a firm grip, she pushes them downward into themselves, which produces a bend at the central most part of the beam. The pressure in the bend colliding with external magnetic pressure is enough for it to snap, right there in the centre. Tiny bubbles of air radiate outward from the break itself, swimming on a centrifugal wave pattern of reactional force, that extends through to the outer reaches of the lot.
This creates a rhythmic ebb and flow in the air, she feels it through to her hair follicles that brace dark auburn strands as they sway, like exotic waving sea grasses in amongst it all.
These motions are enough to lift her up off of the ground and propel her foward in a swooping motion. She is her own spirit level now.
With the beam in two separate parts, resting in either hand, she extends her arms outward before her. At an aproximate distance of 320mm apart, she feels the metal of the beams heat up and char her outermost layer of skin, it does not hurt too badly though, so she persists. Still swiftly moving foward.
From within the hollows of the 2 beams, emerge 2 large luminescent annelids (segmented worms). Equipped with the capacity for high and low voltage discharges in their electric organs. These organs are made of electrocytes, lined up so that a current of ions can flow evenly throughout their trunks. They slither erratic.
As they furl out of the ends of the beams – out of their hollow houses – they curl and charge with seemingly sinister intent.
She can feel this shift in the air in and around her and, as an effect, her heart skips a beat.
With a quick lash and whip they crack and coil around her wrists in unison. Synchronistically slithering up her forearms to the bends of her elbows.
She holds her breath. There they stop. She holds her breath. Time falls away like a snake skin suit, as minute particle fibres float over the microscpic grasslands that cover her body. The annelid’s hundreds of chitinous bristles extend outwardly from their bellies, rapidly transitioning into solid wirey forms – cold and metallic.
They puncture right through her dermis like spines, straight to her sensory nerve endings. She emits a short sharp sound akin to a lamb’s bleat as, everything on the rupture path is singed, before a discharge of 5 volts is injected into each nerve. Complete musclular seizure. She’s elevated – suspended there – stark like a Martyr caught unawares.
With the instantaneous sharp sting of a burning bite, she is exposed in violent white. Left confined to the single image of a mote, in clear sight, through new found eyes. A mote steadily careering across the frame. She sees it pitter patter on the rhythm of the airwaves lines.
She’s a celestial spherical entity now – sky high – connected to her physical form only by an intricate network of electric strings alone. Interwoven and patterned geometric. The strings oscillate gently in the silence, emitting a humm out through the void.
There mesmerized, she sees all form disintegrate and scatter through space as powdered clouds roaming. Lightness remains and motion is sustained. All time stands still.
Then she drops. Plummetting 2 metres to the hard rock floor. She braces herself and crashes down in a defense position, just as an itty bitty slater would. Eyes slammed shut, fingers clasped tight around locked ankles, before the thud..
..But the thud never comes. And yet she feels the surface beneath her – a course gravel atop a magnetic earth.
Sinking back into her body again she feels breezes moving over her back and swirling around the spaces ‘tween her limbs contracted. Although it’s a soft gentle touch and the hushes of its whispers are soothing, she can’t quite bring herself to open her eyes again.
So she sits there for a moment longer.. thinking of a distant scene, familiar but unfamiliar simultaneously. Sitting there, she absorbs all the sensations that come along with it.
A nightscape of a large bridge. Spread across a harbour wide. Behind city lights. Scents of damp grass and whiskey infused tobacco float in and out of her range. The set is dressed in moonlight and starry eyes, that perforate a black liquid sky. Filling her with jazz and romance and a cool kind of fire. The tragedy of this excessive existential beauty is enough to snap her out of it.
So she stretches her limbs outwardly in this (for narratives sake) present reality, one by one. Each and every joint cracks on the inside. And with each and every muscle extension she feels an aching pull, as though they’d never been used before. And lastly, she opens her eyes.
And here she is, there, here. Just outside of the vacant lot, at the other side, on a driveway. Staring at a ‘no parking’ sign next to a sunburnt fire hydrant.
The sky is blue, devoid of any clouds with a sun sitting above it all, observing, overseeing , glowing like a god.
The footpath bustles with weekday workers, chaotically wandering, but the remnants of silence from a still pace still linger in and around her.
In the distance she hears a bird call – it sounds like the song of the currawong – wavering.
Gazing down at her forearms, she notices her skin – flawless and glowing in the light of day. But she feels it still. That sensation it maintains, a tingle knowingly fizzinging with a deep sensitivity. She gets up on to her feet and brushes off the grey sand grains from the smooth soft fabric that covers her knees, crease free. At ease.
An old one eyed man comes in from the left. He hobbles from side to side in her direction on a swollen diabetic foot, with the wounds of a staph infection weeping. In his eye he carries the wisdom of one hundred and twelve kings but he needn’t say a thing, so he doesn’t. He just walks by casually, blinking over a hand painted eye.
Here by the sand and the silt.. by the coastal lands and the muds rest the humps, callousing the grasses sharp and the heron bristle rush. It was here under the tea trees that I saw him, Drummondii standing tall above me in his warrior stance.
And as I saw him I heard her say “the serenity of the surroundings have the capacity to amplify ones ability to reconnect and heal.” Words of my very own but… I did not believe her, not her voice nor her tone one bit. Not, at least, until I could expose myself (soul, body and all) to the land spirits en mass. To the great all-knowing ancestors that rest there in the stones that freckle the banks of a body creation. Because here, right now, I am a stranger and I dare not unsettle the sands, nor the waters, nor the air… though by virtue of the fact that I am here, I have been called. I feel it in my bones as they reverberate dancing with the waves within the stones… and it is there that I can feel whole… sit solemn in the circle and behold the untold unfolding in the cavern of my soul.
And we all just keep roaming through these sacred sites, where a mother does gift us with her tranquility and she; the serpent eternal, does gently brush her satin skin atop our heads as she glides over our minute heaving forms. Up and over and down through the lands, carving out grooves for valleys and rivers aplenty. For us to dwell and live and kill and die and continue life.
Bracken and meen
The air is musty. And although I am well aware of the millions of species of poisonous arachnids lurking geographically here in this moment, I know no fear of them. Never have. And there are spiders everywhere. At every turn.
As I step on the soiled fabrics. That dress the rotting leaves. That cover the ground… dirty brown water seeps through the sides of my weathered leather boots. And I know now that no one else could dwell here in this decay, in this branded filth, as it rests in the caverns of winters’ hidden terrestrial pockets. Remnants of a forgotten and illusive time.
My eyes are an eagle and my senses dispersed throughout the atmosphere, I can’t feel my arms any more than I can feel my lungs. There is a hollow sound of traffic that comes at me through the dense stitching of faggots intertwined. So I roll a cigarette as if Grace Slick were my spirit guide… only to fail in a puff – doused in grey skylight – cos it’s packed too tight. And in an act of pure defiance and immediate ever-loving acceptance, the sky starts crying. I see her tears roll down the pierced barks, white spots perforating her screen and I just smash. Rammin’ head first into a head-on collision with the face of this elegant machine as she weeps.
I was away. I had returned. I had gone on to live my usual life as normal, as if nothing had changed, but I soon became aware that my room had transformed into a dank and dark agora. A kind of space set aside for Black Magic or witches gatherings and rituals. There were spider webs all around me, intricately woven and mammoth in size. In a split second it had all became visible. Astonishing fabricated nests of sticks suspended in the middle of the webs, not dissimilar to contemporary outlandish tree houses. Those spiders lurking amongst it all, those spiders… they were my friends. They were everyone I knew. They were the cat. They were the lover, the mother, and you.
The light was dim but I was unsure whether or not night had begun. And I was cautious of something, of everything that was around me. Stillness and stagnation like a wet carpet stench bruised the air.
I was in a hung-over delirium… had drunk ¾ a bottle of gin. Our house was floating on water and was far more elongated than normal, with a whole extra wing included. The hallway extended out to a vanishing point. There was a gathering of new age spiritual seekers/ African mama’s in the far back room which was inaudible to the rest of the house. Over 20 of them gathered there around a mystic woman whose name has escaped me, they were worshipping/channelling Gaia. I was considering shifting rooms to out back there, to make the most of its aural separation… but I couldn’t figure out where all these people had come from, it seemed they had been climbing in and using our unused space as a gathering place without our knowing for sometime now and were genuinely non-affected by my presence and questions. Someone had left fruit toast on the grill and it was smoking.