POWER THAT SUBDIVIDES
3 MAY - 20 MAY 2017
Two years ago tomorrow, I was late to Lyall Bay beach.
Two years ago tomorrow I lived illegitimately at the Cube, Massey University student accommodation (242 Taranaki Street). Illegitimate, because when my best friend in high school dropped out of art school I moved into her room without informing the body corporate, because I could not afford the bond. I had to wait for the office in the foyer to close and for the rain to subside a little; I had to walk to the beach. I had my reasons. In Triptych between Toothpaste Action Series #14; SeedCo. Lawrence, Kansas, USA (2013) and Hand Gesture, Rest in Peace, Confession Ritual (2017) is 9 minutes and 48 seconds of something I did not see. Power operates best invisibly: Samin Son’s South Korean police riot gear burns on the beach as I buy two plain bread rolls and string for $3 at PAK’nSAVE (78 Rongotai Rd, Kilbirnie). The hallway leading to Samin Son’s Lyall Bay studio where everyone gathers together afterward smells so pungently of petrol I run to the bathroom to check my nose is not bleeding, and to tear the plastic bread roll bags off from over my shoes. Only powerlessness knows what power is. I find Samin and someone introduced to me by the name of David in the studio, covered in rain and incomplete combustion, sorting through thin paper paintings scattered all over the floor. There are more people and paintings in the second room, I stand leaning against the door frame, repeating “sorry for being late. Did it go well?”. Samin begins to recount what happened on the beach; David then describes what Samin has recounted, as someone looking through water on the lens of a camera. I ask to see the footage sometime. I say goodbye before I even recognise I have said the word. Everyone is so understanding of my lateness and quickness to leave it suddenly seems maybe it would not have mattered if I had been there at all. Samin offers me a black tea, to stay longer. He then offers me a silver Korean police riot jacket, the only component of the uniform not destroyed, an offer to leave and to continue leaving, warmer than before.