Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Old Couple

from an imaginary Lucerne diary
The weather turned cold today, the sort of cold with a bite in the air that you can feel on your skin the moment you step out of the hotel. I went out for a walk in the morning, encouraged by the bright blue sky. The small street cleaning machines were whirring through the gutters like blind mechanical insects. Above the square, pigeons fluttered towards the ledges of the upper storeys, were repelled by the coils of copper wire placed there to deter them, and fluttered away again over the trees that guarded the centre of the square. I picked up a newspaper from the kiosk on the corner, and a coffee from the bistro nearby, then headed down for the hundredth time towards the river.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who, when they spend some time in a different city, carves out their own set of places they go to regularly: the same cafĂ© in the morning, the same restaurant in the evening, the same route they like to take. I was approaching my favourite place to read the newspaper—a wooden bench on the St. Karli Quai, with a name plate on the back dedicated to an old Jewish couple who died in World War II—but I saw, with a slightly petulant feeling, that it was already occupied. A very old man and his very old wife were huddled shoulder to shoulder on the bench. I assumed they were married, I don’t know why. Maybe because they wore the same dark brown overcoats, fluffy Russian hats, and expensive Italian shoes. When I came round towards the railing and glanced at them from the side, I could see that they were holding hands, pointing things out that they saw on the water, leaning in to tell each other things, and looking at each other and smiling in response. My annoyance at their taking my favourite bench gave way to a feeling of wonder at how sweet they appeared. To be so old, and possibly married for so long, and yet to still take pleasure in each other’s company. I envied them, and realized that they were making me feel rather lonely.
I opened my newspaper and pretended to read it for a while, waiting to see whether they would move on. But they stayed, occasionally falling silent, but still holding hands, the man squeezing the woman’s fingers, she reaching over and patting his upper arm. Finally, after maybe ten minutes, there was a quick gust of frozen air from out over the lake, and it began to snow. They stood up, clutching their fluffy Russian hats to their heads, and walked off towards the north. I walked the other way, back towards the bridge, wondering if I would be lucky enough to reach my seventies with the companionship of someone who loved me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The 100 page accordion book: assembled

Here is a collage of images of the 100 page accordion book of Lucerne project prints, including a custom made clam-shell box. Click on the image to display a much larger version:


Saturday, May 14, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 29


Click to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Arches printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 28


Click image to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Rives printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 27


Click on image to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Rives printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A different perspective

from an imaginary Lucerne diary.

I was working in the back office, filing the paperwork from yesterday’s comings and goings at the hotel, when I heard the bell ring at the front desk. I finished what I was writing and dropped the pen down onto the ledger. The pen rolled into a small paper cup of water and knocked it over on the page. I grabbed some tissues from my handbag and frantically dabbed at the spreading puddle, but some of the water had already smudged the figures in the ‘Bills Paid’ column. The bell rang again. I knew I had to look welcoming to any visitor to the hotel, but I was feeling annoyed as I stepped through the door into the small reception area. I tried to smile, but I was aware that I was frowning as I said: “Can I help you?”

A man was standing in the narrow hallway in front of the counter. He was thin and bald, and wore black glasses with a thick frame, and black clothes. He seemed nervous, his eyes moving quickly from side to side, never quite meeting mine. He asked me is a certain guest was still staying at the hotel. I recognized the name: I had been processing his credit card payment only minutes earlier. For all I knew it was his name that was dissolving on the untended ledger. The thought of the ledger being spoiled, of having to do a morning’s work all over again, of explaining what I’d done to the hotel owner, who said that there was no such thing as an honest mistake, only a sackable offense—all this made my blood rise, and I felt myself blushing hotly.

It was clear to me that not only was this stranger not looking for a room, but that he didn’t know the person he was asking for. I decided to tell him nothing more, but to wait for him to leave. I noticed that he was glancing at my breasts, and I was suddenly conscious of how the t-shirts the hotel staff were made to wear were very tight. I shifted from one foot to another, and clasped my left elbow with my right hand.

“Can I help you with anything else?” I said. He mumbled something I didn’t catch, and backed towards the front door. When he’d gone, I took out my cellphone and started to type a text to my boyfriend about this creep who had asked weird questions and stared at my tits. But then I remembered the spilled water and the unfinished paperwork. “Scheisse,” I said, and went back through the swing door into the office.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 26


Click to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Rives printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 25


Click to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Rives printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

From a 100-page accordion book: 24


Click to display larger version

Medium: found images, paper-litho transfer on Rives printmaking paper, 4.5" x 18"