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(this text was originally shown as part of Picture Window - an online exhibition by Soft Spot. You can view the archived page here)



  1. You lie on your back and look up at the bulb, which hangs on a cord in the centre of the ceiling. Not directly above you, but a pace forward and out to the left. The cord is thick, white. Faint memory of a kink in it. The bulb is off.


  2. You often imagine your room flipped - the bulb standing in its whiteness like a single tulip. With this, a sensation of trying to spread your weight across the ceiling as on a frozen pond. Crushed give of thin plaster, fine dust, fingerprints. 


  3. The bulb is the kind with three loops, three prongs. Arranged in a kind of hexagon with a narrow space in their centre, just big enough for a finger and makes you think of foxgloves.


  4. During the day, pale square of the velux stretches a shadow from the bulb and its cord like a sundial. Sent out on a slow twirl of its double, it smears through the hours on the skip-trowelled ceiling.


  5. At night you never turn on this bulb because of the unflattering glare it throws over your room, so the ceiling is lit from below by a softer lamp. This lamp fixes the bulb’s shadow in a dark slant like the long hand of a stopped or painted clock.


  6. In the shadow, the prongs congeal in one clean hook joined seamlessly at the base. A thin eye of light slides through a tiny gap like a needle.


  7. Some days an apathy like recurring doors opening to recurring walls, a container containing nothing but surface. It is hard to believe there can be anything as still, as solemn.


  8. You lie and stare at this stillness, which seems to contain, saturated, all possibility of movement - just as a mirror contains its inverse; equal volumes of actual and virtual - held apart by, and pressed against, only a thin membrane.


  9. The weight of you laid out on the bed is at once frustrated and calmed by its constancy. You look for some expression in the blankness, but the affect is in you, not it.


  10. Even in daylight, the shadow could never complete a full sundial cycle - only what the small square of window will allow, and then what the gap between the houses will allow, and this season sees the sun skim the corners like a loosed balloon - coaxing, teasing, the weight of its ribbon to fumble across furniture and out of a doorway - sucked slow into a faceless sky.


  11. In every room you sleep in, you find yourself greeting this view like a checkpoint. The bulb and its shadow, a pin in a map, epicentre of something. You like to think you could calibrate these rooms across time and space, as if each is only an arrangement in a long series of anagrams.


  12. Ashy light on the sheets, yellow cut across a thigh. Same bulb, same shadow, same morning coming. Something in the slant reassures you - like a familiar face, or a shared glance. Collusive, tacit, the unblinking equivalent of a wink.

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