Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Manley Touch

written for
Burning Man 2011
Rites of Passage

story & art
T. Remington

Publiushed by 
August 2011

    After the fire, after what was left of the house had been torn down and hauled away, the lot filled with weeds and trash. Cats screamed and fucked, waking neighbors. Kids skipped school and huffed bags of cooking spray. Diego Ramirez repainted the back of the garage repeatedly to cover the endless graffiti. After six months, Beatriz had had enough and began calling the alderman’s office. 
    The old man who’d died in the fire didn’t seem to have any family. No one would want the place even if a deed could be found since the city’s cheap demolition job had left the basement intact underground. Again, Seth Winslow considered getting out of the alderman game and trying something relaxing like insurance sales. He sighed and instructed an aide to come up with something.   
    Diego got the guys together to put up a fence that kept the kids, if not the cats, out. Eventually everyone forgot about Boris Manley and his strange, old house.

    Livingston Manley didn’t forget. From the age of sixteen on, she gave it her best shot. Moving to Miami would do the trick, right?

No place else had, yet, but Miami was different. She found work in a little boutique, got a tan and lost eighteen pounds. Anyone from the old neighborhood would have passed her like a stranger on the street. But she knew the truth; God knows the old man had told her often enough. It was never going to work out. She should find some not terrible guy with a not terrible job and start having kids.
    “Liv, babe, you got a visitor.” Shondelle, the manager at Periwinkle, stuck her head around the corner.
    Livingston froze. Visitor?
    “Are you Livingston Manley?” The guy was a stranger and let nothing show.   
    “Y- yeah.”
    “You’ve been served.” He put the long white envelope in her hand and walked out.

    A week later, another lifetime later, Livingston turned the corner she’d sworn she would never turn again and there it was. There it wasn’t. The gray green shingled house with those aluminum awnings over each window wasn’t there. There was a fence. There was thin air where there used to be a bedroom with a door that locked from the outside. She stood there and stared.
    “You lost?” The kid looked to be about eight.
    “I sure am.” She’d give anything for a cigarette right now. “You remember the house that used to be here?”
    “Not really. The fire happened when I was little.” He picked at something on his head. “Was it yours?”
    “Is there a way in?” She walked over to the fence. It seemed solid.
    “What’s in it for me?”
    She looked at the kid for awhile. How badly did she need to walk that ground again anyway? Five bucks got her to where the fence met the corner of the garage. He ducked in through a gap and disappeared.
    “This way. Come on!” The kid had opened the side door. The garage, dim and oily, was exactly the right passage to take Livingston back. She followed the kid out the back door and into the old yard.
    Livingston made one slow circuit of the bumpy, broken ground. She reached the remaining first step of the front porch and turned to face what was no more. Old truths were crumbling underground with that basement. She stepped into what was no longer a living room with all the furniture facing the long gone television.
    “Bye, Dad.” She paused in the invisible doorway, “You were wrong.”

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Liminality (Neither Here Nor There)" - art for Burning Man 2011

aleXander hirka (photography and digital montage)  

>> click and click again on image to enlarge <<

40″x40″ – on display at Center Camp, Burning Man 2011
Rites of Passage, Aug 25 – Sept 9, Black Rock City, Nevada

The Ritual of Crossing Over.
On the Verge, at the Brink, on the Cusp.

Putting it On_The_Line.

On the threshold, At the gate, Amidst a revolving door.
On the border.
An Entrance from which to look at the Not-Yet-Future – A Portal from which to view the Fading Past.


Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the “threshold” of or between two different existential planes, as defined in neurological psychology (a “liminal state”) and in anthropological theories of ritual.
As developed by Arnold van Gennep (and later Victor Turner), the term is used to “refer to in-between situations and conditions that are characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and uncertainty regarding the continuity of tradition and future outcomes”.  Although initially developed as a means to analyze the middle stage in ritual passages, it is “now considered by some to be a master concept in the social and political sciences writ large”. In this sense, it is very useful when studying “events or situations that involve the dissolution of order, but which are also formative of institutions and structures.”
It is particularly useful as a tool for analyzing both contemporary events and problems, and for analyzing and comparing various historical periods.