Thursday, 23 June 2016


The mystery of a street, unknown or familiar, is the same as encountering an enigmatic person: incomprehensible not only to themselves but to others. They were made in that mould and just are. That's how they formed and that's how they'll always be like a abstract sculpture, devoid of manipulation, which doesn't mean neither will weather but each will remain just as puzzling as they were at their conception.
The original concept was good, but it was an idea which none of the creators knew how to shape and so the material was allowed to be whatever it wanted. To flow where it wanted like bubbling lava or to come to a halt and accumulate in a towering mass; to meander and set with twists and turns that could infuriate and beguile; and to choose anomalies above a more favoured conventional design of the times they lived in.
Anything developed in that way will not desert its originality: how it came into being and how it's since learned to live. It will age, as anything living does, concrete or transient, yet it will always honour what from the outset it was. Its humble beginnings – the innocence of its truest nature, from whence it sprung.
Art is living and breathing; living and breathing is art.
Any object that first took form as a mantle of art lives and breathes.
Everything screams, just as everything retains memory, and burrows in those remembrances. Nothing is completely without a sensory experience of some kind or another.
Indecipherable streets surround us, and yet comprehend the meaning of things. Silent though they remain, without the features we consider human, as witnesses to the passing of time, until that time wrecks them; takes its revenge at its appointed hour. Drills down into them, tears up paving slabs, and plugs the square chasms with an alien substance. A sticky substance that suffocates rather than breathes. A dark substance that doesn't record but bleeds black clotted blood.
A hard levelled surface with no distinctiveness to speak of. No dust that flies, no chips, no cracks, no wobbles. Nothing to differentiate it if God forbid its even bleakness has formed a new path over historic walkways like an unfurled black carpet for commoners for all occasions. Each path alike in its solid black uniformity and therefore in keeping with the homogenization of the modern world. The placement of ourselves, which proved easier on paved, sometimes cobbled, streets, disorientating, and further hindered by its inexpressiveness.
A flat expanse that knows not how to communicate nor recognise the language of feet, nor when it's in shade or sun. Unresponsive, cheerless tar has no stories to tell. It just is. And is too young to be inquisitive. It's still learning to breathe. And is too firm once set to be influenced by individual pieces that have grown wise through use and age, and yet can still be moved. It's more accepting of what is and does not question. Its existence is dull and unmoved.
Unaffected by happenings on its drab streets, by the ordinary, the melancholy, the wonderful exchanges that take place on and around, by the different feet these exchanges are propagated by, and by the softened sound of several footsteps, rushed or unhurried, light or ponderous, which transverse its surface with no intervals.
Old, old, old streets, paved or otherwise, could tell much about such occurrences as could the people who walked them and the people who walk them still, where they are still part of the scenery. Still very much a part of local life. As old as the Bard, of Shakespeare himself, had he been living.
Depersonalised, streets are like people persuaded to homogenise their behaviour: they have no aura of mystery.

Picture Credit: Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, 1914, Giorgio de Chirico