lingering under a lacquered veneer
all knowing omnipresent mould
next to my head as I sleep
piercing through the walls, around my paintings and photographs omnipresent mould
looking up while showering
steam hanging like clouds
see constellations far away places
in a clear fungal sky
a house built into the side of a hill
engulfed by dark matter
an ancient web,
applied with household vinegar
splayed out in floral patterns, woven into cream paint
auras of pale olive
a relentless existence comforting and consistent
As days morph into weeks and then into months, I remain stationed at home. With an absurdist lightness1, I attempt to find beauty and awe in my everyday. Even domestic habits, grounded in routine can reveal the profound nature of being. I am currently dealing with a mould outbreak in my home. As the mould splays out like an elusive dark matter to engulf my bedroom and bathroom, I find a profound comfort in the moulds resilience. No matter how much vinegar I apply, this ancient web will continue to appear. When insistently scrubbing away the mould, I reflect on the absurdity of human nature needing to impose order in an inherently meaningless world.2 Just as it is absurd that I am attempting to withhold the relentless tide of life behind a damn of vinegar.
Dark matter and energy are omnipresent theoretical forms,3 they are woven through us and potentially make up more than 80% of what we know, yet, we cannot define it. Mould being a type of fungi, is also all-encompassing yet inexplicable in nature. Shrouded in this same uncertainty, lies the very nature of my consciousness. Douglas Hofstadter’s 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid (GEB), has informed my understanding of the illusive structures of consciousness. Hofstadter Strange loop theory presents consciousness as being a recursive chain of associations, a loop, forming a perceived understanding of self. Hofstadter comments on how we are aware we are conscious, yet when one questions their own identity, the loop becomes unsteady as it is defined within itself.4 The dark matter of the universe is woven into our minds and we are unable to fathom our consciousness.
“I have no doubt a totally reductionist but incomprehensible explanation of the brain exists; the problem is how to translate it into a language we ourselves can fathom”
1 Albert Camus and Justin O’Brien, The Myth Of Sisyphus And Other Essays (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 4-86.
2 Camus, O’Brien, The Myth Of Sisyphus, 4-10.
3 “Dark matter”, CERN, 2021, https://home.cern/science/physics/dark-matter
4 Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid ( New York: Basic Books, 1999) 127 - 157.
5 Hofstadter, GEB, 709.
With so many unanswered questions, one empirical fact remains, the persistence to live. As I notice mould growing above my shower, no matter how much I scrub it away, I can find an absurdist lightness in nature’s persistence to continue. Even in the face of human kind’s eventual demise (climate change), a need to live and persist runs through my veins. For life is:
a relentless existence
comforting and consistent
Poetry is filled with voids, it calls upon the reader to assume aspects of reality. This assumption is how we live our day to day lives, living within a habitual state. It is easy to slip into this monotonous way of life, not truely reflecting on the absurdity of existence and the clarity this carries with it. My video collage was created with this poetic methodology in mind, as I focus on materials often overlooked. By using offcuts generated from my everyday life; old receipts, crumbled up paper and film photographs, I provide shape to the in-between.
With a zoom field recorder, I archive sounds of the everyday. With an electronic synthesiser, I create notes and layer my found sound upon these compositions. Like poetry, it is the space in- between notes that makes something music rather than sound. Just as the dark matter of the universe swirls around and within us, existing in-between, we live our lives focusing on the notes we hear or the words we see, not truely reflecting on the absurdity of all we don’t yet understand.
As a mounting pressure from climate change grows, I find comfort in the persistence of the mould in my house. As the mould continues to spread, my chest rises and falls, and when my chest no longer stirs, the mould will do what it has always done, it will thrive.
Camus, Albert and O’Brien, Justin. The Myth Of Sisyphus And Other Essays. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
• “Dark matter”. CERN. 2021. https://home.cern/science/physics/dark-matter
• Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. New York: Basic Books, 1999.