letters from TryAngle

Saturday 8th of September 2012

Dear Grandpa,

From the red door window looking south, you see the country quite far, hills and the archaic shapes of trees that grow in the dry earth. A red cat lies on the old wall which stands there without roof. A picture without time. Only the shades indicate another season is yet to come. Shades longer than the motionless grey-green trees, shallow shades that stretch on the ground turned golden. A smooth curving line shapes the horizon – far enough to face us, close enough to make us wonder how we take part in this scene.

Why does the obvious beauty of a landscape hurt at first?

It is as if the open space found a response in the infinite and pointed our limitation at the same time. The limits of our perception and absorption, of our faculties that are all concerned. The limits of our time we can spend here and stay in front of the grate.

It is as if the state of disorientation whilst seeing at first the so far unseen brought up the consciousness we are here and not elsewhere. As if it dived us into present. And took us elsewhere – another elsewhere, no past thoughts or future projects, but arisen from this very moment. It gets a little silent then.

Our senses seem to be shaken by the uniqueness to interrupt the continuous flow of perceptions. As to learn how to perceive over again.

On the way to the convent, I have been told the bosks we see are oak trees. Along with olive trees and eucalyptus, cork oaks are typical in this region. The trunk’s bark is cut off and the tree stands there, naked to the branches, and it will take nine years for it to recover, to renew it’s skin. After that period, the same process will be started again and over again, nine years later. It’s the oak trees rhythm given by man in the country nearby Montemor o Novo.

Where shall I start to tell you about the artist’s residence Grandpa?

Right up on the hill, there is an old castle. A castle which has the shape of how a child would draw it: on a hill, dark stone, with towers and crenels on the high surrounding wall. It looks like there is a wide history behind. Only the 16th century Dominican convent that was built inside is inhabited. From the white courtyard you enter a wooden door: this goes to the first level of the grey stone ambulatory, simply shaped and full of life, laughter and figures appearing, people crossing, greeting. In this enclosed outside open inside space the light enters the square and hits the ground below, where the arcades throw curved shades. In the centre the orange trees carries ripening fruit.

The guests have arrived and are received carefully, each personally by those who were there before and in charge of the space. The guests then become guests of each other and host each other, listening and speaking, becoming someone embracing cultures and countries, languages and practices. People – the same joy and apprehension of seeing human beings, each with their faces and names, their movements and interactions, both diverse and unique. In moving constellations we started to talk and to share some steps through the common environment. People with their history you will never know and their sensitivity you sometimes catch, their own intelligences, their voice and way of dealing with the situation they discover and make at once, willing to exchange. You see a lot when you first see someone and you don’t know anything about him apart his actuality of a human being that has taken all life to be manifest. And you see with what is given to you to perceive. How often have noticed this with astonishment before: the dynamics are very specific from the beginning, the affinities and levels of meeting are immediate and yet they are unforeseeable, get more and more uncertain and promising.

The space is this and no other and it is available for transformation. Maybe what is our condition on earth, building and shaping, is lived and experienced here consciously, willingly, visibly. It is available for new projects as they say.

In the eyes and body positions you see different layers of receptivity and response whilst crossing the cells and lower church full of someone’s memories.

We went into town, through the paved streets, where old men sit on a bench and children dance on a cell-phone-music in front of the café, a blind man splitting the rush with a knife he holds touching it carefully as a blind man does next to the door open on the street where the towels hang along the white and colour-painted houses. The town has a special character and history. It seems desert and much alive. Houses are abandoned and collapsing. You see pigeons flying into broken windows. Suddenly a wedding – in a garden. A huge theatre and bull fighting arena. Sometimes the town must be crowded and noisy. Now it is quiet and if you stay a little, you see people, living their lives; some have always been here, look friendly, as if the street were still a place to look at each other and greeting each other.

The hours tuned towards the outside made the following evening back in the convent filled with warmth around the table.

Grandpa I hope from the few images I witnessed you will get a feeling of this day. A feeling as each person here would have had their own feeling to begin with. There is fullness of life. We are always already drawn by feelings and engaged in acts – comprehension comes afterwards and it always already starts and gives a new way to act and to feel.

It is getting dark looking out of the red door widow facing south; I feel a little bare and grateful in front of uniqueness.

With affection yours