This simple but intense exercise invites us to spend more time than usual to look at something. In doing so images, stories, memories and associations pop up in a unvoluntary way. The exercise breaks the rhytm and stretches our impression of time. It creates desorienting sensations that open up the mind, and shift our way of observing or thinking about things. When you're done, you won't even be so sure anymore that you are really in the present.
The exercise is useful to connect to the present reality around us. It can also be used to develop new worlds or future scenario's. If you start a session of intense looking with a specific future scenario in mind, you will find that it inspires the development of your scenario in unexpected ways: you will see things, ideas and possibilities that you didn't see before.
Choose an open space surrounded by objects, plants or buildings. Stand still on the spot you like most. Start turning slowly around while 'scanning' with your eyes what you see in front of you.
When you feel invited by an object or a specific spot walk towards it. Set the timer for 10 minutes and start looking at your object or your spot intensely, as if you would be looking into someone’s eyes. If you feel lost, you can imagine asking it questions and listening to its answers.
When the 10 minutes are over, close your eyes and try to trace your experience by making a drawing without looking. Alternately you could also note words that best describe your feelings, emotions, thoughts during the exercise. Give a title to your experience.
On this flat asphalt platform a tiny yellow piece lying on the ground caught my attention. I had to go on my knees to look at it closer. My body was tired after travels and the position for observing the object was challenging. I started trembling. My vision became blurry as I could not concentrate on such a small object. I had to zoom out and noticed small grains of stones and sand lying around the yellow glass. It was forming a peculiar shape. A ship? A building? A bunker? I could not tell. I saw a strange gathering in the headquarters of the structure, with my yellow glass friend in the middle of it. Bellow, there were extensions of the building for supporting crew from the gathering. Unfortunately, this peculiar event got disturbed by wind and most of the participants dispersed across the field. The yellow glass was left alone. While observing it I couldn’t stop thinking of a desire to lick transparent grains of stone. I’m sure they tasted salty.
End of summer, low-angled orange light. I detect a pile of stones at the top of a partially collapsed dune, which will be my subject. I move towards this point and go to meet it. The straight path is less easy to walk than it seems. The terrain is uneven and swampy. I fall several times, trying not to betray the rule and not taking my eyes off my rocky mass. I am at the same time crossed by common and archetypal images of the future that the site inspires or proposes to me: the ruins have been buried under a luxuriant nature. The remaining humans must live in or with the forest... As I approach my stony heap and my crumbling dune I prepare myself not to be too disappointed. There will be no castle ruins or traces of a dilapidated house: old springs, shards of tiles, bits of life, just a few bricks maybe. But when I arrive in front of my pile, I am really seized and surprised. There is a very large, flat, thick stone, like a piece of turned over bitumen, carefully placed on two grey bricks in a "duck" pattern. I instantly think of a grave but it is not sad. It is a surprise. At the bottom of the dune, a long stem of red ivy seems to have been used as a skipping rope by children. I think of my two little daughters who might have liked to play there. I continue to explore the area around my cluster. I find two clues that tell me another story or that link me even more personally to this archetypal future that gives itself in vision in this Latvian landscape. At the bottom of the dune, a new piece of bitumen, which seems to have been projected or planted like a stele in the ground. On top, sprayed in an aniseed green that matches the texture of the raw terrazo bitumen, there is an A, like my name. This grave is mine and this cemetery of the future or parallel cemetery could have been built by my friends, when I was 17 and had to leave my house. When I was 17 and we were listening to Sonic Youth, Nirvana and spray-painting our shoes while hanging out in the dunes of Dunkirk. Delighted by this vision of teenagers inventing cemeteries in the midst of a powerful nature, I join the colleagues of the present. I come across more strange mushrooms, flanked by the collapsed dunes. They are green-grey, opaline-coloured and look like hard lettuce in cement. No doubt a new organism. In the distance, on the tarmac, I see Rasa staring intently at the ground and then I hear her whistle. I return.
I looked at a tall yellow plant for ten minutes. Firslty, I only looked at the plant as a plant. Noticing the plant was the same size as me. Then I got closer, and saw an insect, a bee. And then another one, on the top of the plant. A big beatle. Then I saw there was also a snail. And another beatle. All the insects were buttinating the plant. I started to look at the action of the buttinatting and tried to imagine how it felt for the flower to be eaten by something or someone. This feeling of being eaten from the exterior. A metaphor appeared about how we can feel 'eaten' in terms of energy or emotions by other humans or just by 'life'. I asked the plant in a whisper: "Is it nice to be extracted like that?" But this metaphor quickly disappeared for another thought, which was that maybe the flower was mainly feeling some pleasure in this action of being buttinated. Without realizing, my eyes were now looking at one very little bud of the plant. Without realizing, my entire body was getting excited, like sexually excited of this situation. I directly came back to a very rational thought, like looking at myself from the outside and feeling a bit ridiculous. I thought of my friend G. who has experienced the 'ecosexe' practice with a little bush, and my friend P. who is trying to get some orgams while looking at flowers. Then I decided that this desire for 'this situation' was fine and I let it go. A strange sensation of appeasement came over me. I waited for the ring of the alarm clock, enjoying this moment, not thinking anymore about where I was, why, how, when.
Rasa A. a proposé ce jeu pendant la résidence Futurologie de la Coopération à Jurmala, Lettonie, en Septembre 2021.