The Other Side of the Mirror


A second consecutive night train, six berth couchettes with four empty beds, train stops, platform voices, figures flitting on the threshold. I tell myself to be a little more accepting of what comes this way and end up sleeping in the suspended state of Shroedinger’s cat.


We’re on the last of seven legs to Istanbul. It’s a place that was always lurking in the background of the crowd subjects I’ve been painting. Twenty years ago I was in the city with my mother, and it seemed to be brimming with stateless people trying to access western Europe – untitled crowds.


In my mind they became particles organized by the state of leaving, a form created in the process of exiting something. This indeterminate multitude in the extremity of an exterior space, and in its organizing form an unobtainable interior object.


Beckett’s poem The Vulture begins with an image that brings something of the strange space into play.

Dragging his hunger
through the sky
of this skull shell
of sky and earth

With a medieval imagination, the picturing pulls together disparate elements in concrete terms. Speaking of a modern dilemma, I think therefore I am… everything.

It continues,

Stooping to the prone
Who must soon take up
Their life and walk
Mocked by a tissue
That may not serve
Til hunger earth
And sky be offal.


In Sofia today a Jordanian man tending a community space told us he lives in Milan now. He’s in Bulgaria for a spell till a visitors visa for Europe can once again be activated; living in Milan for three months then a ninety day excursion to Sofia, a seasonal adjustment.



About nameerdavis

I'm drawn to the crowd and the culture it foments.
This entry was posted in art, crowd formation, information, information processes, public space, screenplay. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Other Side of the Mirror

  1. james rogers says:

    Brilliant piece

    Date: Wed, 8 May 2013 14:13:44 +0000 To:


  2. painter12d says:

    Firstly, bluetac for all travel makes for quieter sleeps, I am staying next to a goods rail yard in rocky, and don,t hear a thing.
    Travel fatigue increases perception I guess.
    Last night was late night shopping, the hysteria of a mall nearly out of control with kids became to extreme and I had to leave, yet in hindsight it made me wonder about what you said about smell motivating group movement. The shopping mall is a polished distribution point for cheap imports, yet the veneer rattles with an influx of socializing kids.
    My final point was that revolution is either achieved by violent change or gradual assimilation, gradual assimilation being our social structure in absorbing consumer ideals, more so than racial divides.
    Istanbul must be a degree of both ideas, on the edge of violent change, yet reaching for gradual assimilation into Europe.
    Hope my comments are applicable, am enjoying reading your blog


    • nameerdavis says:

      Interesting points about consumerism, one could be accused of being generalist but it’s hard not to see the ability to buy as a polarizer both of power coordinates and hygiene / homogeneous ideals.
      There’s a show on here of a Romanian collective who put together insurgent projects in the 80s and 90s. They’ve got wit and they’re pithy, one features an approach to the director of a tobacco company, suggesting that she markets directly to the people buying the product. The idea took hold and two cigarette packets were produced, one named ‘the unemployed’ with a graphic of people leaning on street corners. The company was put into a corner and criticized by the Ceaușescu regime – on charges of naked opportunism or just throwing a market spoiler?


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