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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Mind the Gap

I had a sublime commute this morning with music. Walking down to the station I was being pushed by a tide of street traffic, listening to Vivaldi's Trio Sonata. At some point I started welling up in this Powaqqatsi moment. Some emotional weight of our efforts hit me. There was something in the intricate enthusiasm in the sonata that described a personal emotion in what I usually see as an impersonal physical movement. We (the commuters) were all dancing. Then on the platform, I'd changed stations (because at some point ragtime became a valid genre for classical radio stations), listening to some hard trance (which to the unwilling ear sounds like road works being done) that actually had train sounds. I love listening to industrial music in urban settings. The bleed of the real-life urban sound past the earphones almost always compliments the music. In this case it was a total synergy - train sounds, actual trains, hyper-urban. But instead of having an uplifting moment like I'd had with Vivaldi just moments before, the combination of giant iron age machines in a hard landscape of glass concrete skyline, the platform a threshold between motions separated by a 6 inch dangerous "gap" (Mind the gap. It's an extremely dangerously place), the small soft bodies of tissue skin and mostly luke warm salty water, I was stricken by the machine we're surrounded by. Not so much the machine we've created in cities, but the large grinding rock we skin with moss.
"We are means to those small creatures within us and nature has other ends than we." -James Joyce, Ulysses

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