In the plane from Copenhagen to Amsterdam: A father kneels in front of his one-year-old son to indulgently let himself be annoyed. The son picks at his father’s face, and every time a couple of fingers venture into an opening or scratch so hard it hurts, daddy abruptly pulls his head away and then returns. A game, a little lesson in other people’s physical boundaries, a love declaration of patience. The son’s inner monologue clear as daylight around him: “Will you hold still so I can stick my fingers up your nose! Why are you being so difficult!?”
Later: His tiny hands appear, crawling like monkey fingers up the back rest. He sees me smiling at him between the seats and smiles back like only a child that is loved can smile: Unrestrained, confidently affectionately; Still in the happy state between the moment when he realized that someone catches him when he falls – and the moment when he realizes that mutual smiles from the heart are not a basic fact of life, but a direct consequence of his cuteness.
Behind me the grinding double monologue between a grandmother and her grandson, looking for words to have in common.
And it suddenly occurs to me that it’s not love to ask you to stop suffering.
It’s as if every day a peacock’s tail rises from your ass like a moonlit halo. I can’t see it, but I can feel its eyes staring at me like a starched audience. I try to match your glamour, but all my outfits are incomplete without that invisible accessory.
This piece is called ‘Paper’ and is from my book Noah’s Ark. The video was shot in Engelberg, Switzerland.
“When God told Noah that the flood was coming, he immediately started building a gigantic ship which was to contain a summary of everything. But if he had only made a ship large enough for himself and a large quantity of paper and ink, he could have created a truly new world through the description of everything he had seen. God created everything on Earth as a book for man to read, and so it was foolish just to choose a number of animals that wouldn’t mean more to Noah after the flood than before, and which would only repeat what had already been created. I believe Noah misinterpreted God’s command when he chose to bring a stable instead of a representation. He made his own existence superfluous.” Says the professor, while the students take notes. After the lecture, to the bitter and uncomprehending protests of the students, he collects all their notes and reads them with a contented look on his face. He doesn’t recognize his own thoughts in a single one. At the last minute, he remembers to add his own manuscript to the pile before putting everything into his waterproof briefcase.