Safe fires

June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. Can art only ever really be experienced in its most transcendent form alone, in solitude, without the interference of another person’s intrusive thoughts?

2. Is love possibly the highest form of art, unspeakable, undefinable, eternally analysed, able to move vast emotional and mental landscapes, intrinsically experiential?

3. Does that mean that when you experience love in its highest form, your communion is not shared, but experienced alone simultaneously? Each within their own epidermic cave, finger painting their obsession and history on the scarred, hollowed out walls, lighting safe fires against the night?


At the edge of real

June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

At the edge of real

Modern mythology

You’ve heard all this before, you’ve seen it

I am the same story-teller, scribe, as through the ages

You’ve seen all this before


The sublime, memory, thought

Balanced at the knife-edge of the real and unreal

Facebook vs privacy vs sharing norms vs public expectations

June 17, 2011 § 3 Comments

Pseudonym Smith June 17 at 5:53pm Report
Hi Ying,

I hope you had a good time at LOOK3. I have just seen that you have blocked me from seeing your wall and wondered why you have done that? Any particular reason?

Ying Ang June 18 at 2:21am

i am trying to figure out a way to manage my private life on facebook with a lot of people who i am intimate friends with and a lot of people who i don’t really know… i try to keep this balance also based on how much information other people share on their facebook so that the sharing is reciprocal and if we spend much time together in “real time”. it’s important for me as i happen to share A LOT of my personal life on facebook… and that is probably an understatement and kinda terrifying for me to open up to people who i have never broken bread with.

By the way, have we actually hung out before? i have terrible face memory and I cannot recognise you from your profile photo…

i hope you understand.
Look 3 was a great time 🙂


Pseudonym Smith June 18 at 2:29am Report
I completely understand that. Will you be offended if I delete you as a friend. It is just that personally, I want to be “all in” or “all out”. I am happy to be “all out” until our paths cross in a meaningful way, if you would prefer. Up to you entirely. But for me no half-way houses, all-out or all-in.

Ying Ang June 18 at 2:31am
of course, not…
we’re all trying to figure out our own rules in this virtual era.

I’m not ever sure how to tackle the beast of facebook sharing… it fluctuates and swings between a semi-open forum in which the murky area between private going-ons are intertwined with public consumption. I tend to ask myself questions like, do I know you well enough to show you my bedroom… and can I subject my friends to public viewings of their bedrooms. Where does trust play a part if it does at all. Would I recognise your face if I saw you in the street and would I feel comfortable knowing that you were familiar with intimate details of my life but I could barely recognise yours with your sunset stock image profile photos and obscure photos of pets?

Photography is a twisted wand that makes both a truth and fiction of my life. I am  the one to wield it, but control is still something that I’m learning in an unprecedented time of information dissemination. How entitled are strangers to a personal all-access pass to my life by the simple fact that I photograph and choose to mould some aspects of it as “art”?  

Show me your father, your mother, that vulnerable time before sleep, the soft space between you and your lover, the hard space when you fight and perhaps we can talk. Altman and Taylor speak of the Social Penetration Theory where the process of self-disclosure is reciprocal and gradual. It is the groundwork to building intimate relationships. I wonder if a virtual version of this exists and if so, have the norms changed… Is it a fiction to feel like you are at stage 4 (see steps below) when you have never even shared an embrace before?

Stages of Social Penetration

  • 1. Orientation stage. Here, we play safe with small talk and simple, harmless clichés like ‘Life’s like that’, following standards of social desirability and norms of appropriateness.
  • 2. Exploratory affective stage. We now start to reveal ourselves, expressing personal attitudes about moderate topics such as government and education. This may not be the whole truth as we are not yet comfortable to lay ourselves bare. We are still feeling our way forward. This is the stage of casual friendship, and many relationships do not go past this stage.
  • 3. Affective stage. Now we start to talk about private and personal matters. We may use personal idioms. Criticism and arguments may arise. In romantic-type relationships there may be intimate touching and kissing at this stage.
  • 4. Stable stage. The relationship now reaches a plateau in which personal things are shared and each can predict the emotional reactions of the other person.

Relationships can eventually reach:

  • Depenetration. When the relationship starts to break down and costs exceed benefits, then there is a withdrawal of disclosure which leads to termination of the relationship.

Let night come

June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let night come
with its austere grandeur,
ancient superstitions and fears.
It can do us no harm.
We’ll put some music on,
open the curtains, let things darken
as they will.

~ excerpt from “Here and Now” by Stephen Dunn

Union Square | NYC


June 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Legs piston-pumping through the opaque heat of a New York summer. I blink through the veil of sweat and wonder briefly at your life, carrying on, evolving, happening without me. So firmly held prisoner and apart by our own skins, continents, the sea, promises we made before we knew each other.

I whistle something tuneless that catches on the breeze and it whips past me to the rider on my right. She is an old friend, lost in her own biking thoughts, one eye turned inward and the other on passing cars and strangers.

I swerve simmering asphalt potholes, look up, note a passing plane, fancy outrunning it to Chelsea and grin at my own foolish games of make-believe. Finally making my darting way home through the constant obstacle course of big city traffic, I wonder if you ever conjure up my life happening over here without you.

The Cinnamon Peeler

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler’s wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
– your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers…

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter’s wife, the lime burner’s daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner’s daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
you belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler’s wife. Smell me.

~ Michael Ondaatje

L’ora del tramonto

June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Rome, Italy | Spring, 2011

(The violet hour)

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