Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Ballet of Spatial Form

In many ways I see Carnival as a massive ballet of spatial form. Forms morph and stretch. They repeat and engulf you, blind you and release you. Let's think about it for a moment.
Where i am standing - in the middle of the street on Carnival Tuesday afternoon - this is my ground. It is ground I do not conquer at any other time of year. My ground is baptised in paint, feathers and sequins from J'ouvert and the days of dance.
My walls have moved. The limits of me experience have shifted. The houses and businesses that I have occupied in past stand silent witness to my passing. Now lining those silent walls are a parasitic strip of aromatic foods, cold drinks and local crafts. A Service belt on the pavement - strapped to fences. Even these silent walls of year round businesses wear their own ephemeral mask for these days. Closer around me though, my vision undulates. At one moment i cannot see anything but people around me: in masks and ecstatic behaviours. But the next moment a feathered arm has lifted and I can see Adam Smith Square. This movement and shifting and dancing and jostling hypnotises me. My city I see through these frames. For release I look to the sky above me. I see blue blue sky and wings of a Carnival queen extending above me.
But it's not only the undulating band that shapes the borders of this experience. The morphology of the city differentiates attitudes. The rooms of the city are its neighbourhoods. Ariapita Avenue is a place of beginnings – where people trickle onto the road from their camps. It is a long and narrow corridor into the old city. There is a momentum that gathers there – shooting toward Lapeyrose. Lapeyrose cemetery is surrounded by high yellow walls. It creates a threshold between Woodbrook and Downtown Port-of-Spain. The streets of downtown Port-of-Spain are narrower, with historic buildings and stories rising above. It is a confined, intense and multi-layered space of powerful re-imagination: Re-imagining the Red House and Woodford Square.
To be continued…

Friday, July 10, 2009

Excerpt from Another Life by Derek Walcott :

begin again,
from what we have always known, nothing,
from that carnal slime of the garden...

by this aurgery of ibises
flying at evening from the melting trees,
while the silver-hammered charger of the marsh light
brings toward us, again and agains, in beaten scrolls
nothing, then nothing,
and then nothing. (286-87)