As I drive the last stretch feeling like motion itself, like my direction could change and I wouldn’t notice, the elevation at 5000ft and my ears feel like they are forcing out bubbles of gum. The landscape changes into mountain, sharp, sheer slab of granite and I get the unobtainable urge to reach out and give it a good slap, to feel its temperature and its surface tension. It is at these moments when the senses seem to be at their highest, when the sensation is freed from existential doubt by the pure pleasure of the feeling of touching something but actually not. The car daubs and coughs up the hills, providing an uncertain soundtrack like the first act in Siegfried, as we discover not what fear is but that our objects are visiting a land which has lost its meaning somehow. FULL TO THE BRIM. People flock, as they have done for plunder and wonder up the coast and inland California for centuries, since Columbus, maybe. Yosemite feels otherworldly, is protected but seems somehow to have broken tether with its other reality as a hostile and chaotic environment of death, brutality and natural power. The people are everywhere, the paths are easy, the squirrels fat and docile from human clack, the dear look and act like they are on ecstasy, they come so close, inches of their own accord. The bears are reported to be kept wild with bear boxes, the old, feeding the bears on the rubbish tip but keep your distance mind, from the 50’s is replaced with an eerily worrying smiley facade for a bear problem that means they approach humans, regularly, get hit by cars regularly, will not stop approaching camps to loot bins and sometimes cars. The presentation is that the bear problem is being managed, but it is not a bear problem it is a human problem that will not cease to cause havoc to the natural environment until the valley is closed. The bears have never taken a single human life in the valley quote rings with suspicion in your ears after the 10th or so time, and you begin to realise the rhetoric is all wrong, we are told punishment for leaving food in tents or cars or not sticking to bear rules is eviction or a fine, rather than you may get eaten. Then there are the colossus camps and cabins and posh hotels, the camps and cabins full of bugs and diseases easily spread, colds, coughs, diarrhoea all common, but its ok, get the guitar. The hotels full of bugs and diseases of a different kind.
The objects dig in though, they don’t care, they don’t even know, and anyway its irrelevant, one is from 400 ad and the other from the 11th or maybe 12th century. They go to Mirror lake first thing, bath in the delicious scenery, not worrying about hantavirus at all. They are oblivious and so they should be, the majesty of the rock surface takes over and these tired objects flogged by history, take their break, well earned, not thinking. They hire a raft for the following day, to take on the lazy river.
Monterey is like another theme park, full of queueing, spending clunks and gugs. A bit too well painted, so as to be uncannily of now and of history simultaneously but the indecisions are abundant. Point Lobos, nature at its closest to wild in front of the viewing eyes of human bungs, walking the paths. We come on Saturday, bad. Like a movie you can walk round, and people are, lots. I have this thing with nature sometimes where, no matter how hard I look, it does not impress me, impress upon me, make me, move me or alter me. It is image, pure image and it is chaos. The kind of chaos that makes you indifferent. But the sea otters, the eagles, the pelicans, the dolphins and porpoises surfacing just off shore, the sea lions and the seals, bathing, the cormorants, the fish, the kelp forests and the landscape housing this, have combined near enough to our existence that we can come to see, and whilst the seals choose to bath in the sun, we choose to come in numbers, to migrate, to see them. How this must look to them, and all this in the knowledge that when they re-enter the water, the Great Whites are waiting. I look in goggles, under the blanket of the water surface, face plunged in freezing pacific ocean, I see a seal and a feeling of wrong, wraps my shoulders, I get out, we move on swiftly. Filming on the flats by the crabs and the sea lions and yet people are still most interested in our masks and watch on almost in horror as we go about filming in this environment. Then they pose for their own photograph.
Long drive. Arrow straight road, not a corner to navigate for 100 miles, cruise control. Desperate for piss stop, we take exit for reservoir which turns out to be more like a lake the size of a small county, with a view over the whole lake and a huge hilltop to ourselves I take most scenic piss every, imagining what is coming out is making the lake ahead of me. I feel 100 miles tall. More driving through more straights roads and tall corn, and several miles of broccoli and strawberries and cherries and grapes and wine and fields and fields, we arrive at Merced, dusty, nothing, Traveldoge, mexican food, $26 room, motel. We sleep like two balls of string, unravelling and knotting as the night proceeds.
Long drive. Sense of the earth and of being on a bigger vessel, the land we are on is bigger, and you can feel it. So Malibu, comfy life, beach life, short stop, roll shoulders, eat the food, move on. Driving becomes like holding onto the wheel, cruise control takes away foot relevance. Solvang a strange place, Danish but like Denmark never was. Strange histories which never where, have grown from imaginations and exaggerations, H C Andersen stands like a man unsure where he is, in Bronze, buckling in the heat, attempting a smile but sure he is being fooled. The coastline more and more. The birds and the white rock, colossal from shit. Then the sea clear and concise. As we reach Cambria a sense of wilderness, broken by the hotel and the seafood. Local beer, walk the beach, my head in a place. Black sand, glass stones, stark white driftwood, massive driftwood, whole trees. Then in the morning the harbour seals are in, sleeping, surreal. We film with them and it begins to feel like the characters may be bonding, maybe they will talk of when they grew up as objects, when they were made and when they broken and discarded, when they where imprisoned and pinned down on velour. But now they walk with the elephant seals a bit further down, the smell all pervading, like farm and sea combined. Maybe they talk of what they where for, how they where used and how they see themselves now, how many peoples brains they entered and what effect they had. Maybe they talk of the best school kids drawings of themselves and how they wanted to keep at least one or read what was on the page but it was upside down. As we move on a kid says to vacant mum, whats the next thing? And vacant mum replies what do you mean? Oblivious of the thought process, and the absurdity. We move on and our feet make little squeaking noises on the dry polished stones under foot.
Watts towers, as though physically drawn from the mind of its creator, exhumed from the brain, so accurately it even looks like brain, unravelled. Walk the perimeter wondering what its like for people to live opposite. As slide door, black window machines arrive and out hops, piss like stream of snap happy, loud glots. I know I am no different but I think of the lack of humility, the lack of revery in most glots lives, and the abundance of blind confidence. Can’t help but think this type of consciousness is the direct produce, or offal of the enlightenment. We go on, I have clicking shoulder and the heat reflects off the small porcelain doll trapped, suspended in the concrete of the construction. Steal bar, rammed into ground, twisted together like runner bean stand, 30 meters tall, then chicken wire, then cement render. It has the freedom of mind which jazz musicians would love to have, but with the purity and generosity of unknowing, it is itself and itself is it. Clumps of cement smother objects which had former lives all caught up in the 30 year storm that caused this place, something in me says only in the states but then I think I am not sure. Rounded spindle, spun like its woven but heavy and long winded, reminds me of a hollow mountain. This is a lucky one, a charmed life it has led, not demolished through shear luck, owned by a drunk who could not be located, so it remained until mindful conservationist with an eye for something important, stopped the gugs from moving in making it all neat so we don’t have to think any more. We filmed but cautiously, I felt a boundary somewhere.
Beverly Hills. Stone boulder sidewalk. We got a sandwich, good, made me think of making a sculpture with my mouth, the sandwich, the sandwich, in the US is done so well. I leave dreaming of a whole beach where there is no sand but pebbles and where there are no pebbles but just sandwiches tightly wrapped in cellophane. So Beverly Hills is hiding something, it felt fluid under the sidewalk, more stayed than the smallest English village you could imagine. Brown, matt, glowing skin; tight, lycra holding in legs, with purple beltline; stomach, reminds me of Krang; Silicone, fluidy mounds with what could be fake nipple; and sunglasses for the face and jagged Kneed, muscle sticks; up to white cotton half-pant; UCB t-shirt; car keys in hand; jaw from a magazine, beard from a catalogue. Both are just grabbing a sandwich. I wonder what the object equivalent is. The air smells like silk here and the trees. We arrive a Schindler house, a slim, low, matchbox, that yellow and that brown and the concrete slabs. We slap with our hands, marks of material used for pour. The building sets free a spirit of grand shoulders and nice knee feeling, coupled with an immense desire to stay. It only puts you in a place, does not push you. I sit back and have body dreams, pushing into wet cement, then feeling knobby smooth texture of large clay lump, rounded hips begin to form and then over legs join but hole in midriff, no it is bronze. Then awake to the sound of garden but am inside, I feel stones in my shoes. We read the evening air and think about film, stress about film. The story has unfolded here, when you have an idea and you let it loose, it gets away and you get it back, you are careful to allow it to grow, to keep the experimentation, to keep the chance, but the original idea was never fully formed, only in my mind, but it came out, is coming out, might not be perfect, like a sensation but will be a new sensation, a brand new thing to infiltrate. The objects have visited LA now, seen the sights, snapped with their blind eyes, looked with broken cameras, saw nothing but where recorded doing it. Now we leave.