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Blurb: Short Shorts is Arts Illustrated’s micro-fiction series that borrows from the thousand words through which a picture speaks to create a moment of experiential art. Featured here, from our issue on Time & Art, is one such piece based on a selection of artworks from the first Yinchuan Biennale 2016 in China curated by Bose Krishnamachari.

Arts illsutrated

Robert Montgomery, Wipe Your Tapes with Lightning (Poem for Paul Reekie), LED, Dimensions Variable, 2016​

‘Did you spell-check the last love line you sent me by mail?’

She looked at the message on her phone as she walked across the wooden bridge with total disdain.

The last message before this was even more scathing: ‘You don’t need a friend. You need a baggage handler.’

The one before that was even more sarcastic: ‘I love you. I love your dog. I’m slightly fond of your turtles. I love that you care for animals and work to find as many of the homes as you can. However, I HATE your parrot. Either they fly away, or we can fly apart. The story ends!’

She didn’t know what to make of all of these because she was going to rescue a pigeon before she turned towards the bridge. The only way to make him take the cat was to just disappear.

‘I am leaving.’

She repeated the message she had sent as she stared at the red sliver that told her that her phone was on the last legs of its battery life.

It wasn’t typical of her to be walking at night through wooded trails and slipping through backyards. But the bridge was different. It gave her a feeling she was hiking to eternity. But memories of the other mates in her house who could not speak were no longer memories. They were immediate realities. And she was walking away from them. But she pushed herself to thoughts unrelated to the present moment to teach him a lesson. And as she got closer to the other side of the bridge her mind acquired a kind of omnipotence, an infinite diversity where everything was revealed rapidly, eternally and viscerally. All that she left behind was a trail of bright neon lights hanging from the bridge that said: THE BIRDS RETURN WITH UN VIDEO-TAPED MEMORIES OF THE MOUNTAINS. THE SEA HAS NO NAME FOR CHINA OR AMERICA. THE SEA HAS NO NAME FOR EVEN ITSELF.

Manoj Nair is a writer, critic, curator and author of Pencil Sketches: a volume of writing on Indian visual arts, cinema, literature, and music. 

To read ‘Short Shorts’ in its entirety, click here

Other Stories by Arts Illustrated

Love in the Time of Poetry​

Remembering The Earth​

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Her Words, Her Weapon

A Handmaid’s Guide to Sanity

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