"Darwin Festival 07: Interpositions" (part of the Darwin Festival 2007); Ski Club; Darwin, Australia. 2007
I knelt in a boat beneath a raining umbrella. The boat slowly sank as it filled up with the water from my own private rainfall. When the boat finally did go under, I braved the shark- and crocodile-infested waters to swim ashore.
Fully convinced that T. was my "true forever love", I was very surprised when our relationship came to an end. That week at the library, I chanced upon The Psychology of Love by R. Sternberg and M. Barnes (1989). The book discussed various "styles of loving": there are people who form relationships based on friendship, others who form relationships based on practicalities such as common life goals and social status, etc. Then there are the "manic lovers" whose idea of love is "typical of teenage infatuations" (ouch), and who live in their own heads to the point of being "inadequately adapted to reality".
To my distress, I identified with the most embarrassing of the "manic" characteristics listed, and realized that my love troubles stem directly from my own delusional fantasies. Discouraged by the discovery of new personality flaws, I nevertheless reflected that I had somehow managed to make it to 32 years of age somewhat intact.
Drenched by my own private rainstorm and all the while wondering why it seems so sunny on the outside, I wake up to reality only when my boat has sunk. Luckily I swim like an otter.
My Australian audience told me later that the experience of watching someone sink off in the distance had particular resonance in light of frequent boat capsizes and drownings of illegal immigrants in the shark and crocodile infested waters surrounding Darwin. Incidentally, the performance was timed for sunset, at high tide, which also happened to be when sharks and crocodiles come out to feed.
photos by: Khairuddin Hori, Juliana Yasin, Rizman Putra
Swimming to shore.