The Construction Site

The Construction site is often populuarized by the music video by Fifth Harmony’s, ‘Work from Home’, where bodies of young muscular and tanned american men are sexualized and rewarded with women showering them with their oversexed female bodies. I always find the construction site, as the site of the sexual. But I also see the site, as a queer space, that undoes a lot of our own assumptions about what our understanding of spaces are, in terms of value, utility and overall aesthetics. I want to take the thought from the music video by Fifth forward, and think of construction site as not only sites of sexualness and it’s intricate connection with capitalism, but of a darker impulse to see the construction site as the subversion of capitalist truths and fables, of our obsession with sculpted bodies, much like buildings, and our relative complicities in ignoring the violence behind such ‘work, work, work..’, as pro-capitalist enticements that glamorize labour for as long as it has hot men who seem quite happy with their work as women twerk while they weld metals; the sheer irony of it all makes me laugh. In the indian context the construction site is a dite of feudal violence against minorities who, as part of an informal, unregulated and unpaid economy, work on contract assignments while their children play with the cement, and their clothes hang on the clothesline between the grotesque, grey, volatile cement walls. The construction workers family, all migrate from one unfinished building to another, carrying the clotheslines ropes, a handful of tainted clothes, and maybe a charcoal burner that helps them cook on the spot, as they eat, fuck and sleep, and live together as they work on the site. The images of capitalist fantasy survive upon elimination of their histories and blood, upon which we privilege the mind over body. To millennials like us who happen to have no control over our own diets and deadlines, I wonder how does the work of a labour who does what he does, can ever be given a lower treatment, both in terms of money and respect, to future academics who write about it while they sip on their starbucks coffee in the very building that explains their so called “subaltern histories.” ; both are equally imprisoned under the industrial capitalist complex that seeks to validate their lives while the master has tricked both of it’s slaves, giving them expectations of a divine award that they take to be true.

We see the wooden crutches supporting the lifeless beast before the steel heals and grows, it’s capitalist veins and nerves gaining it’s eventual vigour and vitality. The construction site for me is an appropriation of human nature condensed as the steel and cement cools and tighten, smothering the ones inside as they come to live under it’s corporeal impenetrability. The site is also a capitalist mystique that ensnares the human subject by making it forget the wooden crutches it very much needed to be materially made in the first place; it seduces the class oblivious subject to accept a capitalistic permanence with it’s irreversible grandeur and splendor. The construction site is a fable whose master designs it for all of us to find a religious truth in it, the hiding of the labour, the sweat and it’s original form is essential to maintain that mystery. When the site will be made, just like the forgotten wood and labour, the new building will be seen as the divine intervention of the capitalist mafia, the ‘already present’ unknowable that relies on the act of our deliberate forgetting which maintains it’s dominant allure. The construction site, is the other that we choose to forget, see or share, as the abject conditions under which it is made, can then

be luxuriously forgotten.

I also found that in a large number of pop cultural texts, the solitude of a construction site is also a domain of eccentric sexual encounters, and emo fantasies that absolve us of our touch with human sociality, and just escape to a zone where human contact is null and void. The construction site, especially when it reaches a perpetual halt, also becomes a site of meditative sexuality and innate thought. It becomes a non-human zone, for misanthropic fantasies that the current structures of humanity, i.e. the completed buildings, do not provide. Hence just like the continuum of culture and nurture reaches an epic halt, the contradictions of space and value in construction sites as both opaque and see through, the inhabitable vs the future habitable, the naturalistic vs the modern then becomes this aporia within which these tropes are experienced by the existentialist and the doubting human subject. Perhaps every time I see a construction site, adjacent to a fancy building, I see the sweat, labour and seclusion of the poor, the artifice of capitalism, and the undeserved privilege within which I silently watch, as I mourn my own complicity and repulsion from it. The construction site, much like an abandoned dungeon, much like a ominous laboratory, much like any other radical mystical and mysterious space, makes me feel queer and experimental. The construction site is the mingling of different worlds, while as we know, it’s potential outcome will lead to it’s very eventual elimination of such pluralities and differences. The construction site offers to me, a queer space that tessellate a void that allows us to purge our assumptions about spaces, people, relationships and sexuality. It alternates between being a habitable space, to a space that allows for subversive and perverted acts to exist. It also shows us that the people whose blood and sweat we refuse to acknowledge, are very much theirs, and that their material labour will never be commensurate with the rewards that they get. You will always see a construction site closed with green tapered sheets and a corporate’s sigil denoting that the space is bought. It doesn’t want you to know you can exist outside of pretty buildings. It does not want you to imbibe within our aesthetics, the standards of beauty and life that our ancestors enjoyed before us, when the smiles around their faces didn’t come from corporate affiliations or money made from paper, but sharing bodies, thoughts and prayers that collectivized within us a unity. The capitalist works to hide these unities by using beautiful structures as tools of distraction. The construction site, for me, then becomes a counter tool that unsubscribes us of our complicities with finding beauty within finished and polished art. Like most abandoned spaces, the site is thus a queerness that transcends the illusion of our comforts and an indifference of stark reality. The construction site is thus, an exhibition of the oppressed, couched in the indifference generated by my own complicities and privileges, as the aporia that we experience, a cognitive dissonance marked by the dialectical clash of our inner conflicts and hidden identities, an open synchronic space open to radical possibilities but is a diachronic inevitability which will close the portals, as the capitalist life awakens, mark the tragic wake of a queer, contradictory and a whimsical world.

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Sleep is a voluntary void

Humans spend one third of their daily lives in sleep. I wonder why do we sleep? Suddenly, in the midst of everyday pursuit and rush, your body needs a sanctum to rest upon, a place to lay bare all your thoughts, dreams, anxieties and pleasures in a yawn induced unconsciousness. Your eyes tire, they start to burn with a tired radiance, and demand them to be closed as you descend into an erotic zone of absolute levitation into the mental plane where all presence is lost. It’s akin to alcohol, a kiss, an orgasm, a high. I wonder if sleep is another form of hedonism we indulge to run away from a deeper struggle; not just that of the physical and sensual, but psychological and mental.

This state of utter lawlessness, and chaos is unleashed as I shut my eyelids and gear up for a flight into the unknown, the world which is then painted as the black hole within which all the ordeals of the present, the traces of the past and the fears of the future do a savage dance; a serious choreography of the individual minds darkest despairs and kinkiest desires, or sheer stupidities that do not find meaning in the present world. I think dreams are the voluntary voids of a repressed universe that never found it’s material reality in the present; it is a secret that is unspeakable, unknowable and untranslatable.

Sometimes I wonder, is sleep just a restoration of the body, or is the restoration of the psyche, spirit and body as a collective function of the holistic undoing of the human load, the replenishment of the entire system, as a whole? If the mind needs to rest in order to function, then can a rested mind need the ordeal called sleep? The distinction between wanting to maintain the boundaries of mental and physical causes and effects do not make sense when the monk doesn’t sleep for months but meditates for hours, keeping intact his metaphysical presence while discovering his unconscious absence. Is sleep then, a disguised devil of denial that prevents a confrontational breakdown with the self? Is it the illusory dance of the unconscious that keeps at bay the truth of our failures as people? Or the unbearable heft of our nostalgia, and innocuous memories that attach to our bodies like tentacles forever weighing us down? I wonder if the sleepless monk never has to think about it, which restores him with the energy to then not survive on sleep. I wonder if I subject myself to the same scrutiny as the monk does, that I survive.

But as I struggle to get my body to sleep itself into an oblivion of unconsciousness, I feel that I am but too tired, withered, destroyed and torn apart. The dread called life depends upon using energies, but it also ends up draining them in the very process of it’s expenditure. Some people sleep to unwind and call it a night, I sleep to numb and exorcise the trauma of the everyday to find it’s eventual burial in the sea of the dead unconscious. I sleep because the world as it were, suddenly condenses the vast sweeps of my imagination to the will of my tired body, a vessel that I inhabit to enable myself to project these thoughts. Sometimes I wonder I existed sans the body, will I still need sleep? If scientific cognitive function is the realm of the body, then is sleep but a reminder of how the mind is subservient to the grace of the body, and by extension my shallow and brittle physical existence. I feel that body and mind thus, function in a continuum that forever work as parallels to bring a kind of humanly unison and balance. Just like the relationship between sleep a as a form of the conscious and wakefulness as a form conscious are needed to perform the functions of consciousness.

Finally, I would just like to say that I love to sleep. But sleep doesn’t love me. Because it never wants me when I need it. And it wants to appear exactly when I don’t. I think this tug of war is but a representation of my own life as a story of misplaced desires, thoughts, and expectations; it’s a series of unmatched disparities that forever wreck the insides of my soul. My relationship with sleep too, is one such misunderstanding that I create due to the walls that my brittle and fragile body, and a damaged mind create.

I wish I could transcend these boundaries and find parities within a world that could reciprocate what I felt, how I felt, and where I felt. I feel that the answer to my concerns for a good sleep, has something to do less with my body, and mind alone, and more about my body and mind together, as both constituting each other’s gaps till I catch a sleep I can wake up from, with a smile in my face, and a warmth in my heart. I wish to sleep, like a baby, with nothing to lose, and nothing to give. Just pure, nonchalant, stoic, absent bliss. The kind where you are in a historical amnesia, and sensations are numbed to an anesthetic euphoria. People say sleep is a platform for unwoven stories and beautiful dreams; I think sleep is a voluntary void, a dreamless silence that absorbs all the burdens of a dream that we work towards achieving in the present. Dreams are made in the presence, sleep merely reconciles them in the absence. Just like the sleepless monk, I wish to be absolutely absent, in order to be resolutely present.

Mark me

Mark me red.

You see how scarlet every letter, every phrase, and every line of yours sounds, feels, and looks. 

When you mark me, I feel you penetrating my mind, body and soul. Devilishly devouring me in all my masochistic growls, I await when you will stop but love when you don’t.

Your inscription writhes my body in pain, and pleasure; turns my pale skin red. It marks within me, the strokes of your desires and conquests; you are an invasion I planned you think you did.

This red which bleeds and gushes and scatters all over the silver blue clouds; turns my entire world into a temperate underworld that only spreads as we collide your storm and my earthly destruction.

Like your bright red ink gliding all over my paper, I feel an opposition that was meant to be a unity of life and death, energy and soul, distance and depth, space and time.

You left your mark, and now I denote. I feel human, and you feel god. You are a god because I’m human. You’re the dark and I’m the light. A top because I’m a bottom. You are the bottom because I make you an illusion of a top. Your power is my weakness, and my weakness your power. You fall harder than I will when you drop from the height you so revel in.

So please mark me red, because I love being worn out, defeated, shattered and ripped. I love how you marking me makes you feel like I am the perfect recipient, the best empty vase, the lucky template, the deserving slate.

Because your marks, are history, lessons and mistakes, and pain and trauma and sorrow. I’m the void, the capacious orifice that sucks in all your chaos, and turns it into a solace and embrace ever bright.

Real power is the power that resilience and submission holds, captures and renders in a soft touch. While you drain yourself, I collect your ego and set it to burn inside my tough walls. You’re the heat, the passion, the desire, and I’m the attention, the attraction, and the recipient.

You’re red ink is a disguise; it’s your red ink that once finishes, when I see your fragile, small, quivering soul searching for love. It’s the red shield that I wish to penetrate, when you are tired penetrating me.

What you are, is a man in blue denims, holding a pen that disguises you as the man who speaks red. But I am red, marked with your disguise, with the knowledge, that I can see you blue. I’m the secret you did not want to share, except when you spilled your ink, all over me.

So mark me red, so I can finally uncover hues of  your blue, in your denims and that bulge, that red ink of yours, tries so desperately, to hide.