I can hear the glass crack and shatter under my feet as I walk, a constant reminder of the care needed as I take each step but also equal parts a reminder of the precariousness that comes with taking a step, particularly in the forward direction. There’s new ground ahead of you and therefore more to break. I walk with my newfound appreciation of the destructive power in each step, the awareness of the damage I’m causing puts me at ease, I feel an inability to protect the glass so I don’t fret. I make it to my destination, it’s a door to a room marked C418. Here it is.
There isn’t much in here just a large table with what seems to be a model of a large city on it, an old film camera from the PANAVISION era on a tripod in one corner of the room and finally a small cumulus cloud, hovering near the opposite corner of the room. A fluffy, inviting, and most of all real cloud. I approach examine the collection of air and gas, in all honesty wondering if it’s going to rain in here because of this cloud. It seems alive, alive in the way coral are alive, alive in a way that I simply don’t understand; It has stillness to its life that I envy.
I circle the room and turn my attention to the table, there’s a table with model versions of buildings, parks, cars, people and roads. Completely colorless but also alive, this is a scene that has been paused-it wasn’t made to stay in this state. It’s in the middle of a city-wide motion; an individual person acting in a city is not a lone isolated phenomenon no more than a wave is an isolated phenomenon but instead the wave is something that the entire ocean is doing.
Last but not least is the film camera, I walk around to look into the viewfinder. Everything looks the same as when I looked at it outside of this camera, however I notice something profound when I point the camera at the city on the table. The city comes alive. The citizens walk along the streets, they converse together, hold one another. I see aspects of violence and displays of love and affection. Cars whizz by and lights flicker on and off. People shuffle around to get from point A at the park to point B at the bank. It’s mesmerising. There seems to be more than just an intrigue that ties me to this city; it really does feel like a part of me. This feels important. These people, these buildings, this collection of things. It’s all important.
I tear my eye away from the eyepiece. I couldn’t say how long I was attached to it. It feels unreal now that the city is inanimate again. However simply being the observer was empowering. I notice the glass below my feet, all of the pieces of fragile glass under me. All intact. Unlike outside in the dark when I’m constantly aware of my inability to control myself in regards to all the fragility around me, but inside C418 I had the control. The glass didn’t break. I never even noticed but I can walk in here and the glass doesn’t break. I have control inside C418.