Those Windows Left Open
Daniel C. Blight
Written to accompany As You Walked in the Room: Jonathan Murphy.
Installation view, As You Walked in the Room: Jonathan Murphy, Chandelier Projects
Those windows left open? They’re not a cause for resentment. The cold gets in and for a second you are reminded of an outside.
I begin with a section of wall. It’s not as smooth as it should be but it is well finished at its edges. Press a hand and you’ll feel it, part chalky, part damp; like nothing else that comes to mind, apart from perhaps the unanticipated similarity offered by a quick, flat-palmed touch of a freshly wiped blackboard. It’s strange how two things of dissimilar colour evoke comparable, tactile effects.
Matisse’s painting La Porte-fenêtre à Collioure (1914) contains a black wash at its centre. It represents something figurative, a view to the outside. However, in this particular image Matisse was reminded of an outside not in figurative terms, but instead through a blanket of black depicting extreme, bright light. Let’s say it belongs to Matisse. I’m open to the idea that abstractions are there to be claimed. When private property is abolished it will be the abstract paintings that disappear first. Mark my words.
Ownership is a cause for rioting and jeans are a comfortable clothing for those pursuits. You can run the length of the street in a pair of jeans, sweat into them, spill gravy, wipe sticky fingers and fold them up again.
Blue is the colour of restfulness in my mind. Green is the colour of moss, algae, glass; rarely envy.
For almost a decade the man had taken the same route to work: left on to Ferris Road, up a while past the house with its door always open, but never a window, and then a quarter of a mile right and up the high street; an amble from the predictability of domestic space, in all its routines and astrictions, to the monotony and tedium of work. A place you have to accept, mostly reluctantly, unless you are one of the lucky few that maintain a desk by the window in the office.
One morning, on a cold January, the man is called to attention by a glance from another gentleman emerging from the house with the open door.
The two men’s eyes meet awkwardly, as you do when it’s cold and you’re hurrying somewhere. One moment of silence was followed by another. Recognition failed and the walk to work continued. Such is the trouble when all your windows remain closed.
A rioter’s helmet provides protection from the cold. It also creates a barrier between one’s head and the truncheon wielded by the armed wing of the state. A brick can break a window and when it does it closes inside and outside together. It is said we are separated so we can be protected. It is not said however, that we should be kept ignorant, in the dark, in order to remain safe.
We know, in that moment, something is wrong. In the following moment a chance beckons.