MAP

Black Space Down

A new text by Stephanie Mann

Black space down. I force, I clamber in. Black space down. This has to happen now, later on in the day and I will fall asleep. 

I think I am here and I welcome it.

The black surface is present and it shares its colour with the surrounding space. You have been here before, and just as the body never questions its DNA, you know this place. Despite the presence of light from above, this pristine blackness is incomparable. Perhaps it is so because its very structure is an orchestration of well trained black holes which exist like circus fleas delicately absorbing surplus light in a constant, designed flow. Or perhaps not. Whatever it is, this surface is made to support heavy things, and the blackness, engineered as a neural tool to not distract from what will sit upon it. 

The thought-things this space will support boast such variety; everything which ever has existed and ever will exist, the real and the unreal, the noticed and the unnoticed, are welcomed in this place, existing non-hierarchically in an environment which allows for observation and contemplation. 

A sheet of glass appears, upright, like a window with no frame. You focus on its opacity, the slight cobalt tinge it whispers while making itself known. It smells like lemongrass, and your pendulum-like response of breathing out creates a fog upon the glass. Small droplets form amongst the mist as they join together, searching for a mate, and rest, like hand lotion on skin, caressing small voids you cannot see and don't know are there. With perfect support, the black surface catches a slab of rose quartz which falls on it with a thick thud.

You have seen this thought-thing before. Your focus shifts instinctively, with grace, from the opacity of the glass to its transparency as you look through it towards the slab, peppered by droplets of your hot breath residue. You remember the lemongrass smell. The smell memory becomes visual. It looks like lime green smoke, its shape; sausage, and it has a simple face with kind eyes. You observe as it glides towards the rose quartz, which now also has a face, and the two rub noses, sit and linger, make friends with each other. There is potential flirtation between these two so you keep an eye on them.

Now there are others in the black space: a grubby potato, and a grey plastic rectangle and that terrible sandwich meat in the shape of a cartoon bear, all of which are covered in a beige chalky dust. They appear and rapidly multiply as various alternative entities, individually making a popping noise, which you find funny but not funny enough to distract you from how rubbish these objects are. In an instant the black space is full of a mass of other thought-things, most of them really boring and annoying. The space begins to look like Lidl and you do not like this. Your cluttered eye struggles to rest on a subject
, there is no space for contemplation, it all becomes a breakfast buffet in a budget hotel and all you can focus on are the cold eggs. 

(A similar popping thing has happened in the past. You recall the arrangement with the flaming red ibis, the asparagus, pink paperclip and that mango, with fresh laser light which danced on the surface, directing the eye into rich relationship with the elements, as fun fan-fare, bright with excitement, flowed propitiously from the core of the objects, your eye a graceful lover and with destined consummation, birthing pale pink and lilac gemstones as tiny tokens of ecstasy. You remember that time? This is not that time.) 

A time passes and the surface looses it's solidity, turning to liquid, now thick and glossy, a luscious fluid, softly licking the air, as it mirrors the night sky on the tip of it's crests in a timeless, rhythmic pulse. With a chime of mental renaissance, something is pulling those previous objects downwards into the deep at varying speeds, differing in relation to their buoyancy and saturation rates. You rise upwards to taste the scene, there are no edges to this surface, its expanse whole and its atmosphere familiar. 

The boat is coming. You routinely anchor it with written word, changing its speed and path, but as usual, with each revisit, refining its sails, cementing its illustrative definition, furthering its evolution towards legend. A man on the boat asks: 'Where are the Maldives?' and you tell him you do not know. 

The surface, for now, acts as a membrane, a skin, beneath which the unknown. There have been times that thought-things have burst through, with power in their innards, from the lower layers, like rockets sent from a seabed, controlled and manufactured by what you can only express as some informed instinct. Dependent on your mood and the other objects present on the surface, you will either catch these bursting-through thought-things to examine and contextually place them with the others, or they dissolve from lack of attention, possibly to reform at an alternate time. There are no rockets today.

Stephanie Mann is an Edinburgh-based artist