When I Was Done Dying
Shia Conlon & Minjee Hwang Kim
Text by Paola Jalili
i can still feel how my thumb and index finger crawl at the thought of having to touch them again. white, plastic, shiny and opaque at the same time. the buttons of my primary school uniform, a pale blue shirt of synthetic fabric i had to wear every day. it is as if i was buttoning them up again, and that feeling of disgust has not disappeared.
i had a polly pocket collection, but my favorite one was an aquatic-themed house that looked like a spa. there was a bath (or a jacuzzi?) in the center, and a general feeling of pleasure being above everything else. the hue of the blue was dark, and it made it seem like daytime would never come. a glittery semitransparent plastic pocket in the shape of a bottle of perfume. i wanted to be inside it for the rest of my life.
a sequin dress i bought for my eighteen-birthday party. the floor got wet and i slipped. a guy from my high school who was not really my friend caught me, and in doing so held me by my armpits. he later said how he had to wipe all of my sweat from his hands. i cringe(d).
the cheapest most useless fair toys were the ones i desired the most. disposable objects with bright colors that i wanted to touch, to bite, to bury my nails in their soft viscous polymeric surface. the same desire remains—thick heavy bright plastic still captivates my eyes and skin the most, even if i now know it’s bad for the planet.
at several “pivotal” moments of girlhood/adolescence/womanhood adults would gift me jewelry. bracelets and necklaces and earrings with pendants and charms (the word in spanish, dije, conveys more audibly how repulsive they felt, feel, and i can’t translate that). dijes i did not want to have swinging against my skin. i hid them all in a locked drawer in my closet.
i would sit by the lebanese (?) cabinet where my parents kept miniature figurines that i would rearrange and arrange for hours. the cabinet had metal, engraved walls, yet i don’t remember that bothering me or my fingers. i still wonder where that cabinet went, and what exactly were the figurines i so loved.
the iridescent stains on the metal poles of a slide, both beautiful and perturbing—how did they happen? i sometimes wanted to lick them. the paint-stripped, corroded tubes you had to hold to climb up the ladder, how the back of your thighs would stick to the slide as you came down, the balancing act you had to master to enjoy the game without burning your skin under the piercing sun heating the decayed metal. and the smell of that rusty, warm, sweaty playground.
Paola Jalili on kirjoittanut tekstin vierailtuaan Shia Conlonin ja Minjee Hwang Kimin When I Was Done Dying -näyttelyssä. Lue lisää näyttelystä.
Teksti on neljäs osa vuoden 2022 TITANIK julkaisua, joka toteutetaan uudessa muodossa. Kokeellisia kirjoittajia pyydetään tuottamaan teksti, joka resonoi kunkin näyttelyn kanssa. Tekstit julkaistaan näyttelyn aikana Titanikin nettisivuilla ja koottuna vuoden lopussa painettavana kirjasena. Sarjan aiemmat tekstit voi lukea täältä, täältä ja täältä.
Paola Jalili wrote the text after visiting Shia Conlon and Minjee Hwang Kim’s exhibition When I Was Done Dying. More info.
This text is the fourth contribution to this year’s TITANIK publication. Authors working with various forms of experimental writing are invited to produce a text responding to each exhibition. The contributions will be published on the website during the show, and later on as a booklet. Here, here, and here you can read the earlier contributions.