“sounds like symphony chirps and trucks and gentle rise of nearby bandsaw/ shoes on pavement, familiar caws.
numb numb numb/ freezing sun/ mid-block, shady side/ flash of light, hair to wind, nose in scarf. squint to see and dark again. you get the idea. up on the curve.
shit/ backstep/ many pedigree dogs. and coffee, too.
missed one/ but i’ll have to miss a few for sanity’s sake/ paint it grey. these ones are all 15s.
and now i’m on the right side.”
Neil is incredible. Always impeccably dressed. Shiny bald head, he smooths back what little hair he has left. Round spectacles. Always a collar, a tie, a sweater, a coat, and often times a scarf. A colourful, patterned scarf that would billow were we standing in the wind. And he laughs like an artistic genius. Whatever you think that sounds like.
Our current task is to “map” the city – somehow. Find a continuous theme, a route, an object. Any medium, so long as we’re using pencil or pen. Make a narrative. The ideal map is random, he says. ok.
Stacey and I follow him to the cafe 10 minutes into class, to chat about ideas over some tea/latte/orangemangospritzer. I’ve got a few questions, but really, I just want to hang out with this guy. You’re looking all professor-like, Neil. Says the man waiting at the counter, wearing sunglasses. What are you doing in the neighborhood? Well, these are my students, I’m teaching just down the street. He introduces himself. Hi, I’m Jeff. Gala, nice to meet you. Hi, I’m Jeff. Stacey. Well, got to run, in the middle of a shoot. Bye Neil!
Photographer? I ask my prof. Well, yeah… he responds without hesitation. That was Jeff Wall.