You can’t promenade alone - foreword Written by Natasha Matila-Smith

Mane 25 Oketopa

Monday 25 October


I’ve done a lot of strange things that were driven by moments of loneliness.

I like to refer to song lyrics to title my own work. It’s not a particularly unique methodology but the lyrics for In e Flesh, to me, posited an interesting predicament. ‘Your picture ain’t enough’ aroused the relics of relationships— ose that can’t be touched, the intangible. ‘I can’t wait to touch you in the esh’ implied a physical body and a very present physical urge. e word ‘ esh’, however, brings to mind gore and something urgently anatomical. In my mind, the association isn’t romantic.

‘I can’t wait to see you
Your picture ain’t enough
I can’t wait to touch you in the esh’In e Flesh (1976), Blondie

At the time of conceiving this exhibition I was thinking a lot about love and desire and where the origins of our feelings lie. I thought about the varying and obsessive qualities that accompany desire— e overwhelming and unreasonable desire to articulate the intangible as though you’re going to burst, the way that public and private desire manifests in an online space, and the ways in which technology has impacted intimacy.

I don’t want to have a conversation about the e ects of social
media, but I think there is something strange about modern courtship,
something driven by capital, perhaps? As I write this, my friend has
messaged me through Facebook, an article titled, ‘Former Facebook
executive: social media is ripping society apart’. ‘Former vice-president of user growth, expressed regret for his part in building tools that destroy ‘the social fabric of how so- ciety works’ (1). ‘Your behaviors, you don’t realise it, but you are being programmed,” he said. I recall talking to friends for hours on end on the landline telephone, yet now I will avoid answering a call from a number I don’t know.

Each of the writers in this publication attempt to somehow address the
complexities of relationships and desire. Talia Smith talks about sexual desires, fantasising not only about the physical touch but also predicting the inevitable demise of the imagined tryst. e self-determined prophecy seems somewhat guarded, with Smith deciding upon the outcome in her head before seeing it enact in reality.
JM Francis weaves personal tales through a deliberate aesthetic composition, discussing moments of isolation and as if recalling in mid-conversation, the recounts are fragmented and jump from moment to moment. Faith Wilson describes falling in love as an a iction, one which she is burdened (or perhaps blessed) with, akin to the life cycle of a rose. In another poem, she asks a series of questions albeit rhetorical—a note to self of the pressures that one places upon the relationship to the self. In the poem Kaleidoscopes, Tayi Tibble likens boys to collapsing stars, and of everyone in this publication, the experiences she narrates are the most foreign to me, but that’s what I love about her work. Her work here is kind-of dark, kind-of beautiful and kind-of rebellious.

I’ve done a lot of strange things that were driven by moments of loneliness. I’m sure, a lot of others have too. Concepts of being ‘alone’ or being ‘happy’ are held above us by some invisible entity, like bait, causing us to act in ways we wouldn’t imagine. I was watching Felicity on YouTube the other day and it seemed to work out for her— following her high school crush to university on a whim and then enrolling in classes that she knew he was in so that she could be closer to him. I mean, at rst, he was mad, but by the conclusion of the show, they were a couple.

Natasha Matila-Smith