I USED TO
Andrea Coyotzi Borja
(b. 1984, México)
Artist based in Helsinki. Her artistic practice focuses on the subject of the quotidian and its relationship to the artistic event. This developed to her current research on the Infraordinary in her Doctoral studies at Aalto University. Her artwork has been exhibited in different countries such as México, United States, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, and Finland.
Days pass me by. Many full of work, others have gone without knowing if the hours were even there. One day like next, some things here, there, closer or further but always within a mile of reference. Not even sure what miles are; I have heard of Miles Davis. Still, the other one, the kind that measures without real attachment for me, who knows, probably is in my head from all the movies and TV series I have watched, books and memes I have read, and everything that is around and in-between. Every time I wonder upon myself, I get lost. I cannot find myself or who I am, here and now. It's like trying to watch my face without a mirror, and all I can do is watch my body, my hands, my legs, torso, every bit and crevasse. But that only takes me so far as to know that I have the image of a body. I reflect upon my days, what I have done, left undone, what I have felt and fail to communicate, what I have thought and put in my mental swamp, what I have wondered and left behind; left behind not as overcoming but as someone who has missed the bus because I am too busy to stop. Every time the same, wondering how I am and not knowing until I realise I'm someone else. I can't ever see what is under my feet while I am standing. It is only when I am gone from that spot that I realise there was a flower patch after all. Or, maybe, that I just have stepped into some shit and I have to check my shoes because oh boy, it stinks!
I have always been interested in the things one encounters. I have no interest in the chase. At least not in the kind that goes hand to hand with new experiences. I like being after things that leave a scent behind for me to trace. Following certain unknowingness that pulls me from within and drags me willingly. I love that. I love the thrive and the impulse that that something that I-don't-know-what-it-is-but I-have-to-go-towards-that makes me feel.
Having that said, and coming back to the subject of the matter: me. One day, like any other, like those with not knowing if the hours were even there, I bumped into an email that I sent to a friend (Eva Pavlic Seifert). The email was titled "Theme'd email (play first link before starting to read)". The email is as the title says a themed email. The theme of the email? Banjos. Why? Why not (and also I don't remember why). If I would have to guess, I probably came across this clip from the movie Deliverance in which Billy Redden (Lonnie) and Ronny Cox (Drew Ballinger) have a banjo duel. The scene is fantastic, the sound symphony of everyday sounds opens for this incredible banjo performance and mixes it to create a concert within the quotidian. There is no event set, no schedule, no previous intention but the one at the moment. And the sounds, the music the whole atmosphere created energises you and excites you beyond what I would ever think a banjo could do.
Anyhow, coming back to the subject of the matter: the email. I came across this email:
Theme'd e-mail ( play first link before starting to read)
Hello, and welcome.
You are the glad owner now of a 'Theme'd e-mail'
In this episode: The Banjo.
In here you will find some useful information about the bajo history, as well as the making, the owning and the performance of a banjo.
Please, relax and enjoy.
The making of a Banjo
The performance of a Banjo:
After reading that email, I went to see the other Theme emails I sent to other people. There is:
The seasons of the year: Summer
Have you ever noticed that if you take the G out of Grape it says Rape?
His name was James
And that is when, like the wind of a perfect Finnish winter hitting you in the face when you are hungover only to feel settled and a bit more human, a voice said in my head: I used to write Themed emails. I realised it has been two years since I wrote one. I didn't write many. The first one was written in 2014, the last one in 2018, I didn't write any in 2017. But that is not the point. The point was realising that I used to do something and I don't (or haven't) done it again, or anymore. It was reading the words of a past self and feeling what I felt then as if I could be that person once more. It was realising I am not that complete self anymore, I am someone else, still me, but different. In other words:
And then, it began. A list. A notebook. A-something, I realised.
I knew that those emails weren't the only thing different, or the only thing I used to and not anymore. That action reflected something of me then, and now. There are things I used to do, things I used to think, forms or ways I think I was, fears I have had, people that were with me, places I used to go. In the beginning, I tried thinking and only focusing on things that I think won't happen again, or that are gone for good. But then I got tired of my own rule, of pushing myself to only one side of the equation and ran free with the list (I used to not give myself these freedoms).
I know this list is not over (if it ever would be), but the audio file you can listen to in the website of the Pori Biennale is where this list is at as for today 29th of April 2020. The images on the website are from Reposaari, that bird tower is the place where, in 2013, when I was there, I focused on one of the activities we were doing. What I did then, and what this is now, has no direct relation in many ways. Just as who I was then and who I am now owe nothing to one another.