What triggers? What calls?
First movements, movings, stirring of activity in the stillness of the square.
Following – you take my eyes with you.
Wondering – where do you go?
No, I am not wondering about that. My attention stops as soon as you leave this frame.
It is like the square is a sheet of paper, movements are trajectories of drawn lines.
A spiderweb of itineraries taken.
Dense patterns of movement cross the corners and the edges, turning the diagrammed shape of the square gradually in the direction of an irregular hexagon, octagon, and so on, towards circle. Each route shaves off a section of the square, through the invisible trace of desire lines and short cuts.
Still no-one really crosses the centre of the square.
The wind makes other itineraries.
Tree blossom or leaf, fallen in the cracks catches the wind, is caught by the wind.
Pale yellow blooms to intense cerise edges. These small reminders of Spring now gathering on the crevices between the cobbles.
The wind brings animation. The blossom leaves look like small boats in a dense network of canals. A labyrinth of criss-crossing lanes and gullies.
Petal remnants gather in the corners between one cobble and another. Occasionally one breaks free and rolls with the wind across the square.
Circles of men in the cafes, meeting.
Gathering like the clustered petals and leaves.
A woman crosses the square with two hoola hoops, green and red.
A man in a checked shirt smokes, and the small child plays.
Brands try to pull my attention yet mostly fail. They have such a deadening effect on the square. Advertisements work through the pull of attention or of attraction. No not attraction, rather coercion. For attraction is a rather more fragile and fleeting experience – not so easy to control and predict. Advertisements work hard to tempt, seeking the formula that will best seduce. Branding is the most curious of advertisements – often just a name or sign. Names in giant letters marking out a territory.
Marking, naming. Yet the large branded names do not have the pull of attraction, in fact, rather they somehow repel, oppress. Suffocating signage at the edges of the square. Dead signs, incommunicable signs, like large shouts. Failing to call, failing to connect, failing to care. A noisy background none the less, difficult to ignore.
Rhythms of movement and of attention. The regular flap of the flag on the breeze, heals meeting stone, gull’s cry.
A young boy turns his head to look back at the ice-cream stall that he has just walked past.
Head turning. What is it to turn one’s head or have one’s head turned?
To turn one’s attention, the physicality of the turn.
Head turns and eye lines.
What patterns of attention?
Eyes pull the attention. At times it is as if the eyes have a will of their own, are so easily bored and restless, refusing to settle and still, always on the look-out for something else.
The ears hear, but can remain passive, receptive. Just hearing.
But the eyes somehow want to know, want to see more, want to get closer.
What is it?
What was it?
What is that?
Eyes and names.
Looking back, looking again.
Attention has a different register to this endless searching of the eyes. It draws one closer, holds the gaze steady. Still, is it attention that draws one closer, or the object of one’s attention or attraction? Which comes first attraction or attention? How is the draw of attention. Writing of attention?
My attention is pulled, or even absorbed by the act of writing. Writing stills me, allows me to begin to settle. Towards the attraction of this other realm, this page-realm, a space of blue lines on pale page. Uncluttered by all the signs and noise and dust and flapping flags and banners and branded names. An open space. A space opens in a space. It feels like the wind drops as I settle into the writing, the background noise somehow quietens. I can hear my own breath once more.
Writing and the body. Writing as a pathway back. There is too much in this space pulling at my attention, pulling at my attention without attraction. More like a sense of nag. Attention is easily scattered in manifold directions.
Hold still. Attend.
Attraction can unsettle, for it can sometimes feel like such a surface lure, the pull of immediate gratification, attention drawn this way and that, by one thing and then another.
Attraction does not lead to attention in this sense, but rather it is through attention that attraction blooms. Things becoming more attractive somehow through the bringing of attention, of care.
My experience is that is does not work the other way around. The pull of attraction, in fact, depletes or disperse or even confuses my attention, rendering it unsettled, indeed, unable to connect.
Connection and attraction.
To let attraction come through attention, not to seek it, not to chase it.
Attraction – all the games and tricks of seduction, all the devices and ruses of luring someone in. What rules of attraction, what operations and ploys.
The square seems to work against the laws of attraction – its frame somehow operates as a means of anti-desire. Trucks block the sight lines of café stall, obstructing them from view. Market stall seem isolated and abandoned, as though remaining long after closing time.
Suddenly the warm sun on my face. I close my eyes.
Not to follow this, but just to feel it.
Attention like the spreading warmth of the sun on my face.
To attend to the uniqueness of all things, to stay, to remain attentive.
Remaining attracted, remaining in connection.