Sealed with a Kiss, w/ Sofia Pia Belenky, published on O Fluxo
A common custom of drawing a cross or X at the end of a letter was placed to demonstrate faithfulness. A kiss was then placed upon the cross to take an oath. The intimacy of the spit mailed to another as exchange.
Vomiting "liquor amnii", a delicate mix of water, nutrients, bits of DNA, often even excrement, out of our newborn lungs in the moment of birth – our relationship to body liquids has been troublesome ever since. The humorist tradition as a model of health developed by the Greek "Father of Medicine" Hippocrates and later by Galen (129–216 AD) dominated the notion of a body in permanent flux up until the 18th century. It understood the regulation of vital bodily fluids – blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and "black bile" – as a necessity to keep the body in a healthy condition, while an imbalance in the mixture produced temperament and disease. With the scientific linking of menstruation to fertility, self-control became a distinctly public virtue. Ejaculating, bleeding, spitting is met with condoms, tampons, masks. Leaking bodies are stigmatized as a threat, the inability to control a leaky body becomes troubling if not even endangering the continuity of public health.
"Sealed with a Kiss" is a collection of exchanges that reveal an intimate journey on a search for new love languages and sexual desire in the time of Covid-19. Inextricably interwoven with the vulnerability of the body, these fictional love letters are written and rejected before even reaching their destination.
I enter the small room of the Panamerican Kitchen. It is already quite late, the kitchen is about to close. A cloud of metallic fat is hanging in the air; fat they only use for Panamerican food when the vegan delivery had a shortage. You immediately caught my attention. You are sitting at a small plastic table, a glass of cheap scotch and a plate with left-over heads of sucked king prawns in front of you. You are slightly bending over the table. In a permanent back and forth you are fighting with wisps of your long blond hair that permanently keep falling into your face. Push back. Fall. Push back. Fall. I like the graceful rhythmic movements of your fingers fondling the glass panel of your smartphone. You seem to be far away. I make a step towards you. [11:46:20 pm]: "Nice pic." [11:47:33 pm]: "Intriguing romantic eyes.. sweet clever deep... submissive but independent. A kinky mind behind those eyes. I tried to describe part of your erotic shade you have in that picture." You giggle. Your teeth are straight. Something unusual in this city. Your hair caresses your cleavage. I think I love you. [11:41:06 pm]: "Nice smile, hair and height. You look warm and positive How are you today?" Toilet flushing. Light flashing. You don't look up. Instead your hair continues seesawing back and forth. The movement of your fingers changed. Now your thumb rhythmically wipes the screen from right to left, right to left, right to left. Then left to right. And then again right to left, right to left, right to left... You are incredibly fast. Then you switch back to an irregular pattern. I observe you for a while. The room is empty. Besides both of us all the other guests have left already. The waiter polishes wine glasses with a holey kitchen towel. I position myself closer to you. This will crop away my unattractive parts from your field of vision. My way too skinny legs. My bad taste. I twist my head a bit to create the right incidental angle for the light in this room to sculpt the most beautiful parts out of my face while hiding the ugly scar on my left cheek in shadow. I come intensely close. [11:58:20 pm] "Hey, thought I'd try a question to break the ice. If you could travel to any country in the world, where would you go and why?" You don't look up. No response. No reaction on my inept advance. I start to panic. I like animals, but unfortunately animals are not allowed in the Panamerican Kitchen. You could otherwise see kittens balancing on my head, dogs licking my face, or me cuddling an ostrich. I know that everyone else is doing that. It's cute. You might have liked it. I open my business case. I am a journalist. You can see me on Aljazeera. I have a degree from Cambridge. Here, I am also on youtube. I will send you the links later. I want to meet you. I close it again. You seem to be absorbed in finger movement. [11:42:08 pm] "laters, James" [11:55:44 pm] "Michael (American)" [11:45:39 pm] "xoxoxo Jason" I leave the Panamerican Kitchen.
Imagine yourself in a dark space. Without any point of visual reference or sensory clues, how do you know if you are either floating, or forever falling? And now imagine: without any notion of change, how do you know the duration of the moment you are living in?
Welcome to the Island of Eternal Life, orbiting around the vast empty ocean of planet Earth. With no notion of passage of time its inhabitants are adapting to their belief system of stasis: moments of no-change, stringed together to infinity. History is nullified by a permanent loop of amnesia. Its inhabitants are in a happy state of pre-birth. The illusion of eternity turns into reality. One day, the Island of Eternal Life meets the Island of Ultimate Beauty. This occurrence introduces ‘The Different’, and begins what some called ‘The Great Encounter’, others ‘The Ending’.