Saturday, 8 August 2009


Shit I Keep In My Office

by Daniel Poeira

My office is a small room in an apartment, measuring a mere 2x2 meters. I spend most of my time sitting by the computer - like a hunchback - enclosed by vast amounts of stuff; some of it is useful, some of it crap collected over the years. When I'm working, I have this physical sensation of being surrounded and compressed by... things, of all sorts.

An electric guitar is sitting by my side. It has a Bob Marley sticker on it, but I scraped off the letters b-o-b-m-a-r-l-e-y and left only the words "One Love". The sticker was on an old notebook which I gave to my father, but he peeled the sticker off of it. He said he didn't want any "pot smoker" stickers on his stuff. He is a big fan of The Beatles. Perhaps he still thinks they never smoked it.

I keep a guitar in my office at all times, because you never know when you’re going to need some music on something. Today I was editing a video and it needed 90 seconds of background lounge music. I composed and recorded it in a few minutes, and the job was done. No need to pay for music when you can make your own. Do it yourself. I learned that from the punks. There is a Ramones Zippo lighter over my desk. It's not a real Zippo, but it's got the fucking Ramones on it.

Next to the lighter, there is a pack of paper matches, the kind of matches they give away in restaurants. I thought they didn't make those anymore, but I went to a very expensive barbecue joint and they had some there, so I picked it up, even though I don't smoke. My wife has been smoking lately, bumming fags from friends. I think she is nervous about our adult life. I also see a d20, a stray paintbrush, 5 mini-DV tapes, 3 discarded credit cards, a roll of duct tape, a single chopstick and a pink plastic sword - the kind you use to decorate a rum-based cocktail. I asked for a more manly color, but the waitress ignored me, the bitch.

A chrome guitar slide, a wi-fi USB antenna, a web-cam: my desk is a junkyard of digital bullshit. We knew the web-cam image would suck and the wi-fi antenna is too weak, but we bought it anyway. I bought the antenna for my wife - her PC is in our bedroom - but the signal was weak, so I bought 25 meters of blue LAN wire and nailed it onto the wall, connecting her PC to our router. Now her connection is great, but I have this 70$ piece of digital junk in my desk and I have no idea what to do with it.

My desk is depressing me, so I leave it and try to work on my drawing-board. First thing I notice: clean underwear and socks on top of everything. Bad sign. I throw them inside the wardrobe. They were hiding a pile of books, mostly sci-fi and fantasy stuff. I wonder if I'll ever have the time to read them. There is also a roll of cotton string, a lot of bills (probably unpaid), a pair of black woolen gloves, a paintbrush case, an empty cigar box, and some Nerds candy. There is a box with a Speedball inking plate. I always buy printmaking materials, but always find an excuse not to use them. There is a hole puncher and 3 different peg bars, all of different standards. I wonder if any of them fit the puncher standard. Probably not.

Trying to keep it together. Maybe the other side of the room will be less stressful. I trip over two plastic guitars on the floor that I used to play Rock Band and Guitar Hero. There is also a flip-flop. I am unable to determine whether it's the flip or the flop. There are also some pages of a comic book I don’t even remember drawing. It is 7 years old and I can’t remember what the text was supposed to be, so there are all these drawings and I have no idea how to make sense out of them. There is an empty paper bag. My collection of crappy microphones. A harmonica in the key of C.

Toolboxes. Audio cables. Cymbals. A big roll of black wire so big it doesn't fit inside of anything. Two pairs of pants, folded over an old book. It's a good book; I wonder what it's doing on the floor under two pairs of pants? Pieces of a broken 1960s guitar I have never had the time to restore.

Empty Shoe boxes. Plastic bags. A bass guitar and its amp. A needle and three colours of thread in the same roll. Three different kinds of tweezers. Another lighter. 17 different kinds of black felt markers. 3 different grades of Koh-i-Noor mechanical pencil leads. I love Czech office supplies.

Paper. A lot of paper. Blank sheets of all sizes, qualities, weights, colours: white and cream. A Felix the Cat key chain. What doors do these keys open? A roll of Kodak Verichrome. This must have been exposed 30 years ago. I wonder if it's still possible to develop it and what's in it? Next to it, there is a single frame of 35mm color film. It's a man, dressed up as Santa Claus, standing next to a Christmas tree, with a strange look in his eyes. I found it on the sidewalk, in front of a clinic for recovering drug addicts. I think the Santa on the picture is one of the patients.

It's funny how a simple room stuffed with stupid objects can contain so many memories and ideas. Maybe ideas are the opposite of memories. Memories are thoughts of the past, and ideas are thoughts for the future. Memories look back, while ideas make projects for a future that is still yet to be. But no matter which side you look, all you have to live in is your present. What is the name we have for the thoughts we have in and for the present?

Maybe my office is not so small at all. Physically, yes, but life is larger than the mere atoms we live in. There are way too many memories and ideas flowing in the air. Stories, waiting to be told.

I look to my right and see a paper mask. It is the head of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Daniel Poeira is a PhD student from Brazil, working in the field of Production and Criticism of Moving Images at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, where he also teaches animation. At night, while the city sleeps, he creates stories, images and sounds, fueled by ancient herbs and enchanted potions, driven by a force yet to be named or explained.

No comments:

Post a comment