Queer Geography workshops were organized by Lasse Lau in Copenhagen, Tijuana and Beirut. The pictures above were taken in Copenhagen (2006) and Tijuana (2007). A preview of the book is available here.
Exercise in smelling
Bring the tips of your sprawled fingers together, so that the hand is shaping a bud. Whatever smell and odor left traces on the hand before will now appears concentrated at the top of the bud. There it can smack of old deep-fry fat so intensely that you seem to be in a stuffy dinner even though the place you had lunch at wasn’t smelling bad at all. Or, maybe you just had sex and didn’t wash your hands afterwards to remind yourself of the exhilarated body of the other even hours later. That’s why walking on the street and take a smell at your fingertips is a sudden creation of a private space within the public. It’s building a temporary cell of intimacy. In case somebody else is sniffing at your fingers the invisible membrane is becoming permeable and the whole metaphor of the cell vanishes into thin air. Did the fingers held a joint before, the leftovers of the sweet smell gather in the bud. Then the act of turning your hand into a bud turns into a police intervention. In this case the fingers are isolated from the body as a piece of evidence, but this procedure can be inverted as well, so that the fingers of the policeman become the carrier of evidence. It’s told, that if you are suspected of doing cocaine, the policeman puts his finger in your nose to taste the thus taken smear in his own mouth. If it taste bitter, the illegal usage is considered proofed.
It is a spiral of trails made out of concrete, which leads me high above the street. The cars are caught up in a traffic jam. They want to go in the opposite direction. Up here the flow of people is moving as fast as it is possible without actually running. The only obstacles you meet with are the two big steel revolving doors. Due to a simple and cheap mechanism of a short stick of steel, which can only be moved in one way, it is not possible to go through from the other side. In case you are coming from the right side, the sound of steel hitting steel confirms your entry. This sound doesn’t stop close to the gate on the other side later in the night. I hear it when I fall asleep, when I wake up and in between. The piece of steel doesn’t stop to hit the steel. Sometimes of course its rhythm is faster, sometimes it is slower, but the time-out is never long enough to forget about the presence of the passing bodies.