As a response to Sophia Bartholomew’s resolute parka, I’ve made myself a protective garment from the envelopes of feathers resulting from the very beginning stage of faisan. This cuirass is to be worn during solitary performances of the everyday, the artistic, and the mundane activities that mark my private time. It is to be a brace against avoidance or inertia, and as a celebration of work and leisure.
Yesterday morning I wore the cuirass for a run. Struggling this month to get going in the (beautiful) studio during this (self-imposed) residency, running is once again a reassuring spring practice. Just as it was to run along moss flocked roads in rural France when I started this project.
I first headed down the dirt road, actually named Back Road, but remembered to go back for the cuirass. When I returned to the studio to put on the strange garment, I decided I’d be less self-conscious if I ran through the woods behind the property. As I entered the woods path, there was a unmistakable noise and flutter. Out of the bush lifted a pheasant, colourful in his regalia. As I ran, laughing and blessed on my route, I noticed the sound of my hand running downwards across the envelopes of feathers now covering my torso; satisfyingly similar to that of the pheasant’s launch. I lept joyfully across fallen wood on a dappled trail. Braced.
After hardly using my french for three years, here I go again, struggling through a radio interview for Radio-Canada. Ouf, have a listen! I’m so grateful for the kind words and editing/animating efforts of Joël and Nathalie.
But they always had a special place in their hearts for the big basket of feathers. They returned there for nights of love. The feathers were completely unsorted. There were long black turkey feathers and goose plumes, white and slick, which tickled their ears when they turned over. They sank into duck down as though it were cotton wool. There were light hen feathers, golden and speckled, which rose in a cloud with each breath they exhaled looking like a jumble of flies in the sunlight. In the winter they also slept in the purple of pheasants, the ashen gray of larks, in the silky plumage of grouse, quail, and thrushes.
The feathers seemed to still be alive, warm with their scent, and they brushed the children’s lips with the quiver of wings and the warmth of a nest. To them, the feathers felt like the great broad back of an enormous bird on which they rested, which swept them away as they swooned in each other’s arms.
In the morning, Marjolin looked for Cadine, lost at the bottom of the basket, as though buried in new-fallen snow. Disheveled, she climbed up, shook herself, emerging from a cloud. A few feathers always stuck to her bun.
The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola