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objects of desire | Vanessa Mitter, Amanda Houchen, Neil Haas, Katia Kesic, Henrietta MacPhee | Brixton Beneficiary Project Space

08/11/2019 - 17/11/2019


Every day I think of you. If not you, then something related to you. It might be anything.

There are times when nothing else is on my mind but you. Then again, you are not there. Ever. You don’t even know me. I don’t exist. I wonder what you would do if you knew. 

I know I do not know you. I have only seen you.

It’s about the way you move. I can imagine your breathing in my bed, under the covers.

I see you touching me, as if in a dream. Then, I wake up and see your face turned away from me. Then, you are gone.

I have forgotten you. I no longer think of you. Sometimes, I miss you, sometimes I feel this profound sense of release, as if the world stopped being only about you.

Come on. Give me something; anything. A look. A gesture. Anything.

Is the way you emphasized the word “found” anything to do with me? That sentence. I was there. You did not see me. Or maybe you did, and that was just for me, a gift, an outstretched hand, a gesture; perhaps a sign. The impetus to……………, maybe? Are you thinking of it? Did you see me?

Signs. They are everywhere. The bus stop heaves with people and possibilities. I see you. I get on the 91 bus. I follow you upstairs. You are sitting right in front of me. I could touch your neck. The thought electrifies me. My hand is moving towards you. Instead, it reaches in to my bag. I win. Once you find out, it is all over. I am nothing.

I am alive.

Your neck. I watch it. I watch your hair. I can almost smell it. Almost.

Reach out. Touch it.

I get off the bus. You are still on it. Did you see me? I heard a movement, almost imperceptible, behind me. Was that you? Were you watching me?

I realise the book I am reading is about you. In it, a man; you, has a conflicted and intense relationship with a woman; me. The names are different, but I recognise you in the tense hands, and in the stillness of your eyes.

D has now moved on. He has somebody. I watch them too.

Many years have passed, but you are still there. Days, minutes, hours. Thousands of them. All filled with memories of you.

Every day, I think of you.


I have known everything and nothing about you. Had you been real to me, things might have been different, I imagine. My life would be yours. It would be the end of this; the end of you and us.

Sometimes, I think there is no future and no past without you. Before D, what was there? After you: a blank. Now is you too. Even with her, and I don’t know her name, I imagine it is a case of mistaken identity. The real one you are with is me. You just do not know it yet. One day, you will realise, but maybe it will be too late. Or perhaps by then, you will be watching me.

There are others. Other men I know. Other men who want me. I don’t care about them. Facsimiles. Not real.

This absence of you is killing me. You are there all the time. The you that is not there is always there. It is an impossible conflict. To have you is to lose you all over again. Here, I can keep you eternally. A god complex. You do not do, you do not do,

Any more, black shoe

In which I have lived like a foot

For thirty years, poor and white,

Barely daring to breathe or Achoo. That could have been written for you, about you. About us.


I think about images. So many images. How you are an image to me. Only an image.


How long can this go on?


I consider how you are wasting my life, how you have wasted so much of my time. Was that calculated?


Images. They are everywhere. Your face. Staring out at me from every bus, every station, every hoarding. Archetypes. A man. A face. Those strong cheekbones. They are yours. Always. Objects.


And then one day, just to cap it all, I see you in an actual object. A painting.There you are. Staring back at me, whilst I stare at you. This is the first time you have fully looked me in the eye. I turn away. Then, I realise you are not real, and come to my senses. I want you. D. I say your name. I think you might be able to hear me. D is code. Just in case. Just in case you read this. But this time, there…… in the gallery…….in real time…….I say your name out loud. Nobody can hear me.


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Brixton Beneficiary
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