Academic journal article Chicago Review

Iceland

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Iceland

Article excerpt

In the massage room Tessa is stretched out on the table, eyes closed. The girl who is massaging her grabs her by the heels. Tessa falls asleep, she dreams of being completely covered with a fine substance, like salt. Blue salt; fog, gray and pale blue. She sees before her: a girl, sitting cross-legged, her thin, dark body etched by the outlines of her muscles; her breasts are naked and show signs of bite marks, maybe by vipers. She is wearing pants and fur boots. Her lips are almost black, her hair matted with fatty seal oil, her face painted with mud and ash. Around her is an unbroken stretch of sand and asphalt, an expanse that becomes covered with mud when it rains, then the sand freezes. The girl, Tessa thinks in the dream, is the bearer of ice: she lays a finger on Tessa's Ups and seals them. Then she strokes her nostrils. At the touch of her fingers Tessa has the impression that she is losing her sense of smell; a moment ago, that the girl touching her smelled like her daughter, Miriam. Is it possible to recreate the smell of a person's skin? Miriam works at Indigo Scents. She is the assistant to a fragrance creator. Since the time Miriam began working in Milan, then in Geneva, Tessa has always thought that Indigo's perfumes had in them something of her daughter's smell. Indigo's most recent fragrance is called "Iceland." Now Miriam wears it too, she uses it to cover up her natural smell, which she doesn't like. Tessa has never been to Iceland. Now, thanks to Miriam, she has received an assignment from Indigo, to film a documentary there. Like many companies, Indigo too has a foundation. Before going to Iceland, Tessa envisions each day what she imagines such places to be like.

She is to leave on June 20, the beginning of summer, when the roads in the interior of Iceland are reopened. There are ten more days to go. Tessa slowly returns to consciousness within her body. The girl has finished sprinkling her muscles with cinnamon oil. She covers Tessa's body with a fluffy towel, then, under the towel, grasps the sole of Tessa's left foot and the palm of her right hand, then vice versa. She completes a set, then lets go of the body in front of her. Oil and salt merge in Tessa s mind, salt and ice. When her time is up, Tessa gets up, wipes the excess oil from her thin body with the towel, puts her tracksuit back on. She leaves the massage room. It's almost closing time at the gym. Tessa came on foot. Her motorbike is at the mechanic's, where it will remain until she returns from Iceland. She'll take a taxi to the airport. She goes home, fixes herself a soy burger and a glass of milk.

Tessa's trip to Iceland is for initial location scouting, by herself; when she goes back with the crew, she'll know what to film. As she drinks her milk, she turns on the radio. Miriam's boyfriend, E., works for a private radio station. Since Miriam has been gone, his voice, the radio, have been a constant presence for Tessa. Sometimes the sound is slightly distorted, the voice comes to her through rustling static, some syllables are lost. She agreed to have the radio station follow her in Iceland. And she will bring her webcam with her. Once a month, Tessa broadcasts herself on the Internet. The webcam is a project that has been going on for some time. The idea is to capture the same month in her Ufe, over several years, then compose a single work and present it to the viewer, if beauty lies in his eye, Tessa thinks. A work about the pace of change, about slow change. A slow buildup as it occurs. Unhurriedly. It is not programmed but it is planned. A slow, imperceptible process, in which anyone expecting change might be driven to distraction, yet change occurs, like in hypnotic music. An Indian chant, a singsong, the voice finally merging with the instrument, the rustling of leaves, a very light breeze. Water that purifies or corrodes. When the work is completed, five years from now, she will give it to Miriam. She can sell it to someone, maybe the Indigo Foundation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.