#eye #eye

What if you created a space for yourself and others to deny, state, poke, prod and question? Where would this take you; using time and space like a playground?

We began, as two strangers, with a spontaneous meeting centered around manifestos by artists. In the black box with only a few plinths around we began to embody the text, making it a tool to communicate deeper ideas about our unconscious and conscious mind; twisting, twirling and molding with each other's thoughts and ideas.

Our vision is to share this experience with others and develop it further, creating collective mediums of resistance, of intervention, of breaking out and into the history of artists and movements before us, and of playing.


Theseas: Good morning everybody. My name is Theseas and I am a sobat here at documenta fifteen. I have had the pleasure of accessing Gudkitchen over the last 52 days, and a big part of the energy there has been Gudskul’s residency program, in which artists and collectives from around the world have been invited to live in dormitories inside the Fridericianum museum. I would like to welcome you, Naomi. Thank you for being here with me. Would you like to share with us about yourself?

Naomi: Hi everyone, my name is Naomi and I am representing Pari, an artist-run initiative on Dharug Country in Western Sydney. Myself and other members of Pari undertook Gudskul’s pedagogical residency called Sekolah Temujalar. We lived in dormitories inside the museum alongside other collectives from the Asia Pacific region and undertook a nongkrong (‘hanging out’) curriculum – exploring how studying, cooking, eating, cleaning and karaoke-ing together is instructive for collective practice.

Theseas: Before we jump more into those experiences, let’s talk more about your expectations before coming to documenta.

Naomi: Before arriving I was quite focused on how documenta is so prestigious, so I meticulously planned workshops I intended to facilitate for everyone. But once I arrived I

realised that everyone was already was already at capacity – not only with the curriculum, but also the daily housework of living at the museum.

Gudkitchen, our communal kitchen and hangout space, does not have access to running water, so every day involves a labour-intensive process of fetching clean water, disposing of wastewater, and washing dishes. Our rubbish and recycling system also needs to be managed every day. I quickly realised that my role in this residency was not to deliver the workshops that I individually authored, but to support the day-to-day needs of maintaining this ecosystem.

Theseas: You seem to have dealt quite peacefully with dropping your planned workshops in order to actually do what is needed in the space – to offer support and care.

Naomi: Oh, at first I was definitely regretful and sad that I didn't get to do what I intended. But I came to realise that the building of friendships was so much more important than making ‘things’, and that being open to the unexpected encounters of every day was so much better than anything I could have calculated in advance. What I really felt from the residency is quite viscerally being part of a social fabric.

Theseas: What does visceral mean?

Naomi: I feel it in my body.

(An audience member raises their hand.)

Audience member: Is it possible to come to your kitchen? Can we join in?

Naomi: There are a lot of members of the public who come to Gudkitchen. It is interesting; I think our kitchen is ambivalently both private and public. Although there is a sign that says “private”, there is also a sign that says “Friends only: Are you? Can you?” – which implies to me that there is always a potential for friendship. One of the curators, Tyuki Imamura, said something that I think about a lot, which is that members of the public are friends whom we have not yet met. There are a few people who just began hanging out with us at Gudkitchen, and if we connected and built trust, they moved into the dormitory with us.

One issue with having a kitchen as part of a public art institution is that some people expect to have unlimited access to us. They just want to take everything – food, drinks, photographs – but they do not want to give. I struggle with that. It feels more sustainable when people come to the kitchen with an intention of reciprocity – taking the time to wash some dishes, drop off groceries, have a conversation or leave a donation. So, to answer your question: you are more than welcome at Gudkitchen. Please treat it as if you are visiting someone's home.

Theseas: Let’s jump into the question of turning all museums into affordable and communal housing. During a previous talk I had with John Chow, another participant of Sekolah Temujalar, a member of the audience said that this program is nothing new, and it is simply ‘relational aesthetics’ – when the artist makes a dish and people connect and that is the artwork. But there is a problem with trying to frame Gudkitchen as a continuation of this lineage.

Naomi: Yes, there is definitely a history of works involving cooking or food in the museum, and this has been categorised variously as 'relational aesthetics', 'socially engaged art' or 'participatory art'. The famous example is the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija who cooked curry in the museum.

Although Gudkitchen in some ways resembles these categories, what we’re doing is not relational aesthetics. The kitchen is not a conceptual piece. It is tangibly where we make breakfast, lunch and dinner for ourselves every day. Especially for collaborators from Indonesia and Malaysia, or for those who did not acquire funding to be here, buying all of our meals from German restaurants is not financially feasible. Having access to affordable meals is necessary for our survival.

Similarly, I see the dormitory as a form of affordable housing that has literally made it financially possible for us to be here at documenta. This is not socially engaged art, it is “we need a place to live” and "we're hungry and need to eat"!

Theseas: The Fridskul dormitory is really a practical solution.

Naomi: Yes, it really opened my eyes to how museums can be radically transformed to meet immediate community needs. I also want to say that categories like 'socially engaged art', 'relational aesthetics' or ‘community art’ emerge from a Euro-American Western lineage of artmaking that values authorship and individualism – and because that is the dominant form of artmaking, there then became a need to invent separate categories to account for more collaborative and relational practices. But this terminology really do not make sense in

contexts such as Indonesia, where communal values have remained largely intact despite the forces of colonialism and capitalism.

Audience member: The fifty days of this residency have been a tiny part of your life. You can go back home and have your private house, private money and private life. Is the idea to continue living your life like this residency, to start having a world like this?

Naomi: I have been speaking with a lot of people who want a clear and straightforward answer in terms of what I have gained from this residency and what outcome I am taking home. The friendships and knowledge that have been built here are truly more than what I can describe right now. What I can say is that I have taken away an embodied feeling of how good it feels to live collectively, to live side-by-side in a manner that is non-coercive and non-hierarchical, with so much trust, generosity and respect. Wherever I go I will spend my life trying to recuperate this feeling and create alcoves where this feeling is possible – even in the sort of capitalist and individualist society that I am returning to. A dream that I share with some other members of Pari is to build an affordable housing co-operative in Western Sydney.

Theseas: Are there any more questions?

Audience member: I am a visitor with limited time. Where is my possibility to become closer to this experience of sharing?

Theseas: Wash the dishes.


Naomi: Yes, come to our kitchen and wash the dishes!


I wish to thank Theseas Efstathopoulos for facilitating this conversation with such care, as well as Em Harbridge for providing editorial support for this iteration to be published in Framework.

Thank you to Carolin, Dory, John, Satsuki, Tommo, Lea 1, Lea 2, Malik, Mbakpao, Paola, Magic, Petra, Maissa, Marian, Tian, Joel, Hayley, Julie (and Aisyah), Apex, Icen, Erwing, Gegger, Timbil, Tommy, Hana and my many, many other dormies.

Thank you to Kevin, Ica, Indras, Amy, Gesya, Cella, MG, JJ, Enda, Hasrul, Fandi, Camay and all the other members of Gudskul who worked tirelessly in creating a safe home for us

✧✦  DM’d by Marleena, Played by Rainer, Editing help from Salem ✦✧

Marleena: Alright…

You are in a dark, inky expanse, and ahead of you, about 100 feet, you see the prismatic light of a thin line that starts from the floor and curves up into an archway. And you can feel a soft breeze come through it and it opens up with a creak. In front of you is a grassy field and mounds of dandelions. Uncharacteristic of the Chain, you see a bright blue sky. And as you step into this space, behind you, you see a great tree about two hundred feet high. And it’s kinda like- kinda spinach-like… (laughs)[1]

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: Uhh! It’s broccoli-like in how bountiful the top part of the tree is. Sorry, have you watched Mob Psycho?

Rainer: No…

Marleena: I won’t spoil it for you, but yeah- it looks like a broccoli tree. Um yeah! It’s a green broccoli tree. And the door you came out of, it’s like it’s been carved out of broccoli.

Rainer: Broccoli tree… oh, should I introduce myself?

Marleena: Yes! I think you should describe what you look like and what you are thinking and feeling.

Rainer: Okay… (laughs) I need to remember what I look like. Um! Okay,[2] I think in tryna figure out how to get to the chain, I imagine they’ve been trying out all these different methods that are a bit easier than taking an Astral skiff in.

They’ve come straight from their constantly, slowly twisting, rubix cube of an academy trying to find the right teleportation circle or enchanted doorway. They’re already dressed to meet up to go out on the town as much as they can. They’re only around three feet tall; a small harengon with pure white fur and these big, almost iridescent eyes. All over them they have golden-jewelled ornaments on their body, on their ears, as part of wrappings on their ears and over their cloak and clothing. Very well-dressed for how small they are.[3] But with a simple flick of the wrist they almost instantly dull all that shiny metal on them- the shade of their cloak shrouds them in a little bit of darkness that makes it harder for people to see. They have a Cloak of the Bat on, so automatic advantage on stealth- is that-

Marleena: I think so.

Rainer: Yeah, Advantage[1] on Stealth.

Marleena: So it’s kinda like, you… I feel like your appearance would very starkly contrast with this idyllic little gardenscape that has set out before you.

Rainer: They clearly look like a magic user, but you have to stare at them a little bit to realise they’re even there half the time. But how big is this field?

Marleena: It’s about like 70 feet- no, I would say it’s about a 100 feet in diameter, and it’s kind of like this idyllic hill and I think what stands out most to you is that in the Chain, it’s almost impossible to see the Astral Sea[2] or to see any type of horizon. So, like, this bright blue sky with soft mushroom-y clouds, it strikes you as another funny quirk-

Rainer: Is it magical?

Marleena: It’s a fair assumption, I think with your standing.

Rainer: I feel like he’d be less confused and more amused that they’ve landed in a place like this trying to get to the Chain.

I think I would’ve imagined one of those doorways would’ve landed them in a major port or some wizard’s wardrobe. A little funny. But I think as they pick themselves up and dust themselves off and have a little walk around, I feel they’re more interested in how this landscape is, how it might’ve been formed. I feel like on the Astral Sea there aren’t a lot of- there’s a lot of manufactured places to be on, so finding anything almost resembling a natural landscape is very interesting to them. They’re a big geology- geography nerd. So taking a little walk around, they’re more just noting how well whoever made this- manufactured this field.

Marleena: You can do a- (cups mouth) Investigation Check[3]! First roll of the game! It’s gonna be a twenty!

Rainer: (rolls an Investigation Check)

Marleena: Oh! Nineteen!

Rainer: Nineteen! Close.

Marleena: Okay.

So as you step around and your feet touch the grass- yeah! As your suspicions alert you, they kinda phase through the grass and below it you can feel the density of concrete and it’s kinda like a shroud falling over the illusion. The illusion becomes transparent and you can see that you’re on a rooftop that is overlooking a small section of the city. It’s like a curtain falls and you can see the people below you that are passing by. It’s the city that you recognise. All of the lights light up around you and it’s kind of like- uhhh… the opening of Futurama.[4]

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: Sorry, I only have pop-culture references! And it’s like everything is so alive and that illusion that you just broke is some random person’s solace in the middle of the city.

Rainer: Hmm. I feel like having been a wizard for a long time, because I’ve lived on the Astral Sea for so long, that they’re almost a hundred.[4] But I think having lived this long and worked with magic for so long there’s always that little bit of disappointment. Whenever he’s able to see through the illusion.

Marleena: Oh… that’s interesting.

Rainer: There’s that… As a researcher, he appreciates the craftsmanship of the illusion. Like any artform almost- what the illusionist has placed in there to make this realistic. So when you see how the magician can do their tricks, there’s that little bit of disappointment; As a little bit of that magic disappears by knowing it.[5]

Marleena: That’s quite sweet.

Rainer: He doesn’t really dwell on it.

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: For someone as smart as him, it just kinda happens all the time.

Marleena: Another regular disappointment.

Rainer: (laughs) Yeah.

I think realising where he is - that he’s on a rooftop - he’s going to try and not worry too much about dealing with whoever owns the rooftop they’ve just barged in on. He’s gonna find the safe side to just scale down. To reach the floor.

Marleena: It’s quite easy to parkour around here.

Rainer: Even though he’s small, his rabbit legs can easily hop around.[6]

Marleena: Yeah, and the rabbit hop.

Rainer: Oh yeah, I’m not using those because you only get four of those.

Marleena: Oh! Okay. Nevermind.

Rainer: You get it up to your Proficiency Bonus[5]. It’s really strange.[6]

Marleena: Have you seen that game Cat or was it- that one with the cat running around?

Rainer: Oh! What- Stray?

Marleena: Yeah! I imagine it’s a little like Stray.You can just navigate corners that larger creatures couldn’t possibly fathom to scale, on top of aircons and skipping on window sills. Is there a specific place you wanna go?

Rainer: I think they’re just trying to reach the pavement to figure out roughly where they are. I assume they won’t be able to see as much from the rooftop to figure out where they are.

Marleena: Yeah. You’d have to go to the highest place. An even higher building I reckon.

Rainer: How boxed in are they? On this rooftop?

Marleena: I imagine- you know those Hong Kong apartment buildings? It’s like everybody lives like they’re being packaged in a box. And then there’s just one area where everyone goes to put out their garbage, and then next to that is the neighbour’s garbage[7] .

Rainer: Yeah. I think they’ll hop down to get to the ground floor to then pick up and find where they are?

Marleena: What do you imagine walking in the street is like? In the Chain?

Rainer: I imagine it being so dense around apartments that, almost naturally, I disguise up to look even more innocuous. I think, using Mask of Many Faces,[7] they just kinda like immediately dull, basically plain themselves up a bit, literally- so they don’t draw too much attention. And they put their cloak on. It’s difficult to know that they’re there, slipping in and out of crowds. But I imagine like, I guess depending on the time of day it is here, it’s either super busy or super quiet. Because people are indoors. Or at home, and stuff.

Marleena: I think- Here’s my theory about the Chain. I think that they have five different clocks that are always running and the different races all have their own business hours. So it’s like, the dwarves will be up this time-

Rainer: It’s always a bit busy.

Marleena: Yeah! Yeah. Except it’s like, “Don’t go out at 2pm because that’s when like, the lizardfolk like to-”

Rainer: Go to the bar?

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah, they go to the bar to do their high balls. (checking notes) Yeah! Let’s do that, actually. It’s kinda like- um, for you, I would say- what’s it called when… your circadian rhythm!

It’s about 1pm, but there are dragonborns roaming the streets in these kind of bro-ish gangs that are loud and laughing with their full chests. And they’re trying to find a bar to do their boisterous lizardfolk bonding.[8] Whereas all of the other races, like the halflings and the dwarves, they’re still in the middle of their business day. It’s kinda a strange contrast.

Rainer: They’re on their lunch break.

Marleena: Yeah! They’re eating their sandwiches.

Rainer: I imagine that after the “incident” they’re not really drawing too much attention to themselves so much that they’re using very simple magic on them to plain them up a bit. So less looking like a total wizard and more just a small rabbit. And they produce a folded up, plain piece of paper, or something with random notes on it, but folded up so it looks like a map, so that they just look like a small tourist as they try and avoid any altercations. They just want to quietly figure out where they are.

Marleena: So, right now, I’ll say…

You’re in the CBD district. And there are lots of business people around except for the lizardfolk and the tortles. And the yuan-ti[8]. All the lizard people are having fun and everyone else is… not.

Rainer: Okay, if they’re in the CBD, I think they’re going to try to figure out where they are by looking at the businesses that are around them.

Marleena: Oooh. Okay.

Rainer: And I think, maybe on the way, I’ll try and grab a bite to eat for a late lunch.

Marleena: Okay… I’m tryna think of, um, I’m tryna think of what kind of business. Do you think the Galactic Park Hotel, they’re tryna like, you know those businesses, those places- those hotels that are twenty four hour and they’re for business people? And it’s like-

Rainer: Yeah, kinda like those capsule hotels and stuff like that?

Marleena: Yeah, maybe that business that you were talking about in the hotel district, they’re trying to set one of those up and there’s a fast food chain next to it that is like… you know how there’s a Starbucks in every country kind of? But this is the Starbucks for… githyanki[9]or something? So it’s like, not for us but it’s like, it’s like- (laughs) What do they drink? Astral juice?

Rainer: I imagine- I feel like a githyanki Starbucks would be horrible for anyone else.

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah.

Rainer: Considering what githyanki are like.

Marleena: They’re very… um…

Rainer: I feel like it’d be a Hungry Jacks kinda deal. Where you can get pretty filling burgers and stuff like that in there, and it’s kinda a bit greasy for most people’s taste, but for a githyanki it’s got enough nutrients in it to keep them going.

Marleena: They have smoothies that can fully replenish you for twenty hours. Or like, two days. It depends. And they’re just like, beige colour. But they can sustain you.[9]

Rainer: It’s like, perfect for Astral travel.

Marleena: Yeah!

Rainer: And fighting. It’s Astral upmarket gym food.

Marleena: It’s called - “Gith Grub”! (typing notes) Okay, so you see um…

Rainer: I dunno. I feel like a githyanki would appreciate the- (garbled sounds of internet dying)

Marleena: Sorry, can you say that again for the camera- not the camera, I mean, recording? Because my internet was being shit. So I missed that.

Rainer: (laughs) All good. Yeah, I feel like the githyanki would appreciate being able to maximise their food like that. And I feel like Mesmur, knowing that, would probably go, “Okay, I can get something to-go pretty good from here.” As long as I don’t eat a burger because I’m a rabbit and that would kill me. So I think like, still looking fairly plain, they’re gonna pull out their coppers and silvers and go and try and get one of these smoothies. Is there a line up?

Marleena: Yeah, there are- oh, this is perfect. The lizardfolk are getting their- what’s it called when you’re going out to drink a lot and you just need something to eat afterwards?

Rainer: Oh yeah, your post-drinks kebab?

Marleena: Yeah! They’re eating their post-drinks- they’ve got their mega- there’s like this scene from Hitman the comic where the burgers are seven feet tall. And it’s a really funny gag. For the lizardfolk, their burgers are four feet tall and it’s like the triple xxx patty, and they’re like, yeah-

Rainer: It’s like- you know the back of those eateries where there’s this big kebab on the stick in the back and they just shave them off for you? It’s almost one of those between two pieces of bread at the top.

Marleena: Instead of cutting it, they just take off the whole pole and slide it in. So, yeah! So Mesmur, you go through the door, the tiles are a garish black and white and to your right you see a group of young lizardfolk who are avidly devouring their triple xxx meals. You only have to wait two or so minutes to get served because it’s, uhh, a fast food place. It’s fast. And the gith are pretty outspoken if they have to wait a long time. So, like, it’s pretty fast.

Rainer: I think- looking at the… I imagine they’ve got the little plaques at different heights for the different sized people.

Marleena: And footstools.

Rainer: And the menus. Yeah. So they’re looking at what’s the smallest of these beige drinks.Do they only have one style of hyper nutrient smoothie? Or are there like… you know, “this one’s beige, and this one’s off-white”?

Marleena: Cream.

Rainer: Those are the sliders. Dark cream.

Marleena: The spicy one is kinda like a tan. Yeah, they have six variants of shade that you can pick from.

Rainer: Hmm.

Marleena: (laughs) This is so much. I feel like I’m putting you through something instead of sending you to a nice restaurant.

Rainer: I feel like for Mesmur, they’re used to eating to survey the local foods, right. As long as it’s vegan/vegetarian.So I imagine they have to specify that, you know, for religious purposes. For different racial biology purposes as well. So I feel like they’ll go for whatever’s the most generic-y sounding smoothie here that’s vegan as well. I imagine it comes in a lovely light, cream tone. In like, a little cup. They’ve probably got the twenty four nutrient load of a small creature. Or a child.

Marleena: There’s a teenaged tiefling[10] who takes your order, and I imagine they’ve got the emo bangs and the earrings.[10]

Rainer: The acne.

Marleena: Yeah, and you speak out your order. Everyone- most people speak common here. That’s a necessity. And you watch as they take your order and at the back, there’s this big hose that goes- (chugging sound) and then your order, it goes through a processing machine where it gets sieved out and comes out looking whiter than the rest of the drinks. They call your name out the front. It’s spelled wrong. Um, “Mezma”.

Rainer: “Memzur”.

Marleena: “Mezmoo”. “Mezza”. It’s got a little thingy-

Rainer: I imagine this is-

Marleena: -that’s got a letter symbol plugged in like, you know, the Hungry Jacks drink. Sorry, you go.

Rainer: I imagine this is such a non-interaction. Where they just kinda point at the drink that they want and pay how many coppers it is for it. And they go off to serve it. Then they take it and just leave. It’s as if Mesmur never were there.

Marleena: Like a shadow.

Rainer: Yeah, because this is such a non-interaction. What does this thing taste like? As they’re sipping. This is for small creatures but they have to grab it with two hands. Because they load it up with this nutrient paste.

Marleena: Mmm, I imagine the franchise is still not very inclusive so like, the cups, the servings might be smaller, but the cups are still only small to medium sized and the straw is fat like a boba straw.

Rainer: They put the menu down lower for people who can’t reach the counter. But you’re still just getting the same serving.

Marleena: Yeah

Rainer: You’re just getting a small for like, a regular medium humanoid so they have to grab it with both of their hands and they’re just slurping away. What does it taste like? Does it taste like beige?

Marleena: Yeah, I’d say so. It’s like the Wall-E food. Anyone could eat it.

Rainer: Like, a baby could eat it.

Marleena: Yeah. It’s like if food is just a transfer of protein into your body or something. Like an injection.

Rainer: Yeah this pure- it’s just like, everything a person could need packed into it without regard for the flavour. But I still feel like Mesmur’s slurping away at it because they just need to consume food.I imagine this would be a big hit at a university or somewhere like that where you’re too time-strapped to go out and eat, so you’re just going to have the beige.

Marleena: Yeah, honestly like, in real life if a food like that existed and I was super desperate I’d rely on it all the time. It probably does exist but nobody eats it because it’d be super expensive or foul. But if it tastes neutral then why not?! Actually, I’m gonna look this up. “Food paste with nutrients”... Ok…. it does exist, it’s called soylent. But that sounds disgusting. Yeah it’s called soylent. Interesting. So it’s a full on drink…. Ok what does Mesmur want to do now?

Rainer: Sorry I’m just like drawing in.. (goes back to finish sketching on their computer)

Marleena: (makes a munch sound)

Rainer: Shiny meat. Hmm… Ok, with their food, looking as innocuous as possible- but it’s difficult being super quiet as you’re just loudly slurping on this beige that I imagine is only filling for them because they’re a small creature- they’re just going to wander around I think. Trying to figure out like, “Ok if people seem to be going in one direction then I’ll go along because that’d be where a big landmark is” or looking out for directions and stuff to figure out where they are but in no real rush, y’know?

Marleena: What does innocuous look like in the Chain? Are you like, a halfling or are you just a cloaked person? Or yourself but more innocuous?

Rainer: I feel like being a harengon isn’t super strange. But I imagine without having all this clear wizardly robe stuff on. Take off the hat, just look like a regular rabbit. I’ve got my little cloak on and my plain traveller’s clothes underneath- like a vague business-y suit. Like, “I have to go somewhere” kinda look.

Marleena: Oh so you look like yourself by default?

Rainer: Yeah, as plain as possible. I’ve magicked away the look of a lot of stuff, but I think if anyone can see through it then they won’t want to fuck with me.

Marleena: (laughs) You probably just look like an office worker going from place to place.

Rainer: Like a small rabbit office worker. I’m slurping the big drink so I really look like, “office worker”.

Marleena: You got the disguise.

Rainer: Yeah.

Marleena: Ok this is like, the John Wilson show where you’re just gonna examine people in the wild, so I’m gonna describe what you see.

Rainer: I think for now they’re just people-watching and roughly figuring out where they are and where they need to be. But knowing that maps won’t work here. I feel like they ascribe to it since it’s worked for them in the past but I think they go with the more chaotic school of thought on how to navigate the Chain- by just wandering with a level of purpose-

Marleena: That’s interesting. You’re like, releasing your mind

Rainer: -and eventually finding where they need to be. They’ve picked that up from Locket because that’s how she navigates this place.

Marleena: You’re speaking to the city.

Rainer: Since they’ve been around, together here, that that’s what he’s just picked up on.

Marleena: Ahh ok.

Rainer: But I imagine he’s filtered it through his own lens. Since Locket[11] would be so wanton in trying to figure out where things are like “I’ll find it” kind of deal. But for Mesmur I think he’d walk around and figure things slowly and take those hints to go in certain directions rather than asking people or using maps and charting. So it’s like, wandering around but I’m gonna slowly figure out where things are or where people are going and just go that way.

Marleena: Ohh ok. I’m trying to access the heart of the city…

Rainer: You just need some time to think?

Marleena: Yeah I’m just looking over our notes from the worldbuilding project. And I’m also trying to think about what’s happening at this time of day because I said it was 1-2pm and I’m locked into that time now. 1 to 2 pm.

Rainer: But that was 1 or 2 pm for me.

Marleena: Yeah that’s true!

Rainer: Yeah it could be like, prime time for other people. I think the reptilian folk were knocking off now. So is there like, a mix of people still doing their business, people asleep, or people having fun because it’s break time.

Marleena: I think you see… as you’re walking around I think you’d see druidcrafted[12] gardens in the middle of the pathways. And you see business people of all types but especially a Firbolg[13] man who is meditating on a patch of the green. As you’re relinquishing your perception to the rhythm of the city you notice these outliers- these people that are kind of like, aspects of the city.

I thought of this idea that there could be this Aarakocra[14] town crier who’s telling people the news and they’re flying low and squawking out the happening that they’ve seen like “Two people dead at Yugoloth’s bluff!” “Electrum is at an all time low!” And what they do is that some people would beckon them down and for a gold coin they’d tell them extra news. I think… hmmm… actually I might just roll to see what happens? Could you roll a d20.

Rainer: Eeeh, actually…. I wanna roll because I made my dice nice. But uhh … 20!

Marleena: Nat 20?

Rainer: Yeah!

Marleena: Hmmm… Ok… you feel the energy of the city speaking to you again and you follow the crowds of business people who are coming back from their lunch break, people with suitcases, and you find yourself at the edge of a more distinct crowd. Some of the business people that you’ve followed so far stop in front of you and you sense their reluctance at having stopped and in front of them you can see that the road’s been blocked off and in the crowd ahead 40 feet from you there’s a crowd going down the street.

Cartoony shapes and this mishmash of colourful costumed characters. There’s little kobolds with trumpets going “toot toot toot!” And yeah, on the other side of this parade you can see these gaudily dressed people who are clearly not from the city who are excitedly talking to each other and in awe of the spectacle.

It may be familiar with you because it’s this gimmick the Hotel District puts on- it’s a welcome parade for the tourists where all the local people put together their favourite mascots and it’s like “Come eat at the Gith’n Grub” or “Buy all your explorer’s supplies at-” I don’t know, what’s a good explorer’s store?

Rainer: It’s like, a big advertisement parade almost?

Marleena: Yeah! It’s where people would actually use the spell Pyrotechnics.[15]

Rainer: Oh my god!

Marleena: And at the end there’s the sad blink dog[16] costume-

Rainer: Aww.

Marleena: -And by the time that’s happened everybody’s already left because the parade is like an hour long. The parade’s really long and all the best mascots are at the beginning and- what was it, Blinky the Blink Dog? What was the one you made up? Buggy the Blink Dog?

Rainer: Probably.

Marleena: It started with a B… Barky the Blink Dog?They’re just like, four kobolds or like, two halflings in a leg each but they’re not operating very well.

Rainer: (laughs) They have to like, jump to do each step.

Marleena: Yeah it wasn’t too well thought out. Or maybe they didn’t have enough people? Or maybe they couldn’t find someone with regular legs…

Rainer: Or just a regular guy

Marleena: Or maybe they hired two people and didn’t know they were halflings, so they had to get two halflings.

Rainer: (laughs) Yeah, there’s no one up top, there’s just a frame-

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah.

Rainer: And two people in the legs.

Marleena: Yeah, Blinky’s head looks really weird.

Rainer: It’s just like, flopping around limply.

Marleena: Those children are just like “Eeewww”. The children are happy seeing the other mascots but not when they see Blinky.

Rainer: Aww. Uhh… I feel like Mesmur would imagine “Oh if Locket is staying somewhere it would be at one of these weird hotels,” unless she owns a place here but I feel like she doesn’t own real estate.

Marleena: She has no capital, yeah.

Rainer: (laughs) She has all her stuff in a bag, but it’s a Bag of Holding so it’s fine.

Marleena: Yes!

Rainer: And just for the fun of it she stays in the weird hotels.

Marleena: Exactly.

Rainer: I imagine the parade would circle back and go to the Hotel District, so knowing that I think Mesmur would probably not bother muscling through the crowd, just avoiding the crowd as it disperses and following the other tourists into the Hotel District.

Marleena: Yeah… as soon as the corner rounds, you’re all in some kind of alleyway that isn’t- not alleyway, you’re in a part of the Hotel District where you’re out of view of the main traffic. And it’s a very strange behind-the-curtain moment where everybody just takes off their costumes. Like the people in the purple worm costume take off their hat and they’re like “oh my god I need a drink!”. And you have runners running around and getting them the beige drinks.

Rainer: Maybe there’s like, people out to help ferry some of the clear tourists, like “go this way” to avoid seeing that.

Marleena: Yeah.

Rainer: But I feel like Mesmur knows that if he’s in this area it probably cuts really close to the central promenade- and a good view of the hotels. He’s probably avoided the tourists and is just walking up the sidepath and seeing all these people… dousing themselves with their water. The pitchers of water, because they’re so sweaty from being in those suits for an hour.

Marleena: And there’s like, these little pixies spreading sparkles and stuff and they immediately float to the ground and take off their disguises. And they go from (smiles) to (slumps), just take off their retail face- the actors stop acting and they’re like, I don’t know, they’re like “Visit Pixies Paradise!” and then they talk in their real voice it’s just like “I’m so tired”

Rainer: They’ve got their little chairs out to sit down and have their cigarettes.

Marleena: Yeah!

Rainer: Yeah I imagine that everyone here’s just too tired so that if there’s tourists that walk in they just kinda know that they’re not really meant be looking at this and turn away.

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: So like, the couple that do pick up on Mesmur, like he looks determined enough where he’s walking, he’s looking like a little business boy drinking his giant drink, they don’t pay him too much mind-

Marleena: They’re over it.

Rainer: -he just walks through and over into the main area- like, from this dingy alley right into the resplendent promenade to impress all the tourists.

Marleena: Mmmm

Rainer: I imagine there’s big palm trees or something.

Marleena: Fake lamp posts.

Rainer: Yeah, just to look really nice.

Marleena: I imagine everyone’s got this same sort of uniform on, like in Disneyland. Like a little purple overall or something.

Rainer: Yeah, so the tourists know where to go because immediately when they leave this area they’re gonna get lost.

Marleena: (laughs) Like in the Royal Easter Show where they have foot paths on the ground.

Rainer: Yeah.

Marleena: (in a customer service voice) “Exit this way for…” ummm this is hard because I feel like all the maps and guiding markers are something like “Just trust your instinct, you’ll be fine!” “Will it in your heart!”

Rainer: I feel like the most concrete markers you get are like “It’s by this thing and this unusual thing” because they’re always in relation to each other. But actually getting there- as long as you pick up on those things you’ll be able to find it.

Marleena: What a strange place…

Rainer: But I imagine the hotel area is the safest spot here because it’s always kind of the same.

Marleena: Hmm,I think in front of you you’d see one of those people spinning those arrows signs like “woohoo!” (makes spinning motion)

Rainer: Just going crazy!

Marleena: And the sign just says “Follow your heart” or like, something dumb.

Rainer: Oh no,it says “This way to this hotel” but the guy keeps spinning it and doesn’t stop.

Marleena: (laughs) Ok, what’s your next move?

Rainer: Hmm… Ok, they’ve reached the spot right? Locket is probably somewhere here and they’ll be able to talk with their friend over drinks or something, but finding them is the big issue because the most Locket leaves is like, a business card.

Marleena: (laughs) Actually, I think Locket would try to Sending[17]you something. I feel like that’s logical. Do you have Sending?

Rainer: Actually I don’t think I picked it up for this?!

Marleena: I think she’d try to Scry[18] you but you were on a different plane, so I think she’d try to scry you again. You’ll just feel like… actually how does divination work with your mind shielding[19]?

Rainer: They’ll have to let it in.

Marleena: Oh ok. You’ll be able to hear a low buzzing or vibration as something tries to penetrate your telepathic shield

Rainer: Like a phone?

Marleena: Like a (mimicks the phone vibration notice) Do you know who it is if you feel it?

Rainer: Uhhh I’ll have to check actually… Ok no it’s just for telepathic communication so it still allows Scrying.

Marleena: Oh ok, so you’ll have to do a Wisdom Save then.

Rainer: (rolls a Wisdom Save) Uhh… 14.

Marleena: I’m trying to think….

Rainer: I don’t think that’ll make it.

Marleena: I don’t think at level… whatever Locket’s at. Unless you want Locket to be level 10 as well?

Rainer: I don’t know, I would assume but I was thinking I could Augury[20] to figure out a little bit of a pathway there…

Marleena: Let’s say for now that the Scrying… you feel that buzzing get louder and you feel that force field around you fall away as this vibration gets stronger and you get the sense that something is sensing you or feeling you.

Rainer: I feel like, they’re in the middle of a place so if something’s scrying on them it’s either Locket or some random, but I think knowing that either way they just prop themself up near a planter or on a bench and just let it happen because they’re like “what am I gonna do about it?”

Marleena: Wow! That’s so fatalistic (laughs). But I know what you mean because it’s the most logical thing to do.

Rainer: I think that’s what they’d do.

Marleena: C'est la vie. I think, 20 minutes later…

Rainer: Ok if they have this much time… actually I can’t really Augury this… hmmm… let me check something… Wait I also have Divination![21]Anyway, I’ll just let it happen.

Marleena: I feel like… sorry you go.

Rainer: For Augury I can’t really… state a specific question for them to do.

Marleena: Ohh you can’t be like “where are them?”

Rainer: It’s too specific enough for Augury because it’s just weal or woe.

Marleena: Is meeting Locket weal or woe? (laughs) That’s funny!

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: (laughs) Ok… I think 20 minutes later you’ll hear- you’ll feel- another buzzing against the protection. I imagine the Ring of Mind Shielding is like this bubble that encases you, the things that try to penetrate your bubble you can sense them or feel them rebounding. And you feel another buzzing that fades away and you know that you won’t be able to know what it is unless you let your telepathy- no, unless you let your Ring of Mind Shielding, let it pass.

Rainer: I think they’d pick up the phone

Marleena: (laughs) Pick up the phone!

Rainer: Because I imagine that enough people try to Sending them so that they know what it feels like against this mind shield.

Marleena: For some people it’s just a bonk

Rainer: (laughs) Yeah, pick up the phone.

Marleena: It’s a ringtone.

Rainer: It’s cats meowing.

Marleena: (higher pitched) Meow! Uhh, the buzzing spreads over your mind and you hear in your head… what would Locket say… (Shiny Locket) “Huh huh! Mesmur! Where are you? I’ve been walking around, can’t see! Uhh, all the lamp posts look the same here! Respond quick!”

Rainer: Hmmm, looking around, the entire time Locket’s been trying to find them they’ve been parked in the same spot with their spellbook out just been reading and going over notes, they haven’t been moving.It shouldn’t be that hard but (laughs) I imagine, hearing this and knowing cartography because it’s their job, they’re going to look around at nearest major landmarks and communicate to them very factually like (Mesmur) “*This* to my left, *this* to my right, *this* directly opposite of me” kind of thing.

Marleena: Locket is just like “Oh god..”, oh wait she can’t respond. You feel buzzing again and she’ll just say “Uhmm! Uhh” I imagine you were telling her it’ll be in 20 steps and she’s just like “I lost track of the steps. Ok, be there in five. Don’t move!”

And then, I think another 10 or so minutes would pass and you’ll hear footsteps on the path, like a soft padding on the ground and you hear “Mesmur! Mesmur it’s me!” And in the distance you see Locket and she’s holding a big felt foot in her hand, and she’s got a little tank top situation with work overalls and a red face and her hair’s all messy and she’s like “Oi! Oi!” (laughs)

Rainer: I’m trying to think of what Mesmur would make of Locket like, doing physical labour. “Impossible..”

Marleena: Impossible! It must be an illusion!

Rainer: (laughs) But seeing them jogging up to meet them, they’re gonna hop on down from this medium sized chair onto the floor and like… they’re in a nice enough spot so she’s gonna see him drag a paw over his visage and almost take away the strings away of colour that’s been injected, to almost take off the illusion over them. And they’re gonna start (laughs) I feel like Locket’s running and they’re slowly walking up to them.

Marleena: Oh my gosh.

Rainer: You rarely ever see them actually go to jog because don’t really want to- they just don’t have the energy in their body to run too much.

Marleena: Locket sees that you take off the disguise and become more put together and she’s like “Uhhh” and she get’s her Whisker[22], the rapier, and she flashes it in front of her and then she puts herself in a nice suit like “Whoosh”, but she’s still holding the felt foot. And she’s like (Shiny Locket) “Ahem, M’lord” Sorry (laughs) “Hello M’lord!”

Rainer: (laughs)

“I’m not that dressed up, am I?”

“You have the special quality of making everyone around you feel like they’re not rising to the occasion.”


Marleena: (laughs)

“It’s a compliment!”

“It doesn’t feel like one…”

Marleena: If Mesmur would let Locket, she will give him a big hug and be like “Yay!”

Rainer: Yeah I think like, Mesmur is still thinking “Oh my god am I too put together for this?” with all the disguises, and they have their paws open so Locket immediately takes that as going in for the hug.

Marleena: (laughs) It’s like “Affection!” and she thinks it was for the hug. You can feel that she’s kinda sweaty beneath her illusion suit.

Rainer: But they’ll return it with a pat on the back.

“How was your journey? Was it difficult coming into the city?”

“It kinda always is. I thought it would be easier not taking a skiff in but…no one marks their things back at the university so I ended up on someone’s roof top.”

“Oh, did they chase you off with a broom?”

“No, they didn’t know I was there.”

“Oh Ok. Well, I just got off on my lunch break so we can grab something if you haven’t already eaten?”

Rainer: I imagine they still have this drink, half done.

“But that’s just a smoothie right? Oh no, ok, you’re eating the Super Powered Protein Punch, Special Formula, 48 hour.”

“Well I don’t feel full.”


“It just doesn’t mean I have to eat anything important afterwards.”


“Also it was the only thing I found when I came here.”

“Do you feel like… dessert then? Since you said…”

Marleena: Did you say you that didn’t- you can eat something important after? Or is that what you meant?

Rainer: I don’t need to eat anything important.

Marleena: Oh! Right! Okay, okay. Hmm. Locket’s like-

Rainer: Yeah, I don’t actually need to get filled up, so anything goes.

“Well, be careful because Lizardfolk use that to bulk. So, be careful because it doesn’t make you feel full. But it makes you shredded! If you’re exercising.”

“Well, I’m not doing any of that anytime soon.”

“Oh. But you’re good at it. That’s how you became good at jumping. Right?”

“That’s all in the legs.”

“Oh. Well…”

Rainer: That’s- They’re looking at themselves, because they have six strength.[23](laughs)

Marleena: (laughs) Well, Locket’s like, “Wow, they must do sooo much crunches. They must do sooo much squats. To be like, to be able to bunny hop so good.”

“Okay, umm- do you want to go to… we can go to the Slime Club - we can get a boozy brunch even though it’s 1pm - or we can eat at my hotel!”

“I think I’ll take the hotel. We’re all dressed up for it.”

“Okay. I think it’ll be interesting to try out the room service. I mean, one of those funny, themed rooms, and I think you get a themed course with the room. So, uh, let’s do that. And we can have the whole experience.”


“Coolie! Coolie, okay. Let’s go.”

“Which hotel is this?”


Rainer: I imagine before they get to finish, they’re already getting dragged along somewhere.

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah… I really want her to be in the corpse god[24] hotel room.

Rainer: (laughs) What- the uh- the god body?

Marleena: Yeah, I really want the food to be like, red coloured spaghetti.

Rainer: Like, sweet?

Marleena: Yeah…

Rainer: Oh…

Marleena: Okay, Locket takes you to a very strange-looking hotel. It’s got like- Oh, yeah. How would you describe the outside of the Galactic Park Hotel? I’m imagining it with lots of neon everywhere for some reason.

Rainer: Yeah, I imagine it’s one of the more garish-looking ones on the outside with like- you know there’s the uh- that building in Tokyo that has all the different cubes and each room is like a self-contained little cube. I imagine it’s all mostly like that. With a central buffet. And that’s about it. They have just been kind of like, put together. It seems to have a shifting appearance. You swear these blocks are like, changing. Every year you go there in the summer, the blocks are a bit different.

Marleena: Locket leads you inside and then as you’re about to enter, she points to this block that’s kinda in the middle of the tower, and she’s like, “I’m in that one!” Um, did you say there was a buffet in the middle or something?

Rainer: I feel like there’d be. Where all the other places have a nice restaurant, this one just has Mounties buffet.

Marleena: (laughs) They have a themed table for all the themed rooms. So it’s like-

Rainer: Yeah, all different places on the Astral Sea.

Marleena: There’s like a-

Rainer: -scarily large soft serve dispenser in the corner.

Marleena: There’s a table that’s Modron[25]-themed and it’s just like- got like, bowls made out of gears or something.

Rainer: Everything is angled and it kinda hurts to drink from the cups. ‘Cause they’re all like, straight edges.

Marleena: There’s an orc guarding the buffet and Locket like, flashes her keycard to get in. And you go in, and the floor is kinda like, Sydney train seat fabric-looking floor-

Rainer: (laughs) As the carpet?

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah, I dunno.

Rainer: Oh no, please don’t be carpet. Ugh…

Marleena: The memphis kinda pattern.

Rainer: Yeah, like bowling alley.

Marleena: And there’s these wedding banquet-type table set ups. And in the centre, is this long row of sad-looking buffet spreads - Modron table, the gith table, and then Locket takes you to this table in the buffet that is a very distasteful- it’s like awful taste but great execution. It’s got this kinda punchbowl with the hands like that- (cups hands and raises them to the webcam) -and the punch is red… or maybe the punchbowl is a giant ashen skull with juice inside of it.

Rainer: I imagine Mesmur’s been here decades ago, and they’re face is unreadable, but deep down in their heart there’s just a grimace at the fabric of their being at what has changed and what has- but how much has stayed the same. Decades ago they visited as a freshman at their magic university. They’re just… why did they replace the original punchbowl which was Astral Sea-themed with little ships made of ice in it? With like, this?

Marleena: Locket gives Mesmur a paper plate and it’s got a blob of pink-coloured spaghetti. The meatballs are kind of smashed to give the appearance of guts. It falls with… viscosity. It’s- the texture’s very strange. She starts loading up her plate too. “I know how it looks. And it’ll probably be bad. Sorry.”

Rainer: I wanna- I don’t have Insight proficiency, but I wanna Insight Locket as to like- I know it’s kinda a futile attempt, but I feel like Mesmur’s trying to figure out: “Is she enjoying this!?”

Marleena: (laughs) Enjoying the food, or enjoying torturing…

Rainer: Like, this- whatever this experience is.

Marleena: Oh, I don’t think Locket would be deceiving against that. You can roll insight.

Rainer: Another 14!

Marleena: I think that… Locket is probably the type- (laughs) I think Locket ate here for breakfast and thought it was so funny, she just wanted to show somebody else.

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: So she’s just watching your reaction like- with like (makes wide-eyed face)

Rainer: I imagine there’s this feeling deep within Mesmur’s heart of just like, they’re so knowledgeable about so many things especially on the Astral Plane, but the one area they don’t really care too much about is the nature of deities here. Even though they’ve been touched by them personally, they don’t really care that much. And this is driving home why.

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: Like, it’s that deep fear of- I like exploring the fallen static corpses of this plane from a geographical standpoint. I like it when they’re just places I have to go, and not when they’re turned into buffet setpieces.

Marleena: It’s a multimedia experience.

Rainer: Yeah, and they go to- I imagine they’ve already kinda eaten so they don’t have to eat a main meal, they can skipcan to skip dessert, but as they hit the lever on this comically large soft serve machine it’s coming out like light pink. Swirling extract. And they’re just like, oh my god.

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: They’re always unreadable, but I feel like Locket can sense that deep down, disgust in this.

Marleena: Is there a like- a raspberry sauce that looks like blood and it goes, “Squick!”

Rainer: When it knows it has stopped, it just kinda squirts this out on top to finish the piece. And then they’ve got this pile of now melting ice cream in the middle, so they’re looking around for what else they can add, like spooning the crunchy bits on top to cover it up so they all look like little bits of knuckle bone.

Marleena: Weirdly-shaped nuts.

Rainer: Yeah, everything’s just adding to it and making it worse and worse. As they try and add more to it.

Marleena: Locket comes over, and she’s like,

“Wow! It’s- uh, it’s art. That’s beautiful.”

“It- It’s certainly. It’s… ugh.”

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: They’re saying this as they’re currently popping waffles on top of it.

“Sure, we can share. What about your spaghetti, though? Your delicious…”


Rainer: They look over as Locket’s carrying this- it’s got the like, mince meat scraped onto it.

“Oh, I’m not gonna finish that. I just thought I’d get it for the aesthetic.”

“What would you do afterwards with it?”

“Um, I’m sure the deity of this place will put it in the bin for us. I paid for it.”

Rainer: Genuinely at a loss for words.

Marleena: Locket leads you to-

Rainer: So-

Marleena: Sorry, you go.

Rainer: I feel like because they can’t really emote, having their perfectly smooth rabbit face, the only little tell of emotion is from their eyes is this deep tumultuous blue, as they’re just pained seeing… I feel like they’re not really one to think too much of eating. It’s more of a necessity or a way to experience a place they’re visiting. So aside from those two needs, they don’t really care too much about food, so this is horrible.

Marleena: (laughs) They already don’t care.

Rainer: Like, they already drank something before. They don’t really have to eat this. I mean, they’re already sat down at the table for small creatures-

Marleena: The kids zone.

Rainer: -with two heaped piles. Yup. It’s either actual children or the other halflings or gnomes that have, I dunno, maybe they’re on holidays and eating here as a joke. Like a prank or whatever. ‘Cause, in Mesmur’s heart, this is all one big joke on him.

Marleena: What’s the equivalent- What would a wizard do to take a picture of something for the ‘gram? Would it be like…

Rainer: I… What- some kinda illusory painting.

Marleena: Oh my gosh.

Rainer: Like, this fine illustration made by unseen forces. But it’s just of this spread. Because Locket wants to memorialise it.

Marleena: There’s like an unseen servant[26] going around uh- um… I’m just tryna- Locket is just like- there’s like an unseen servant that’s going around doing like um- how good at painting would an unseen servant be?

Rainer: I feel like they’d be mediocre.

Marleena: Yeah, there’s an unseen servant going around with a notepad and they’re doing sketches, and Locket’s just like- (does a peace sign) -in front of the food. And there are halflings as well who are obviously from On-Campus that are just like- (poses) -in front of the food.

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: I dunno!

Rainer: Oh, I imagine- I imagine the On-Campus newspaper would visit this place and put the pictures in the paper.

Marleena: Yeah.

Rainer: Like… “Look at what this group’s eaten after they’ve won wizard spelling bee.” Or whatever. Or like, arcane words. And they’re all crowded around this big ice cream cake that’s melting in the shape of a horrible astral creature but they’re all just like, “Yeah!”

Marleena: (laughs) Posing. Um.. Locket will get a plastic spoon and kinda, in time with Mesmur, go and grab some ice cream and they’ll be like, “Three! Two! One! Mmm!”

Rainer: I feel like for the soft serve machine, there’s an ice elemental inside of it. It’s like a big metal box and an ice elemental is making the ice cream cold.

Marleena: Their day job.

Rainer: So, I imagine they’re spiting people. They’re a little vindictive. Which is why there’s so much ice cream with the raspberry topping on it. Just to spite Mesmur.

Marleena: Oh my goodness…

Rainer: So there’s so much here that they’re kinda just sharing.

Marleena: (laughs) Yeah.

Rainer: I- Because it’ll be like, strawberry-ish.

Marleena: Ish.

Rainer: Strawberry-esque. Tastes like pink.

Marleena: The ice cream tastes- tastes like spam.

Rainer: (yells)

Marleena: Maybe. Meat-flavoured- no! They tried to make a meat syrup but it, err, didn’t work. The ice cream was too sugary. But they added it with the raspberry sauce.

Rainer: They’re having a spoonful of that but making sure it has the extra toppings on it to kinda cover up the horrendous meat flavour.

Marleena: Yeah. Locket’s just like- “Ugh! Disgusting!”

Rainer: They like, hate this. Yeah. They’re mostly just picking off the rice crispy stuff that they’ve added on top. Having a bit of the waffle on top. Just kinda picking on this thing. Taking a sip of the punch.

Marleena: Locket is like, taking a bite of all the- she just went around to all the buffet and got a bowl of everything and she’s just like, “Hmm, okay, time to try-” She eats the meatballs. “Eh, two out of ten.” And then she eats the weird, I dunno, elf cereal. The eladrin[27] cereal. “Ehh! Four out of ten.” And she just keeps going around.

Rainer: I feel like- I feel like with this amount of food they have, they both just have to kinda sample food. To figure out what they can eat here. They all take a picture of this massive spread but they’re just having one spoonful out of everything. I imagine Mesmur eats a little bit more of this eladrin cereal, but it kinda tastes bad because Locket got every flavour for every season-

Marleena: Oh no!

Rainer: -and it all mixed together, so it just isn’t working.

Marleena: Oh, the milk looks like that rainbow ice cream flavour.

Rainer: By itself, the winter crispy tastes really cool and refreshing. Like, the summer one has a nice, warm marshmallow in it. But all together, it’s kinda too crunchy and soggy at the same time. “Sorry, I feel like I ruined the only good thing here!”

Rainer: (laughs)

“But there’s more! …Wait, no. They’re taking away breakfast. Sorry!”

“I wasn’t expecting anything less. Or more, in fact.”

“It’s a good experience to humble a mighty wizard.”

“I feel humble enough.”

“Yeah, that’s true.

Rainer: They’re saying this as they’re going for the one thing that looks safe, which is a piece of fruit. But they bite into it and the whole thing is fake foam.

“Sorry, I thought that was part of the buffet!”

Rainer: (laughs)

“It was rightnext to the food! How is anybody meant to tell the difference!?”

Rainer: (laughing) They’re just gonna place it back and rotate into the next bowl of food.

Marleena: Mmm. This continues for a while.

Rainer: It’s like musical chairs with this food. But then it’s like, you know, eating this axebeak egg on top of rice that’s too small for it. Too many kinds of food happening, that they’re just kinda cycling through, and Mesmur’s- I imagine Locket is like, pure carnivore. Unless it’s extra tasty. She has vegetarian meals that she kinda passes over to him. And he takes a bite out of it, and he’s like, “Oh…” Because that doesn’t taste good, either.

Marleena: Locket’s just like…

“Mmm- yuck. Mmm- disgusting. Ehh- oh! Ah- nah. Mmm-”

“I thought you said the breakfast here was good.”

“I mean- I didn’t say it was good. I just said it was breakfast.”

(a beat)

“But something can taste bad and be a good experience!”

“I’m not sure which one would’ve been a better choice. At least my clothes are preserved.”

“Your clothes? Oh!”

“Because I didn’t get stuck in slime.”

“Wait! Are you talking about the slime cafe?”


“What about it? Did you wanna go?”

“I think I’m good.”

“Okay. Well, apparently they have-”

Rainer: He’s like, horribly exhausted already.

“They have really good mimosas.”

“You said you wanted to order room service here?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Have we sampled enough?”

“Umm, if it’s all by the same chef, maybe we’d be silly to try. But if you do get the room service, you get the special room gift.”

Rainer: They’re tryna weigh up- I imagine they’re fairly full right now but it’s with garbage and pure nutrient paste. So I feel like they’re tossing up [their options]. They imagine this room service package, that’s new. They didn’t get that when they were there. They kinda wanna see what it is but also, this has been horrible. They’ve been picking through lukewarm buffet food.

“Hm… Are you sure you can fit it in anymore food? I feel like I could only fit a coffee in after such a hearty spread.”

As they look at this table, where everything has just been picked at. Because it’s too much for like, an ogre let alone two small creatures. I’m just picking at this stuff and being like… (shudders)

“You know, that’s a good idea. We can save ourselves for the room gift.”

“Do we go up…? Now…?”

“Oh! You do wanna try the room gift! Is that what you’re saying?”

“How bad can it be…”

“That’s true. And even if it’s terrible-”

“How much more worse can it be…”

“I’d be surprised if it was worse. But if it is, then it’d be quite special, wouldn’t it be?”

Rainer: I feel like, with all this knowledge, they’re looking at this food and this is the strangest thing they’ve ever encountered probably in their life. Like, as they’re looking down…


Rainer: Locket just sees them looking down at their spoon just bug-eyed and so confused. As to what they’ve just experienced.

“Come on! Let’s go watch a movie! In the room, and then we can see what the room gift is and if it’s bad, then we can umm… we can um complain. And maybe they’ll give us a gift!”

“Very well…”

“Yeah! And maybe if we say it’s really bad, they’ll give me my room back for free!” (gasps)

“Uh… sure???”

“Yeah yeah yeah. And they might give us some free stuff if we complain enough.”

“We’ll see how good the special gift is…”

“Yeah, yeah yeah!”

“I think I’d like to- I think I need to lie down after this.”

“Okay! Okay, okay, okay.”

So, Locket jumps up and abandons all the food.

Rainer: I feel like Mesmur also just slides off the chair and, not even looking back, just boldly looks away from it and up to- I imagine it’s like, stairs, and- I dunno, I feel like it’s not very big. You’ve gotta really theme these rooms specially. So I think after, they all just walk up to Locket’s room and go past all of these themed doors.

Marleena: Clown door, pin-striped door, clock door, and then a red door made out of bones.

Rainer: The nicest one.

Marleena: (pause) Sorry, my internet died. What did you say?

Rainer: I feel like going past these and hearing the sounds, the audio, this isn’t calming Mesmur down at all. Because I imagine Locket’s also keeping it a secret as to the room. It’s gonna be a big surprise.

Marleena: (laughs) She blindfolds you as she leans you in.

Rainer: Or the paws over the eyes.

Marleena: The door opens and you can see a red light enter the handmade blindfold a little, and Locket leads you inside and jumps on the bed and the blankets all flop up, but they’re all piecemeal, like they’re noodles. And she’s like: “Welcome to my crib!”And it’s just like what we described in the Street Magic game.[28] It’s extremely distasteful.

Rainer: The bed’s in the shape of a perfect cut-out.

Marleena: And with pregnancy pillows everywhere.

Rainer: I reckon the walls have the starry theme that a lot of the rooms have. So admittedly, this is supposed to be the floating body of a deity in the Astral Sea that’s been turned quite distastefully into a themed room.

Marleena: She leans over and turns on the bedside lamp and the side table is a hand that’s connected to a bedframe. “Just hang on, I need to find the remote.”

Rainer: The light shines out from the palm.

Marleena: (groan) Yup.

Rainer: Mesmur’s just standing in front of the door. The door’s automatically closed behind him and he’s just struck there. I think there’s like, a primordial fear. But because this room has stayed exactly the same in the over fifty years since the last time he was put in here on that fateful freshman holiday after winning, after coming first place in the university broom flying championships or something. Something like that.

Marleena: Oh, wow.

Rainer: For the big present, they got to stay here and he had the worst experience of his life. And he quit the broom racing club and did something else and has never touched it again.

Marleena: As Mesmur is just standing there shell-shocked, Locket is rifling through the drawers of the hand side table and she’s like: “I’m just looking for the umm- menu. The room info. Umm… hmm!” And she sits up on the bed and starts reading it.

Rainer: I imagine this is standard hotel layout. You have the bed in the back and a little sofa and it’s around, because there aren’t- because televisions don’t exist. So it’s more just- what would you have for entertainment? Like a fishtank?

Marleena: I think if you call room service, a wizard will come up, put on an illusion and leave.

Rainer: An illusory play happening in a box.

Marleena: A programmed illusion.

Rainer: Paid pixies come in periodically to a little comedy skit and it’s terrible. This bed is meant for medium-sized creatures, so we gotta really clamber on up onto everything. But Mesmur’s kinda shell-shocked and just takes a seat on the sofa and just tries to look- I imagine it’s kinda difficult to see with the really intense lighting. Do they find anything that people have left behind?

Marleena: No, but I think they would find the fantasy version of a bible.

Rainer: I imagine there’s two nightstands. You have one book for the deity of law, the plane of law, right? And on the other hand, there’s one for chaos. And it’s like… which one do you choose, always. Both groups had to be allowed to put their respective pamphlets in. Like, how to navigate the city.

Marleena: And each book just subtly shit talks the other book.

Rainer: I feel like they haven’t flicked through one of those. They’ll wanna figure out how that’s changed, too. They might just wanna figure out- this is the only thing that’s calming them down. There’s the terrible energy of being in a room themed around the corpses of dead gods floating in the Astral Plane. It’s horrifying. So they’re calming themselves down by just going, “Okay, I’m just going to focus on finding things that I remember from my last terrible time being here. What’s changed? I’m going to focus on that.” While Locket’s just flicking through the menu here.

Marleena: The book in the side table on your side is the Book of Chaos. And it is connected to the type of people that congregate at the front of the Chain. (tabs to notes) I fleshed them out a little bit.

The two religious factions: the Sticks and Circles. (laughs) So, these are the circles, and um… they’re really into um- what would be the fantasy version of a magic eight ball? An augury ball? And basically, it’s like- their book is a little bit like a very sporadically written choose your own adventure book. So none of the indexes are really that- are not that practical. And- yeah! It feels familiar. The unpredictability of the Circle religion feels- offers you a little bit of calm in this strange room.

Rainer: I imagine that’s the thing that’s stayed the same the most. That this book is always different. That’s a constant that he’s happy with. He’d ask Locket to pass over the law book- the Book of Sticks, that’s just the complete opposite, to peruse as well.

Marleena: She passes one over to you. It’s a bit over-organised. Each page is a chapter, and they’re all bullet points.

Rainer: And numbered with bookmarks inside. It comes with a little bookmark as well, to place- so that you’ll never lose your page in it.

Marleena: And everything is a little overexplained.

Rainer: I imagine this book has also never changed. They wrote it centuries ago and it’s just stayed the same because it always works for these people. Mesmur tries to figure out the rules in the chaos and that’s what brings him peace. But he’s mostly following the whims of the city because he’s used to that.

I feel like the first time he tried doing that, he thought, “Okay, I’ll just go law because that’s logical. That makes sense.” And he just got stuck in a dead end street for half an hour somehow. Because this thing must not have wanted him to be there and he got upset and completely swapped. Just a small town rabbit in a big, dead end- in a roundabout that only goes out one way, but somehow the only way that’s gone out has disappeared. It’s a big circle. So, I feel like he was burned after that one time ages ago, where had a bad experience and then he landed in this room.

So now he’s like, “Okay, I’ll follow the whims of the city. I’ll let it happen. I can’t force anything onto this place, because if I do that, I’m gonna get stuck horribly again.”

Marleena: I like that. This whole journey is like Mesmur taking a trip down memory lane.

Rainer: Yeah. As they’re deep in thought comparing these two books that are comically of their respective faiths, I feel like eventually they’re gonna look over and look at the menu that Locket’s holding and ask,

“So, is there anything different part of room service?”

“Do you mean anything different from when you were last here? Or different from downstairs?”

“From the buffet.”


“Is there anything that looks edible?”

Marleena: Locket flips through the booklet and she kinda slides her finger down and there’s the normal menu, and at the bottom, there’s yellow circle and in it, it says um- it’s like- uhh- “a two hundred”- not two hundred gold- maybe, “a twenty gold surprise!” Like a premium package. And then it just says something like- um… what’s a good alliteration? “The Corpse God Package.”

Rainer: Like… “God’s Gourmet.”

Marleena: (laughs) “God’s Gourmet.”

Rainer: Or… “The Delicious Deity Spread.”

Marleena: “The Delicious Dead Deity Spread.”


“And look, it’s so expensive. There’s gotta be more to it, right?”

“There better be more to it. At least they’ll bring it up. Does it come with other things?”

“Um… It doesn’t say.”

“Is there any elaboration?”

“It says here- it’s umm…”

Marleena: And there’s a little asterisk that goes to a new part of the page that says in very small font-

“Exclusive offer. For members only. Yeah, I know, I’m a member.”

“You’re a member?”

“I tried to cancel it but they-”

“Why would you do that?”

“I- I dunno! It was cheap on the day.”


(a beat)

“Why not…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah… Do you have five gold?”

Rainer: … If it’s like, twenty, they’ll fork over ten to split it.

“Wow! Thank you!”

Rainer: Oh… I guess things haven’t changed with Locket.

“I’m on that grindset… I’m always hustling.”

“What areyou doing for work here?”

“Oh, I was a foot in the parade.”

“You can get better work than that.”

“Yeah, but I thought it’d be interesting.”

“Was it?”

“No, but- so that’s why I quit. I just won’t show up tomorrow. It’ll be fine.”

(a beat)

Rainer: I feel like there’s that feeling of… (exasperated) what are you doing?

Marleena: (laughs)

“The purple worm[29] will have ninety-nine legs, tomorrow. Instead of a hundred.”

“They don’t have legs.”

“Oh! Well- Well you know how-”

Marleena: I’m imagining the legs are like, made in a weird colour so that it looks like purple worm is floating. It’s complicated.

Rainer: It could be like, you know, I know with the dragon puppets they have with lunar new years has like, you get the sticks so its like extra long. So I imagine it’s at the bottom there with the stick.

“I was a stick in the purple worm and it was no that fun. People didn’t seem- well, people liked the worm. But it’s also really hot. And the pay wasn’t too good. So…”

“I’m surprised. I thought you were doing your, you know, business in courts or whatever.”

“Oh, yeah, but don’t you think it’s good to do something different every now and then?”

“I thought you were doing it for pay.”


“I think the Royal Court pays better.”

“Aw, yeah, but they’re a little mad at me right now but they’ll come around.”

(sighs) “Oh… Should I ask?”

“Probably not.”


Marleena: Locket’s going to message some unseen servant or start putting her finger on her head to be like…

“Room service! Room service! Room service! Is there a bell? Room service!”

Rainer: Imagine the card also works as like, a sending stone[30].

Marleena: Oh! Yeah!

Rainer: Like, one way. To summon room service.

Marleena: We’re coming up at the end of two hours. I feel like this should be the f-finale- (laughs) -what we leave the reader with. Like the finale.

Rainer: What’s the… What’s the meal- Oh, I didn’t get to use any spells, really.

Marleena: Oh, I mean, you can use them now. If you want.

Rainer: No… No, it’s okay. It feels weird to do that.

Marleena: Rabbit Hop.

Rainer: What- What will the- Oh, we can always just do this again because it’s pretty fun, actually.

Marleena: Aw! That’s nice. We’ll have to see how we go with transcribing it.

Rainer: Yeah. What is like- I think we need to finish up with as we’re like, you know, catching up, and room service comes back with a twenty gold spread… What is it?

Marleena: Hmm… (laughs) I just imagine- I have this image of this very normal person dressed in a motley black and grey gimp costume with sparklers or something. And I don’t know why. They’ll come in with the sparklers and they’ll like, entertain us. Like a jester.

Rainer: Yeah- Okay, I was kinda thinking it’ll be like, like food. Or something. And it’ll be brought out by a little parade of people dressed up in costumes-

Marleena: Yeah!

Rainer: -and they’ll have to do a song and dance. And that’s the thing when it’s someone’s birthday, and Locket’s just said, “It’s my birthday.”

Marleena: (laughs) It’s my birthday.

Rainer: Or it’s Mesmur’s birthday. As a joke. So they all come in singing happy birthday, like dressed up. There’s the guy in the blink dog costume.

Marleena: Oh my god.

Rainer: It’s a different person and you can tell they don’t really fit and there’s like, an orc in there, because it’s kinda split at the neck part and you can see the green beneath. And it’s stretching, it can barely fit over this guy’s muscles. As they put on this thing that Mesmur is kind of horrified by but also like, this is so ridiculous that you can’t help but kinda laugh along at it. And everyone just starts cheering, “Happy birthday!”

Marleena: Locket is the annoying audience member who's always tryna make them break character and be like, “What do you feel about your god’s demise?” or “Blinky the blink dog, do you ever not blink?” Like that kind of stupid thing.

Rainer: (laughs)

Marleena: And then, the actors are just like- “Blinky the blink dog-” oh, no! The actor for Blinky is just like, “Woof!” But then their woofs get more unenthusiastic, like: “Woof…” I dunno.

Rainer: Woof…

Marleena: Woof…

Rainer: I imagine there’s the like- Mesmur doesn’t intervene, but they can tell this orc is just straining and holding back visibly as there are more tears growing in their blink dog costume.

Marleena: They don’t have any hind legs.

Rainer: I imagine it’s an upright dog.

Marleena: An upright dog! Nooo!

Rainer: With paws and stuff. Closer to like, a fur suit.

Marleena: Woof…

Rainer: But like, the paws are gripped like a fist. They hate this so much.

Marleena: (laughs) So, eventually- I imagine- I’m tryna imagine the spread of food. I think there’ll be an ice cream cake, and to our dismay it’s the pink soft serve ice cream and- (laughs) it says, “Happy Birthday Mesmah”.

Rainer: It’s got so much chocolate topping on it- yeah, it’s like, scrawled on top in Celestial[31]. Which I imagine is just abstract lines. It’s like- man, we can’t even understand it. It’s kinda really badly written and- because someone else probably translated it and gave it to the chef to put on the cake so they don’t really know what they’re doing. I think it’s all fucked up. It’s close to saying, “Thank you for being born.”

Marleena: (laughs) Ha! “Thanks for being born.”

Rainer: There’s like, a big shovel- no, a big scimitar cutting into the cake. And the red spills out and they’re just sitting there, unmoving.

Marleena: The raspberry jam inside just kinda goes- (splat)

Rainer: Yeah… Nobody’s happy about it.

Marleena: They sing happy birthday to you in Celestial. “Harbee boobdah-”

Rainer: I don’t think anybody knows Celestial good enough. The tinkling sound, you have to get just right. I imagine, whatever fun language they know, they just start singing in that one. So there are like, five different languages.

“Blow out your candles, Mesmur!”

Rainer: Mesmur’s just sitting there. They are like, sparklers.

Marleena: The sparklers form a- I’m gonna say that they form eyes in the cake, but that’s a bit too weird, huh. They’re just bunches stabbed into the cake.

Rainer: I imagine it’s a starry kind of thing. Like, there’s that at least. They’re just sitting there experience this.

Marleena: Locket joins in the singing. She’s just like “Happy birthday to you~! Yay!” (applause) She starts clapping and everyone else starts clapping and Blinky does as well.

“Make a wish!”

“Thank you everyone. I wish for this cake to be flavoured strawberry.”

Rainer: I imagine they turn to the guy who’s just cut the cake-

Marleena: (laughs)

Rainer: -and the guy just gives this pained look as they are using this big scimitar to put this big slice on a plate and just hand it to them.

Marleena: You know what I think would be an amazing twist to the night is if that was actually the trigger for an actual wish spell. And the deity came down and spoke to you and was like- um- erm- “Customer service is our highest priority.” Or some shit like that. And the cake becomes like a beautiful pink with real strawberries. And then Locket’s just like: “Gasp!”

Rainer: It looks the same but it tastes really good, actually.

Marleena: It’s then that Mesmur becomes happy for the first time.

Rainer: I imagine this has been a wish that happened, that has not phased them too much, but they are genuinely surprised the cake is delicious.

Marleena: Aw. (laughs)

Rainer: But I feel like they’d offer… I feel like nobody else there notices. It’s only Mesmur and Locket eating this cake and the guys just kinda shuffle out of the room now.

Marleena: (laughs) They turn off the music as they leave. And it just stops really abruptly.

Rainer: (laughs)

“Time to-”

Rainer: As they eat their cake, Mesmur’s just like: “Wow, my wish came true…”

“Hm? …Wow!”

Rainer: You see his extreme hesitation to eat the cake, but after the first spoon he’s goes “Oh, this is delicious.” And they just keep eating.

Marleena: “Oh, did they change the recipe?” Then Locket eats too, and is like, “Mmm!”

“Well, things are turning up. At least the bed’s comfortable.”

“Yeah. Let’s call in the pixies and watch them while we eat!”

“Oh… I think we’ve paid enough.”

“That’s true.”

Marleena: They- I guess there’s a camera fade-out. Or a camera zooming out. (laughs) There’s a view of Locket and Mesmur eating on the bed eating the cake and the camera pans out.

[1] A DM may confer you “advantage” on a dice roll for many reasons, this grants you a bonus dice to roll with, out of which you use the highest number out of both of those rolls.

[2] The Astral Sea (also known as the Astral Plane) is a separate plane of existence to the plane the characters inhabit. It is a dream-like space and connects various other planes of existence, but powerful magic is needed to traverse it.

[3] Checks are used when a situation requires a special skill or extra effort, in this instance an Investigation check is to investigate the environment around the character.

[4] Beings on the Astral Sea don’t age.

[5] Proficiency Bonuses are used to determine how good a character is at something, the higher it is the better you are.

[6] Rabbit Hop, an ability that Harengons have to jump further, only can be used a certain number of times per long rest.

[7] Mask of Many Faces is a warlock invocation that allows the user to freely cast Disguise Self

[8] Yuan-ti are snake-like peoples who lack emotions and worship a snake god, and attempt to become closer to this god through dark rituals.

[9] Githyanki are a militaristic race who’s home city is on the Astral Plane. They’re known for their strength and psychic powers, and for using red dragons as mounts.

[10] Tieflings are people born with infernal heritage, they are often looked down upon but they have no predilections towards evil.

[11] Locket is a light brown cat person, with a bold and spunky personality. She’s a bard who loves to create and tell stories so they will continue through history.

[12] Druidcraft is a cantrip (basic spell) that can make plants grow and bloom, along with predict the weather and cause small effects like creating gusts of wind.

[13] Firbolg are half giants who have been touched by the fey, with a strong affinity for nature.

[14] Aarakocra are bird people from the plane of air. They can be any species of bird and call no land home.

[15] A spell which allows you to select a target area and produce either dazzling fireworks or thick smoke, casters choice.

[16] A Blink Dog is a dog with fey origins, with pointed ears and lions tail. They have the ability to blink in and out of existence to get out of danger or for offensive purposes.

[17] A spell which allows you to send a short message to someone's mind, and they can answer you.

[18] Scrying creates an invisible sensor to monitor a creature of your choice. You can also choose a location with the same effect.

[19] The Ring of Mind Shielding gives you immunity to magic that targets your mind. This extends to telepathic communication, and you must allow whoever is trying to contact you entry to your mind.

[20] Augury is a spell which acts as a divining tool, giving you an answer to whether or not your next plan of action will end well, poorly or both.

[21] Divination is a spell which acts as a conduit for your character's god or other, similar higher powers. You ask a single question and they must answer truthfully.

[22] Whiskeris a magical item that can be hidden as one of Locket’s whiskers, and plucked out and turned into a rapier when needed. It also has the ability to cast spells such as Disguise Self.

[23] 6 Strength (-2 Modifier) is fairly weak.

[24] Since the Astral Plane is home to different gods in the DnD multiverse, the Astral Plane is also known for having the corpses of gods that have either died or gone dormant drifting in it. The range of how these god corpses look varies from large stone-like figures to giant bodies, and settlements have been built with them as their foundations.

[25] A Modron is a race of constructs that reside in the plane of Order, as such they are strict adherents to the rules that they decide.

[26] An invisible, mindless magical force that does whatever simple tasks the summoner asks of it.

[27] Elves with an elemental affinity.

[28] Street Magic, (full title: I’m Sorry, Did You Say Street Magic?) is another game that involves going in rounds to build up a city communally. We played it together and the city we made was the basis for this setting.

[29] Purple worms are immense, town destroying worms with a poisonous stinger.

[30] Sending stones are analogous to cell phones today, they allow two people with connected sending stones to speak a limited amount of times a day, no matter where they are.

[31] Celestial is a language used by celestial beings, often also used by members of holy orders.

Performer sets up a room or lecture theatre in the university while the audience sits patiently. The performer is rearranging chairs, turning off lights, closing doors, fiddling with dongles, opening, and closing curtains if they are on offer. This continues for a few minutes as the audience sits in the changing light, and sound. The performer finalises a non-specific arrangement not dissimilar from the one they began with. This arrangement involves a chair, a microphone, and a speaker. The lecture begins.  

1.   Welcome, today I will not be saying the things I don’t want to.

2.   I will wander where all enquiries into the unknown do, toward a certain myth. I want to make a little history for myself and for nothing, for silence and the gaps that brought me here today.

3.   This is an endeavour that isn’t quite the real thing, but I would like you to recognise it, nonetheless.

4.   Gladly do I come; gladly do I offer myself to you. An emptying.

They step onto a step stool or box

5.   I am finding what I want to know as well as you are. I find the university to be like a mall. A conditional public space, I say conditional because we can be removed at any time.

Pause. They look tentatively at the door.

6.   The university, the mall and all manners of institution and discipline. I would like to bring our attention to their boundaries. Silent rules and niceties that demarcate accomplishment, allocation and maybe some sort of hierarchy punctuated by action.

They step down from the stool or box and begin walking around the place.

Cabinets, doors, partitions, small hand operated locks, buttons and functional details, rubbish, opening hours, security cameras sitting in high corners, daylight and night-time, the consumption of power, electric or otherwise, curtains, colour palettes and turns of phrase.

7.   We encounter edges.

8.   Although detail is often the mechanism of subordination, it simultaneously has a long history of association with diminished subject positions—women, queers, children, and the insane have long been linked to a preoccupation with details as evidence of their inability to function as full subjects.[1]

9.   I am coming to the question of how to write truth and then

To the question of how to speak it.

10. There is no embodiment without preoccupation.

               I want to tell you something. Before that I want us to hear something else.

11. Intermission where we listen to Its Oh so Quiet by Björk

For three minutes and 38 seconds the performer sits opposite the audience, smiling measuredly.

12. One of the main reasons that a slide loses its slickness is that it becomes dirty over time — that's why you'll want to start by cleaning the slide. Make a cleaning solution using warm water and a mild dish detergent. This will help scrub free any dirt caked on to the slide.[2]

The performer stands, wanders and there is a bit of a silence. Their mode of delivery changes, becomes more casual.

13. I’m still thinking about embodiment, about embodiment as a dirt caked slide.

14. How and where do you sit?

How do you view the world?

How loud do you speak? using what language, to whom?

What do you wear? and how you groom yourself?  

When are you awake and asleep?

What do you eat?

Repetitions stack themselves into a person.

15. and We encounter edges

16. When I think about embodiment, I think about the details that epitomise an individual, the adjustments, fiddling and reordering that serve to pre-empt movements and speech.

The performer begins adjusting themself in various reflections around the room. Then they stop, standing still in front of the audience again for a considerate beat.

17. I wanted it like this because I wanted to address you.

18. A lecture is an educational talk to an audience, especially one of students in a university, A lecture is a long serious speech, especially one given as a scolding or reprimand[3]. To gather, collect, pick out, choose.

Let me gather my thoughts and then I will give you, my word.

19. “The idea and the word are intertwined, and the word is fundamentally a spoken word, and a spoken word is spoken as gesture, with one’s entire body. When I speak a word to you, my entire body is saying a word to your entire body and that is how the meaning is constructed.”[4]

20. “Collective feelings are not feelings that the collective ‘has’, as if the collective was a subject. Rather the collective is an effect of the impressions left by others on the surfaces of skins.”[5]

Performer makes eye contact with the audience, nodding to acknowledge them. Performer turns to face the front of the room. Their back to the audience.

21. When I was a kid, I was always trying to manufacture closeness with my parents. There was that which came naturally and easily and that which came quietly.

22. Laying on my mum’s chest I would try and sync our breathing, holding my breath, exhaling if she did.




             A silent form of adoration,

             A rhythm

23. “You are breathing patiently: It is your life, which is so close to my own that I would not know where to drop the knife of separation.”[6]

24. “I think that any child who has been educated in a Catholic milieu just before or during the Second World War had the experience that there were many ways of speaking as well as many forms of silence. There were some kinds of silence which implied very sharp hostility and others which meant deep friendship, emotional admiration, even love.”[7]

25. Silence is missing because it requires that we keep on speaking. Silence is always in dialogue, following the sounds that ooze from the edge of words. Made up of surface, breath, words, and their ooze. From these materials silence takes shape.

The performer takes a long breath and sighs it slowly from their mouth. The performer takes a seat.

26. I often dream of home. The escarpment obscured by clouds. Plovers swooping coastlines, cars and kids. Wet dogs’ slicing through sand and grass to chase them.

27. I was nicknamedLittle One.

28. For Little One to be grownup, mimicry was method. Matching the way older people talked, walked, dressed, laughed, ate, and sat.

The performer adjusts themselves in a reflection again pauses and continues.

29. I think of those years I couldn’t speak yet, the questions my mum might have asked me.

30. Quiet sounds                               were like loneliness            ,                                        or    love                                  or friendship                                    .[8]            

31. When we don’t speak, we will hear                                       different things

32. I was guarded                    wanting to be surrounded

33.                                                                                                                        We encounter edges

34. I would wear his clothes, be topless if he was, hungry if he was eating, spoke how he did.

35. When I start to speak now my breath is high and funny

36. I encounter an edge,      I do not   have                                                                  a body           I am                                         a body

37. What does it mean to be bounded?

38. What is body language?

39. With nothing to say we have physical interpretation

Facial Expressions, Repetition, Body Movement and Posture, Contradiction, Voice, Gestures, Substitution, Eye contact, Complementing, Touch, Accenting, Space

As this is being said the performer is walking around, noting their body, trying to fit it under or over objects in the room, rearranging objects around them sitting or standing, Moving freely. They settle on a seat in the audience.

40. I want you to like it. I want to ask what are we? Can we talk about our dynamic? The things that make the initiator and the participant. I would like to unsettle that. I want you to know that this is a lecture I am unfolding from pedagogy from its compression into dense academic text. In the history of artmaking and education, artist talks, and artist lives, there is a rift I want this performance to traverse. There is a certainty of delivery I would like to unsettle. Values of attention I would like to go against.

41. Would you like to be somewhere else?

42. I love when Bjork whispers in songs, Using the breath not the voice, so close to quiet it feels like an interval before the sound swells again.

43. I have air in my body, and I am manipulating it.

44. I reach the end and want to begin again knowing what I know.

45. I have not said the things I don’t want to.

46. I have emptied something non-specific.

47. Thankyou

[1]Paraphrased from Naomi Schor’s Reading in Detail: Aesthetics and the Feminine, 1989 [2] How to Polish a Plastic Playground Slide from https://www.adventureworldplaysets.com/blog/playset-quality/how-to-polish-a-plastic-playground-slide
[3]Definition and etymology for Lecture available at https://www.etymonline.com/word/lecture

[4] From the incredible Gordon Hall, New Space Education and How it Works, In conversation with Orlando Tirado, 2014 [5] Words from the amazing Sara Ahmed in Collective Feelings: Or, the Impressions Left by Others, 2004

[6] Mary Oliver, Oxygen from her collection of poems: Thirst, published October 2006

[7]Michel Foucault on differing forms of silence in an interview with Stephen Riggins, 1983

[8] John Cage, Lecture on Nothing, 1959