I am back to writing The Bergdorf Reports again after a hiatus since March. I can’t think of a better way to gradually return to blogging than with a report about the G.B.T.H. (Grab By The Horns), the inspiring virtual art project by my dear friend Marina Münter. Marina and I were introduced by a mutual friend in August 2017. It turns out we had a lot in common, not merely our fascination with the virtual world and art. More than anything else, I think we realized we shared a devotion to what is meaningful and real in Second Life. I am in awe of Marina’s vision when it comes to the G.B.T.H., her choosing together with her co-collaborator Megan unique art and then finding ways to properly display it in the virtual space. It takes an enormous amount of effort, devotion and time to do this the right way.
Marina came up with the G.B.T.H. together with Megan Prumier, starting with one of two Mutual Respect exhibits in October 2017. We had a panel discussion inspired by those two exhibits, A Talk About Mutual Respect: Perspectives on Empathy, in December. I left Second Life from March to June 2018, and when I returned, the G.B.T.H. had continued to flourish, now housed on its own parcel, showing carefully planned, month-long exhibits continuously curated by Marina and Megan. The G.B.T.H. has shown, in chronological order since May 2018, Contact, by Megan Prumier; HIKARI, by Amelie Marcoud; Concrete Diorama, by Mistero Hilfeng; 50mg, by Nath Baxton; and ARTEFATOS-Fragments of Things Past, by Ash.
The most recent exhibit, ARTEFATOS-Fragments of Things Past, by Ash, opened today and will be open for about a month. This installation by Ash incorporates stories of love and lust told by evocative objects trapped in hotel rooms. The visitor is encouraged to explore the various rooms, making sure to set to “advanced lightning” and turn up sound. I only got a quick peek of this installation, but was deeply moved by the first room themed The Chinese Dress. The placement of the objects in conjunction with the reading experience of the text is incredibly poetic. Below the text for The Chinese Dress, by Ash.
I arrived two hours before you. That was my plan from the start. I was coming from the most important business meeting of my life, straight into your arms. My dress smelled like airplane food, and I wasn’t wearing my best shoes. No matter how hard you protested, I had to change my panties. I took a long shower, washed and brushed my hair with the calm of a woman who had already waited too long. We are all Penelopes here, a friend once said.
My suitcase was modest, at least in matter of clothes, but filled with more lingerie than I could possibly wear in those few days. The huge, heavy hair dryer seemed indispensable when I was packing. Does that make any sense? For some strange reason, my plan was to take a long shower and make my hair look and smell good for you. I wore my Chinese dress, just like the one I was wearing when we first met. Not the same, obviously, but the closest match I could find. Short enough to let you notice the strings of the garter holding my stockings. The fabric was silky, shiny and soft. The dress had these small buttons, so many and so small, perfect to make you wait. A little revenge for having waited so long myself.
You probably didn’t notice the Chinese dress. You probably didn’t see any connection between that dress and the other. But it doesn’t really matter. I knew it, and that was enough. I would forever know and remember I was wearing a Chinese dress when I met you, not the same but just like the one I wore when we first met. We first met at a movie theater that no longer exists. Actually, I think you were at the café, but the café is gone now, too. We spoke the few silly lines we repeated so often during the years preceding that day. I wish I could remember the name of the silent black and white movie I was watching.
While I was waiting you I had an espresso. Or two. Or five. The coffee tasted like vanilla. You know how much I hate sugar in my coffee. But even without sugar the coffee was sweet, unlike any other I had tasted before. So good and so addictive. I probably consumed all the coffee in that small kitchen where, hours later, I would be on my knees. You would be trying to remove my corset. I was angry with you, so many hours spent choosing it, lacing it. I had bought it especially for you, and as soon as you started kissing me, you were already trying to get rid of it. I thought you knew nothing about sex. So raw, so natural, so straight to the point. But that also doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was on my knees, at the little kitchen. You body was leaning against the wall, against the ugliest painting I have ever seen, horrible but so eloquent “a new adventure”. And then I tasted you for the first time. And your taste was the inverse of everything else you are, the raw and natural you. Koffie verkeerd. I couldn’t even understand, the first time, if you came or not. With my mouth filled of you, I couldn’t understand. Because that taste, your taste, was so incredibly sweet, unlike any other I had tasted before.
Waiting for you, I opened all the windows, letting in the sunny summer day. I sat next to the window, watching the passer-bys cross the little pedestrian street. I still have no idea how I found that place, so charming and unexpected, like out of a dream, like out of a French movie. Every person who passed in front of the big window gave me shivers. Could have been you. For more than an hour, every one of them could have been you. Until one guy appeared with his big backpack and a map in his hands. He could have been Waldo, or he could have been you. No third option. He passed in front of the window, passed the door, passed the building, almost passed the little street. You couldn’t find the number, and I was observing you through the window. I smiled. My legs were shaking, but I never felt so strong and so brave. I opened the old wooden door and crossed the tiny garden, our tiny night garden of wine, bread and cigarettes. I opened the heavy metal gate. You were there, finally. I didn’t kiss you. I pinched your arm, and I bit you. Just like I did when I said goodbye.
Make sure not to miss this beautifully sensual installation before it closes on November 8, here is the landmark: The G.B.T.H. Project. Please also check out and join the G.B.T.H. Project website and the G.B.T.H. Flickr group for updates and announcements about the G.B.T.H.
Photograph above from the G.B.T.H exhibit ARTEFATOS-Fragments of Things Past (by Ash) by Kate Bergdorf