Poems and Texts

“Anthropometry Stops” by Camel Collective (Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats)

Anthropometry Stops

To be read from an smart-phone. The instructor also wears ear-buds.

[a harmonium begins to resonate]

Hello and welcome.

Let’s begin from a standing position, arms relaxed at your sides. Feet together, the balls of the feet are touching. Eyes are forward, the chin tucked slightly in to the chest, lifting and straightening the spine.

Your breathing should be regular. Don’t try to alter anything. Don’t try to fix anything.

Notice how each breath moves unimpeded through the non-woven disposable mask. Its material is continuous, an added layer of protection from the airborne particles in the room I have been told are non-carcinogenic.

Breathe in — Yttrium, cerium, dysprosium, carbon, europium, terbium, neodymium.

Breathe out — Neodymium, terbium, europium, carbon, dysprosium, cerium, yttrium.

Like the material. Keep your breath flowing, seamless and continuous.

White breathable dust suits, and blue jumpers for the controllers.

Raise your arms in front of you, hands opening slightly outward. Imagine you are holding an object. Weigh it in your hands. Is it wet? Turn it over. Is it dusty? Examine it. What is it? What is your object? Where is it from? Where will it go? Metal bone?

Now lean forward at the waist and release your object. Going deeper into the bend, let your hands reach out to catch your fall. Let them support you, coming to rest on the earth. You are now bending over. Keep your feet and hands planted firmly on the floor, your legs are straight. Hold this and breathe.

Now imagine that your mask has been removed. Turn it over in your mind’s eye. Look at its interior.

Breathe in the names — AngloGold Ashanti, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Newmont, Glencore Xstrata.

Repeat them with me — AngloGold Ashanti, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, BHP Billiton, Newmont, Glencore Xstrata.

And now Exxhale — Ashaaaaaaanti, Exxxtraaaaacta, Tiiiintooooooo.

Rotate your body from this position. Reflect your torso across its horizontal axis bringing the right hand off the floor, pivoting on your left hand. And now ease yourself into a seated position. Slowly extend your left leg down away from your body and lift your right leg, flexing at the hip. Bring the right knee to the chest, the calf pressed to the back of the thigh, breathing out.

Feel the pliable (yielding) structure of your porous bones mineralizing.

Now, wind the torso to the right as if you were wringing out a damp rag. Let the water fall around you, filling in the depression. Filling in the quota.

The left hand is placed on the left thigh. The right arm is tucked out of sight, twisted such that the top of the forearm is pressed to the small of the back, straining the shoulder muscles. The right hand is out of sight.

The head and neck are craned back, turned slightly to the right. This is the image. The eyes are wide, focused just over the lens of the camera above.

The water is filling the cavity. Now, think of this new water as having a content. Of behaving differently according to its constituent parts. It is no longer water—it is a liquid. Imagine what color the liquid will become. Not deep blue. Not clear. What else is there?

Visualize a dark ochre liquid with an iridescent film covering the surface of the earth. Imagine the sun is striking the surface of the iridescent ochre liquid like a drum. Imagine the surface igniting in flames. How to be like this liquid? Inert. Inanimate. A surface on fire. Is this appealing? Let it appeal.

Now bring yourself back to our second position, hands and feet are on the floor forming a triangle with your body. Legs, torso and arms, and the earth make up the three sides of your triangulation. Hybrid vehicles, fiber optics, wind turbines, smart phones, ipads, laptops, heating and cooling systems, server farms.

Bending the knees, lean your weight back onto your thighs, and bring your body into a squatting position, legs slightly apart. Now lean slightly forward at the waist extending the right hand towards the floor in front of the right foot letting your heat signature stagnate against any background noise and against any external pressures to flow that you might feel.

Bend your left arm back over your head, fingers coming to rest over the left shoulder blade. Don’t worry if you can’t do this the first time. Try to hold your hand flat against your shoulder blade. Now rotate your body so your right hand is in front of your left foot inhibiting any inner need to flow. Lift your head upward to look at the camera, and try forcing this image to extrude into three dimensions.

Heads-up displays, Laser guidance systems, electronic security grids, global positioning devices. Remain in this position breathing regularly.

Now slowly raise your body and lower your arms. Come to a standing position, arms relaxed at your sides. Feet together, the balls of the feet are touching. Eyes are forward, the chin tucked slightly in to the chest, lifting and straightening the spine.

Camel Collective

Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked as Camel Collective since 2005. They draw on narrative theater and dramaturgy, combining them with research into marginal histories, critical pedagogy, and entertainment. These cross-disciplinary works involve collaboration from among a variety of participants. The collective writes theatricalized scenarios into exhibitions for the productive frictions generated when genres cross—discourse becomes a chorus, documents become a strike, a political impasse becomes an occasion for painting. Their projects are largely informed by the works and methods of Bertolt Brecht and the social portraiture of the Weimar avant-garde. Camel’s exhibitions and performances have been presented at Casa del Lago, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico City; the Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan Puerto, Puerto Rico; Overgaden Institut for Samtidskunst and Aarhus Museum, in Denmark; and Artist’s Space, Art in General, Exit Art, and MassMoCA, in the US.