in contrast to my last post, i write this, and ive written it a number of times and closed the tab, losing my progress.
in contrast to the utter artistic pessimism in the last post.
i went on an art residency in 2019, to the island of nisyros, a round island with a volcano and just about two small towns. 11 days, we had two masters students who spoke fluent greek, 3 undergraduates, and me- i'd just graduated in july. my grandmother had just died, and everything was clearing up, and this trip was my first dip into post graduate life. before the burden of the arts space, and finding work, i had this. my gran would have been proud of me, for certain, a free holiday...
we arrive in rhodes, stay a night, have breakfast in a terrace courtyard- with a whole lime tree making up the ceiling, a red canary, eggs and ham. we get a ferry to nisyros. its a big boat, ice cold inside. we turn up on the marina at night and a guy on a moped attends to us. he was a bit of a slimeball, ominous guy, i didnt trust him at first and he didnt trust me.
we got a car ride to the bath house, where we were staying. the driver mentions his one available reference, manchester united- it struck me pretty hard, because i noticed how out-of-touch i was with reality. whenever football is mentioned, its like im back in school, and that ball hits me square in the head again, i realise i dont have a clue about it and that makes me out of touch.
we have 11 days to do whatever. id brought a crumb of hashish in a pair of shorts, so i was savouring it. listening to the leaked Kanye West Yandhi album. every now and then, i would catch recommendations through the radio, or through my new friends. Trash Island by drain gang was released at this time too.

the first night, i think, was our first exhibition opening in the basement gallery space. i was in greece- so i didnt make it, but my girlfriend at the time was there. come to think of it, she didnt talk much about it, but she probably couldnt get a chance between me gushing about the trip. to be fair to me, it felt incredible.
there was a small restaurant / taverna attached to the bath house. i spent the first day combing the beach and swimming in the ocean, i hadnt done for many years. cutting into those waves was damn scary, envigorating, always though they would push me back to the rocks.
days after, we meet with the mayor in his office. all their PCs are running Windows Vista. he agrees to let us have an exhibition at the archaeological museum, we'd visited days prior looking to hold an event there. we had basically turned up and demanded a venue, but this didnt matter to me, i couldnt feel self conscious, i didnt know the language. and everyone was kind, the mayor, the curator at the museum.
they were already busy, we couldnt have the interior space, so they let us install in the courtyard.
the mayor also invited us to a celebration event at a monastery at the top of the mountain. they cooked goat, i think, or a cow, and rice.
we cooked in a small outbuilding on a raised area behind the bath house buildings. the first few nights, having coffee, ham, we would walk into mandraki to buy pastries in the morning. all made by sweet, stoic grandmas.
there was a group of these grandmas at the celebration, headstrong, strategising on how to serve the guests. it struck me heavily because it reminded me of my gran, as that was the person she was too, just on the other side of the equator. i cried about it silently for nearly two hours, luckily it was dark, but my friends noticed when the lights were around. i told them i was mourning.

i would get an iced frappe from the taverna in the morning, smoke, listen to the owner groan along to Chelsea Wolfe. i would swim when i wanted.
my artwork was rudimentary. found object sculptures, glowing pigment, photographs, lots of photographs. i have a habit of finding ephemeral items and holding them up like relics, and then i inadvertently destroy them somehow along the way. i would trace images straight off my laptop screen in ink pen, or pencil, on japanese rice paper, mounted on aged archival paper. i'd found it in my grans shed when we were clearing out her home. it was a dark yellow from being in storage for so long. as soon as i got there i was determined to remember everything. it was like stepping into a fantasy! a dream. a bath house, i sat in the water, heated by geothermal energy, i floated in it. marble bath tubs.
we would eat at the taverna in the evening. play cards. one day, we took turns reading characters dialogue from macbeth. i was him, watching all my friends fight and die around me, before dying myself. poison! duels! how cruel.
the later half of the week was filled by hosting the exhibition. there wasnt much of a lazy-morning feeling when we had to go into town for breakfast. better to be in town before 12pm, because even in october, making that journey in full view of the sun was debilitating.
the exhibition went successfully. children arrived and stayed for as long as they were allowed. some spoke excellent english. i gave them all my glowing items, bones, stones, sticks. they loved them- all bright pink. tourists visited, but they mostly wanted to talk about themselves. locals visited, but they seemed to struggle finding things to say. even the mayors bodyguard, the guy who met us on the marina the first night, arrived to share his opinion.
some work on display was undoubtedly well made, beautiful. mine was not exactly so. and as a result the henchman stayed on mine a bit longer than others, looking at it intently. maybe he was picking it apart. weighing up what was good and what wasnt, just like i do when i look at artwork. he had seen other shows before, hes searching, on some kind of path. id seen a cross and some rosary beads wrapped on the handle of his moped , scuffed plastic, and some fancy metal-alloy brake locks. this is a swell for me, where the story swells, paths, journey, riding, spiritually, half-trapped and half protected by masculinity, one day i can put all that into proper words.

i dont see anything wrong with presenting half-good artwork... as long as it helps you appreciate what youre looking at more. its all in pieces, dont condescend an audience, let them see their bigger picture, let them interpret, thats a good thing.

the last few days were spent invigilating the exhibition, sat in the hot sun. we rented a car, and went to a beach far away from the towns. it was just us there. coarse sand, i could see every grain. they stuck to me like armor. i found a fragment of obsidian on the ground, wish fulfilled. i could see the clouds of the milky way when i looked up at the stars at night. but the steam was spent, all hot air, we were revolving again, down the barrel back to somewhere else. a new life, back at home, NEET now, but thats a boring story for another time.

this is when i decided to make games. it has been a twisted path, definitely weird, ive had to turn away from things that werent right. but its all good now, i think. we shall see.
i re-built the bath house and marina, its in a Unity project. it has a unique visual style, nothing like reality, but i love it still. i still work on it, the trip was in 2019, so its been nearly 2 years now. its no game, its just a place. dont know how to package it, ship it, gamify it, i dont want to. ill just keep working on it and it should fall into place.
ive spent a few solid months work on the Loutra virtual space. ive been learning unity at the same time, unreal engine, releasing other things, learning 3D. it will come out one day, and it will be a big picture. i promise

apologies for present / past tense mixing