Obsidian after Gala Porras-Kim

Gala Porras-Kim at the 2019 Whitney Biennial. From left to right: La Mojarra Stela 1 and its shapes, 2019; La Mojarra Stela 1 negative space, 2019; La Mojarra Stela 1 illuminated text, 2019. On pedestal: La Mojarra Stela 1 incidental conjugations, 2019. Photograph by Sara Clugage.




after Gala Porras-Kim


To have a read
on the world
as opposed to knowing
what a world is
precisely. An evening
where I couldn’t understand
the lecture as anything
other than a lecture,
whereas later that night
I understood my friend
was in pain through
her smiling. The stone’s
carved message, the event
of it and its passage
through me— not so
much flicker but
consistent glow. The
simple enough rotation
to remind us how
to read again, how to
turn like a child— put
an image on its head in
order to see a different
shape. Things get pretty
clear upside down:
lots of pressure in the
head, objects and words
could drop down
and spill out. Meanwhile
the stone’s carved
message is a stone’s
carved message. Language
a broken vessel, our desire
to fill it amounts to just
that. Certainly, things clear
up in obsidian:
It might simply mean
three dots
and a serpent.