The Process + Bios
Notes on "TEMENOS"
Robin: I have never worked with others, and didn't believe in team work for artistic creation. But when Daniela suggested we collaborate on a poem, somehow I agreed. The moon was a crescent, the night crisp as a newly ironed shirt.
Daniela: We met face to face to begin the poem. Went to the Kino Cafe earlier to work, and brainstorm, later stayed for the flamenco dances and music. We even taped part of our conversation, which was itself like a poem. It had a lot of background noise and here and there you hear key words, the points our voices crescendoed into "urban morphology" or "smack time between the hands, what is stomped?" or "what is poetry?"
Robin: Poetry is what tears the veil of existence.
Daniela: Isn't tears too violent? Toward the end of the night, mesmerised by the beat of hands clapping, and the energy of the footwork, we even asked: what's the scary part ?
Robin: That we will come up with nothing.
Daniela: That we have never been there before. Yet, we do this all the time with our selves, by ourselves. This time it is just a different self. Both of us agreed that the exciting part was the encounter.
We then had a few exchanges by email. Then Robin decided the poem is ready to be finished. So we met face to face to finish it at the i-cafe. Over borscht, and chowder, watercress tea, and mango cheesecake. We went over it line by line, not compromising.
Robin: To compromise means settling for only half of what I really want for the sake of keeping the peace, while expecting the other to do the same. I don't like that. A genuine relationship, to me, is where I view what I really want only as a starting point, that I then let go of in order to discover with the other, what we really want.
Daniela: Robin was stingy with repetitions, I was grateful for that. There were a few lines we haggled over. Launched into rewriting. We took out what that night we called crap words, like, be, is , and it, your, and words that repeated like more, or our, etc. We had a lot of fun with the line: what thunder opens a tree / on the retina of memory. We wrote separate lines and then blended them together to come up with that line, under the watchful and confused eye of our waitress who kept trying to clear the table all the time.
Robin: Though some of the lines came from me and some from Daniela, at the end every one of them, of both the call and the answer notes, became ours. But I agree that what thunders open a tree / on the retina of memory were ours from the conception. They are still my favourite lines!
Robin Susanto and Daniela Elza believe in adding themselves to the infinite sum, making it converge to one unsayable word. Writing this poem is part of their stochastic process.
Daniela's solo work in BPR: dying for answers, The Math Ex.am, meta cosmos
Robin's solo work in BPR:
The Rain Connoisseur, marrow
back to the collaboration