Tiny Trace Stories
Tiny Trace Stories is an anthology of mini audio stories, exploring ten intersections in the real world, among various objects, places, hands, time or phenomena.
That’s all you need to know, really. The experience is meant for listening, enjoy it as a fractured audio log from an object safari.
Should you not be able to listen, you can also read them below. The stories also had small artefacts made or collected: a static nature of observations, if you may.
This is an ongoing project, and will have more mini stories added soon.
- The biting Door
You walk through a door. Just that.
You walk through a door and you keep walking, because to you, the focus of your movement is to arrive into the next space, and not to think about the threshold. Maybe at some point in the future you will think fondly of the door you went through for a while, such as the door to your school, or the door to your childhood bedroom. But in your everyday life it is ubiquitous, mundane, and maybe even a little bit transparent to your attention. But that door, which ever one caught your minds’ eye as you listen to these words, this door, interacts with the space you leave behind in ways you don’t even know. The best part might just be that the door, especially if it was not made custom, will eat out of the floors’ surface, describing arcs of a circle as its verticality over-stretches into the horizontality of the floor. They graze each other for years, close just enough to describe arcs of motion conditioned to hundreds, and thousands, of pivots in one, plain, elegant axe.
Read by Polly North
2. Intersection of two separately made things
There was this arch I saw once.
Can’t quite remember if it supported anything above itself. But just like any archway in a quaint European city centre, it had pale stucco on its gentle slope, and one story buildings on each side, making for a picturesque transition from an asphalt street to an alley with cubic stone.
My favourite observation, and moment of confusion, was when the smooth geometry had a delivery truck approach it. The arch didn’t look like a safe passthrough for suppling goods. At first glance, it even seemed like the truck wouldn’t fit!
The confidence of the driver made you ease, and take the time to actually look at the archway. Then you could see it!
There must have been prior journeys that were successful, of course, depending on your own definition of successful. Whether it was from the same truck or others, two steady grooves ran across through the depth of the archway, subtracting two new sharp shapes.
And just like the probable vehicles before it, the truck plunged into the loose plaster, with the broken arch giving passage. On closer inspection, if the arch was smiling, these two long bites in the shape of corners were the cosmetically added dimples.
It’s in these creases that one can observe not just two objects, but two worlds intersecting. Both worlds of makers that didn’t take into account each others’ work, when creating their own. And here, in one of probably multiple locations where creations are put to use in the same world, they come to meet, and purposefully or not, make space for each other.
3. One Square
Take one square metre of surface, somewhere … maybe in a valley, where the sun shines brightly on it and makes the grass glisten. Observe a very small strand of water slalom through. Imagine some hoofs treading lightly the place, on their way to drink water. Ten years pass from this arbitrary point in time, and a human footstep lays for the first time on this square foot. It’s followed by other steps, and the grass becomes less glistening and less tall. The water takes a different course, and under the feet of more and more clothed toes, the grass decomposes. The dirt becomes firm, and before you know it, the square metre is crossed so often by living beings that the motion happening on top of it becomes a typical quality of the static surface.
The square had a city grow around it, now having its neighbouring square metres look the same: flattened out to no tell signs of the former valley.
It has laid soaked in rain water, as well as underwater.
It has sanded down countless plastic shoes.
Ice cream was dropped, and made its way in between the tiles in a most structured mess.
A gum was dropped, stepped, pressed, rained, dried and darkened with time and walks. They are finally cleaning it next week, alongside the other hundreds of dark rubbery spots around the block.
ne break up happened on this square metre, in between the two hundred and one first kisses. It’s close to an unpopular traffic light waiting spot, since it lasts on average four seconds longer than all the street lights in the neighbourhood. The average visiting time of this square metre is of two seconds and three quarters.
This square metre now sees more walked kilometres than one individual has to travel on a busy day with a lot of errands.
4. Eat the Fork
A desert sits quietly on a plate. It would be weird if its noise level was any different. A fork approaches, but very briskly stops at a few centimetres above the tasty, silent, sweet. It just hovers above.
If the slice of cake had a personality, it would be yearning for the fork to plunge into the salty caramel cream atop. But it does not. The fork levitates steadily above the dessert; of course, with a human attached at its other end.
A dark coloured flake lands on the cake. One tap, two taps, three taps, and the dessert is evenly sifted with fine cocoa dust. If the cake would have had external stimuli for light levels, it would have not noticed the sifter above the fork.
The sifter retracts, leaving exposed to the neon light the cake and the fork covered in cocoa. The fork moves too, uncovering from underneath a zone of naked cream, as one would get if they went to the beach alone and had to put sunscreen on their own back; Or had an unfortunate article of clothing shading a very irregular shape while sleeping outside. The cake travels a distance far longer than it could traverse on its own, but much shorter than the one done by the ingredients it is made of. In small pieces, the slice disappears.
The shadow takes another form post consumption; not the one of the fork just ingested, but the absence of the cake in the plate, in the shape of an elongated square of missing cocoa.
5. Stand Still Spinning
Some clay is spinning in a controlled pivot on a potter’s wheel. To the best knowledge and capacity of the potter, the block is without bubbles. Should one look at the clay from further away, they can’t know if the clay is spinning or not. The mound looks similar in all qualities: round, solid, heavy bottomed, whether in motion or not. Its state is given away only by listening to the nature of the electric wheel.
The potter brings something close to the outer edge of the mound. A line. An outline on the edge of a solid material. Slowly, the outline starts colliding with the clay.
Each radial slice of the whole reacts more or less in the same manner to the foreign object pressing on its surface. With time they accommodate more with one another, until both can exist without opposition to the forces that brought them together.
With precision, the object pressed against the clay is retracted, and the clay preserves in all instances the outline. The foreign object has now defined both the section and total geometry of the shape. And just like before, you can look at the clay as either static, or in motion.
6. Staircase to a Flying Carpet
They glide together slowly on the concrete runway. Him in a neon orange jacket, it oddly on wheels and mobile. It’s like an odd pair of figure skates.
The captain just announced cross-check which from an average amount of experience, you presume to mean you will depart soon.
You watched till now, and you watch more still, out of the airplane window at the boy who moves a three dimensional combination of a vehicle and the staircase. His hands grip firmly on metal handlebars at the heel of the stair. In slow pivots, he directs it into a new position which will offer safe passage to the travellers from the anonymous flight to your left.
Damn! What a great pondering device for our necessities of circulation. Think about it.
You have this moving access point for moving, flying airplanes, in just the right spot, for just the right amount of time so that passengers can get onboard, of just the right airplane. This staircase is the last appendix of a complete building made for circulation.
This is how you come to meet halfway, metaphorically speaking of course, the process of air travelling. As boarding can’t be done any lower, and you need to start from some point to get higher up in the air.
For a brief moment, you get to use a mobile access point that will hold your steps until you can meet up with the airplane. This neon vested individual, in the routine of his job, makes poetry by getting away of circulation into circulation, and that’s pretty cool.
And this rise and fall in your path leads you to the airplane which was most likely 10,000 meters in the air, while you were taking your shoes off. But now, at last, your earth shoes, get to meet the literal flying carpet that is found inside the cabin.
To me, this object is no less than a jewel it’s made from and for circulation, it’s still a staircase by all means. And that’s what makes it great. But I just think that it’s one of humankind’s greatest functional sculptures. You just know it’s that good when people don’t even bat an eye that it’s an art piece.
Read by Andreea Samoilă
7. Persistent Shadows
When I was little, I saw on TV an opening ceremony for a sporting event, where the athletes walked into the stadium, and stepped on trays with inks. As they walked onto the track covered in a vast white canvas, their lack of choreography led to the various colours in the trays blending; Making big, broad strokes of movement: such as you see in a bank of fish, or a flock of birds at sunset.
My very young mind was completely blown away by the spectacle of motion that was drawing under the shoes of the athletes. It was remarkable and …(pause+confusion) not real?
I remember it as the 2000 Olympics opening, quite clearly! But then again, I was four at the time.
Upon revisiting archives and videos, this happening is nowhere to be found, but present in other forms in artworks and everyday life.
I see it now in all entry ways to construction sites, where fine parts of the walls make it out into the street in the form of footsteps. Or in the bus station in the thin layer of snow, clearly showing the impatience of their maker.
They are like persistent shadows, which you get to see only once the foot leaves the surface. They visualise circulation, making prominent the routes and interests of people. They give you time to think about time.
I admire this past existent, or nonexistent, event; for stretching out such a big carpet to absorb footsteps, and I cherish now seeing floors have the same quality.
Story no. 8 is still in the works.
9. The chamber of a film
It is wondrous and awe inspiring to think of how many types of objects of storage we have created, made to have their volume expand and contract depending on the qualities of the stored object .
But it is still easy enough to identify my favourite type of storage: the one that hosts short bursts of light.
This chamber has thin film that eroded with your smile, your face, and your Sunday afternoon. It is completely in the dark, except for the short moments when you press a shutter. I can’t think of anything we trap quite as quickly as light. Or of anything so sensitive, that anyway survives by staying dark in a small, small, portable room.
I shamefully had a film sit inside of my camera for more than a year.
I wondered how stale the air inside was.
But when the film was finally full, enough time elapsed for me to forget how I used the camera, and that I had to push the release lever.
The film snapped inside. The camera did not finally take a big breath by opening its door and leaving fresh air inside. That moment had to wait a bit more.
If by any chance you break the film inside of the camera, a bigger dark room can swallow your portable one, and have two skilled hands find and retrieve your film. In the dark and just by touch.
This made me think of the hermetically sealed factories for phones; where no dust may enter, so all employees enter just by stretching inwards a bubble gum-like film, turning it into corridors, clothes, and eventually gloves.
The same happens with the film inside a camera, by placing it in a bigger, dark object of storage, you allow safe passage for the undeveloped film to move from one space to another.
If you think of it, the further away from windows, and as much inwards as possible, the better the odds of finding a dark place where your film will not absorb new objects and walls. You could even say the optimal place to recoil a film is at the heart of a building.
I can gladly say that all the pictures on that film have been saved. Photographs now retell what things, places and faces this object of storage was safely holding inside.
Read by Ana Purcari.
Two foolishly young lovers go for a walk. They leave the city behind and tread a narrow path among trees. They have a conversation about pies, and what they should eat that night. Every now and then, they observe tree trunks marked with the names of other exhibitionist lovers.
They approach a beech tree and examine the bark. The tree is of a consistent brown, with small twigs popping out underneath the fully grown branches.
The lovers find an area to their liking and take out a swiss knife. One carves out a letter, and then the other takes their turn. Chips of bark pile up at the lovers’ feet. They make a plus sign in between the two names and kiss. They look at their work for another moment, and then go on with their walk.
The bark seeps new resin into the freshly exposed tissue. A few days later, the web of cells dries out in the summer wind. More days pass and the bark softens just slightly around the sharp corners of the letters.
The forest stands in sun and rain. All pairs of names scattered around hibernate under thin layers of windswept snow. They hold each other warm.
Each year the bark stretches. It pulls along the names. The edges of the letters get softer. The once light and skinny carvings are now inflated, and touching each other. The plus sign is no longer distinguishable from the rest of the letters, now observing the etching as just one long name.
They prescribed the bark how to grow over the decades.
Now, their love expanded into magnitudes of the initial shapes they carved.
Read by Jakob D’herde.
More stories to come…