© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Portrait by Geir Jordahl. Bergen. Dec. 2017.
SOON WE ARE LANDSCAPE. Stephen Eastaugh. 2017. (Norway)
Matchstick men – Wolfgang Stiller
Studio portrait by Kate Jordahl. Dale i Sunnifjord. Dec. 2017
I said goodbye to my studio at NKD in Norway, some tall matchstick-men, European friends and a very large dried fish that I befriended in Bergen then I ran away from a white, cold and wet Euro winter. I had intended to visit Ireland but for a number of reasons out of my control I headed back to Argentina. It took 60 hours of travel to get from Dale i Sunnifjord to La Consulta. (BGO Bergen - CPG Copenhagen - LHR London - CDG Paris - GRU Sao Paulo - MDZ Mendoza.) Really, that is not so many hours of travel but long-haul economy air travel with lots of stopovers via many major international hub airports is a bit painful I must say. A slow boat would have been more to my liking.
A few incidents during this 60-hour epic trip. I was stuck in a faulty insane talking elevator, there was a very rough and almost scary landing at San Paulo airport and I spotted plane spotters at Heathrow airport. These characters must be the modern form of birdwatchers who get enjoyment from watching and listing the numerous varieties seen. Armed with binoculars, iPads, and petrol station coffee, plane spotters scan the skies and airports for metallic birds to add to their lists. Does anyone have any idea why they do this?
I have a love/hate relationship with air travel and airports these days. I do not get motion sickness (air, road nor sea) but I do now get a nasty strain of APS or AirPort Sickness which is an ailment caused by non-motion or movement at snail pace. This sickness appears after being trapped in too many long slow lines of passengers each being personally searched, scanned and processed in order to board aircraft. APS is especially damaging if one is impatient, tired, hung-over or running late. It is stress, body clock complications and boredom all accelerated and subsequently causing acute grumpiness, rudeness and occasionally totally berserk behaviour. Symptoms include spraying dozens of brands of duty free perfume samples onto ones exposed skin in order to construct a unique and personal aromatic cloud surrounding the body and staring Zen-like at inanimate objects for far too long. I found myself in a semi-hypnotic state intensely watching a plastic pot plant while sitting in the lounge of terminal 2, gate 41 at San Paulo (GRU) airport. This nylon decoration was a fluorescent green shrub the size and shape of an elephant turd but pretending to be a small bamboo grove I think. It was truly mesmerizing due to my intense bout of APS contracted during the trip. Luckily a kind fellow passenger / sufferer clobbered me across the head with a hello kittytravel pillow which knocked me out of my unhealthy trance. Then all of a sudden, I was in Argentina…
Argentina is a place where the term “out of control” seems rather popular. The country often reminds me of an assortment of TV soap operas where over-acting, a lack of logical thought, bad planning and a preoccupation with appearances are the building blocks of each scene. Often on high volume and often high-level emotions perform some sort of excitable dance with corruption, tears and power plays. In comparison, I must act like a pathetic tame robotic butler. So, I return to the fashionable pandemonium of South America or shall I call it – heated passion? It is both of course so I prepare myself by watched the excellent 2014 movie titled - Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) which displays some aspects of Argentinean culture, in fact it broadly displays modern humans doing their best at not being their best. Don’t get me wrong I do find many aspects of Argentina to be grand and impressive and I very much hope that it reinvents itself in some other form as soon as possible.
Now it is summer in the southern bit of the world so bye bye beard.