Noon — A biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture
Noon is a biannual magazine which explores art and commerce in contemporary culture
Jeremy Atherton Lin
DEATH IN THE AGE OF INSTAGRAM
It was New York press, mostly, that covered Ben’s death in June, 2017: New York Times, The New Yorker, American Vogue. T. had informed me by private message on Instagram. She had something to tell me. A heartbreak emoticon. I grimaced during the:
Bad news is usually not what I was expecting. For a moment T. and I were isolated from the world, but that sensation was quickly lost to an eddy. There was an outpouring on Instagram, a strange place to situate grief. My chats with T. proliferated, grew frantic, began to feel like a huddle backstage. Private notes from others arrived:
i’m pretty torn up about this. can’t imagine how you’re feeling.
…knowing him made life better…and of course, I thought of you.
I’ve been taking this news hard. How are you?
YOU knew him best.
IKIGAI (FOR UNCLES)
When I asked if she has an idea yet of what she wants to be when she grows up, it was an enquiry couched in qualifiers. She, although four, takes nothing for granted. I want to dig up old bones, she said plainly. Archaeologist, I ascertained. Yeah, she said. Arch-a-lol-uh-giss. It seemed one of those times when the sky and her eyes were the same thing, everything connected, the centre of the world being this street, afternoons meant for children to arrive safely, if curiously, home from school. There was the kind of pause that seems like memory. Then: Did you always know that you wanted to be an uncle?, she retorted.
I’m not her uncle genetically but she won’t stand for ‘nanny’. Once I heard her say ‘childminder’ to tousle-haired brothers but it’s uncle that sticks. In Chinese society, uncle (jiùjiu in Mandarin) and aunt are expansive, inclusive terms. There’s something kind of queer about that broadening of family. In Japan, the word for uncle, oji, is pronounced the same as the word meaning random middle-aged guy, though they are distinguished in writing. I’m a flick away from whatever.
A man walked past my flat today. I heard him first; he was shouting. There was no response to his stentorian tones. I’ve been researching the phone voice and was intrigued as to whether that’s what I was hearing. I raced to another window. Through ample spring leaves I discerned that indeed he was yelling into a device. I tried to imagine his voice existing elsewhere simultaneously – his anger reproduced belowsome other tree. I wondered if the person on the other end was shouting back, their voices not just here and there, but alongside each other and in between. How do I picture the cellular voice: as pixelation, vibratile; as a cloud of bats at dusk – diffuse and converged, flickering.
I wish I was the type to do up my top button. This better me is as stealthy as a ninja or at least a hybrid sedan. He wears an inscrutable expression, his countenance distant and burnished, giving the impression of existing as his own portrait in Kodachrome. He looks held together rather than squeezed. In reality, when I fasten my top button I just look uneasy. There isn’t enough in-between. I’m a joke delivered without the pause before punchline. I am knotted. I’m an engorged glans, desperate and purple, when I’d prefer to appear as a taciturn loner, assassin or scion, reading Clarice Lispector over a plate of raw blowfish. But that’s just not me.