The Weekend

By Jaakko Pallasvuo

The day begins where the night ends. I move towards the exit to watch him walk away. The sun is beaming. I feel like a leper. I don’t know how to explain it any better.

There’s this ominous mixture of opulence and decadence. There’s this shared prospect of unavoidable radical change.

I leave the club and take a train. I fall asleep. I wake up far in the west. I wait for another train to take me back. I sit next to some commuters and don’t think about their lives at all.

At the apartment I sleep more. Until it’s time to leave again.

I saw Gilbert & George yesterday, I tell her. They were sitting there like two sphinxes. I should have knelt before them and asked them how to live, what to change about myself. The work sucked though.

I talk about falling asleep on the train. It’s already an anecdote.

My mood is low so I’m wearing my black coat. She runs her fingers over the label and tells me that I look like a garbage bag. I feel expensive, I say. Only I know of the details: the blue mesh lining, the strings attached, the price tag.

I’d never pay for something that made me look rich or handsome. I wouldn’t want to be a target.

I keep running into people obsessed with the surface of things. Parties are held for the purpose of photos and status updates. Coke is enjoyed for self-confidence: to make a struck pose feel more like an actual gesture.

In addition to the right socioeconomic background, and a certain amount of cultural capital, you need to be of a suitable (firm) body type. A youthful I’ll-try-anything-once attitude helps. Being nice to people isn't a requirement.

I object only because I’m inferior, they’d say. I don't have what it takes to be fabulous. I miss certain friends, the ones that keep disappearing. The ones that would keep me grounded with a hearty LOL.

I’m from the provinces so I’m still allowed to ask: When did the art world adopt yuppie aesthetics and ideals?

The walls of the gallery are painted with a shade of grey that claims to be neutral and alters everything. There’s a picture of a white cat on the wall, washed out of any detail.

On the opposing wall is another photograph. A young man, shirtless, leaning on what looks like a handrail. The rail is also in the gallery. Its imperfections reveal it to be a sculpture merely posing as a functional object. The young man in the picture is smiling and tilting his head slightly.

The works are reserved, retreating to the walls. When I lose my focus they disappear. I see the people around a pile of free beer. I see the exit.

Outside is a construction site. There’s a wheelbarrow on fire. People are standing around it. There’s music. A girl is standing with her back to the fire. She’s too close. The wind changes and she’s almost engulfed by the flames. She doesn’t notice.

What I long for is anger in the form of a youth movement. The wheelbarrow could be pushed through the gallery. Everyone would take out their wallets, drop them into the flames. They’d smile. No one would stop to take pictures, no one would blog about it the next day. iPhones would burn too. We would celebrate the end of fear-induced realities.

The Weekend

Jaakko Pallasvuo