The work takes place out­doors.
Each par­tic­i­pant remains at a dis­tance of at least 3 feet, and often more.
Par­tic­i­pants are masked.
All par­tic­i­pants will begin with a rit­u­al hand­wash­ing, with wipes and hand san­i­tiz­er, so that every­one in the work will have and demon­strate clean hands.
All the objects will be cleaned and san­i­tized before the work begins.
There is no actu­al phys­i­cal con­tact between par­tic­i­pants, only the pass­ing of objects.

This is how we imag­ined it.
But it was not at all like that. 

We said Remoli­no de Suerte “imag­ines” because we could not know until it hap­pened. We have, all of us, for so long, been liv­ing with our hands out in front of us feel­ing the way. We had been in Brazil — qui­et­ed. By sum­mer of 2021 all of us had learned to tamp down our opti­mism. There is no rea­son at this point to believe any­thing will work out the way we hope it will. I use the present tense because this is still very much the case as I write. Every­thing is sub­ject to change; it always was, but now we live explic­it­ly accord­ing to that con­scious under­stand­ing. I used to make elab­o­rate plans with com­plex itin­er­aries that hinged on pre­cise con­nec­tions in far­away places, far into the future. And when those plans unfold­ed, time after time, just as I had intend­ed, I began to ques­tion the rea­son for their remark­able suc­cess rate. How can it be that these pro­jec­tions mate­ri­al­ize so con­sis­tent­ly? It can­not be just that I am an avid researcher or a metic­u­lous orga­niz­er; nor can it be just that I am a tena­cious dream­er, there has to be more to it. Dili­gence and desire still need for­tune to coop­er­ate, and that appar­ent­ly infal­li­ble com­plic­i­ty became so con­found­ing to me that, in 2020, when all pos­si­bil­i­ty of plan­ning was oblit­er­at­ed in one stroke, it came as a strange relief. Now the wished-for event mate­ri­al­izes sud­den­ly, if at all. We sense its volatile poten­tial hov­er­ing but we know not to attach our­selves to it. When we sketch out a pro­pos­al it is padded with con­tin­gency provisions. 

The work took place on Sat­ur­day Octo­ber 2nd 2021. The day itself was extrav­a­gant­ly aus­pi­cious, one of those exquis­ite autumn days in New York of clear blue skies and gold­en sun­shine, warm on the skin, rich on the side­walks and cob­ble­stones. It was one of those days that is, on its own, a lav­ish feast for all, so gen­er­ous for so late in the sea­son. The block par­ty would unite peo­ple from all over the city. Peo­ple of all sorts, all ages, con­verged on a blind alley in Gowanus to par­take in a day of fes­tiv­i­ties. The event was orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed as a ges­ture of out­reach to the local com­mu­ni­ty on behalf of the Van Alen Insti­tute, new­com­ers to the area, but real­ly it pro­vid­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a demar­cat­ed zone of joy­ful uni­ty, mix­ing com­mu­ni­ties from across the city, with the sin­gu­lar pur­pose of plea­sure in com­mon. As one of the free things to do in the city that day, the most gor­geous of days, fam­i­lies made of it an out­ing, while passers-by were drawn into the rev­el­ry, lured by the abun­dance of food, drink, and music offered to the peo­ple, blessed by the sun. 

This may sound like a sen­ti­men­tal embell­ish­ment of a fair­ly typ­i­cal pub­lic event. Yet any­one who was present that day can attest to the unusu­al­ly acute sense of col­lec­tive eupho­ria. What we had, every one of us, endured in pan­dem­ic iso­la­tion, in depri­va­tion of com­mu­nal life, of crowds, of bod­ies, of con­tact, we had no way of mea­sur­ing until we were sud­den­ly and unex­pect­ed­ly in touch again. We were starv­ing for each oth­er the way, in win­ter, we crave the sun. 

(At the onset of the pan­dem­ic, in the dark­est days of April 2020 — an excep­tion­al­ly cold and grey April — when we were all holed up and locked down, I made a piece called Sun Sun, a domi­no-log­ic card game of eight words (SUN, SHINE, RAY, GOLDEN, LIGHT, BEAM, BRIGHT, WARM). Ide­al­ly four play­ers, but three or two or even one solo play­er, lay down two-word com­bi­na­tions (six­ty-four in total), link­ing matched words (accord­ing to each indi­vid­ual player’s giv­en sup­ply), form­ing a two-head­ed word chain that snakes in both direc­tions across the play­ing sur­face, until it hits a dead-end or exhausts itself per­fect­ly. Adding to the visu­al domi­no is a spo­ken lay­er. After each addi­tion, the play­ers read aloud in uni­son the entire con­struc­tion from left to right, or right to left, depend­ing on which end the new word com­bi­na­tion is placed. As the total word for­ma­tion increas­es, the play­ers recite, again and again, the evolv­ing string of same words, back­wards and for­wards in a reit­er­a­tive chant. Regard­less of the result­ing order (the ran­dom sum of each indi­vid­ual play), the same eight words are rhyth­mi­cal­ly repeat­ed in stac­ca­to cou­plets, only the into­na­tion of the dou­bled words shift­ing with an implied syn­tax. The game was/is an invo­ca­tion of the sun. Unit­ed in a rit­u­al of endurance and faith, the play­ers call for the warm rays of bright gold­en sun­light to beam down and shine upon us as we cross the time of dark­ness. We played it togeth­er in our hide­out and even­tu­al­ly with friends when we ten­ta­tive­ly began to gath­er; and we sent it out across the world to be played by oth­ers, who, no mat­ter where they were, were also in darkness).

Because the pan­dem­ic nev­er end­ed, has momen­tar­i­ly fad­ed only to explode again, and again and again, we count on these pre­cious moments of truce that we have learned to rec­og­nize only as pass­ing inter­vals and there­fore do not squan­der. Every­thing con­spired to make the block par­ty a zenith of jubi­la­tion and sol­i­dar­i­ty. The com­fort­able lull in the pos­i­tiv­i­ty rate com­bined with the Indi­an sum­mer made for an instinc­tive­ly mask-free encounter for all atten­dees. Faces were bare and bod­ies adorned (see gold and sil­ver ban­gles, coral and jade beads, stone bracelets, leather watch bands, stud­ded rings, brass buck­les, pins, pen­dants, tat­toos, embroideries). 

The action, on paper, is a neat pat­tern, sin­u­ous but con­sis­tent. When it is repro­duced in space unre­hearsed (which is the way we work) there is nat­u­ral­ly, and inevitably, some degree of con­fu­sion, espe­cial­ly in the begin­ning, and depend­ing on each indi­vid­ual participant’s abil­i­ty to grasp the pat­tern. As a gen­er­al prin­ci­ple, the dis­or­der or irreg­u­lar­i­ty that occurs in the pat­tern is absorbed into the work. Nei­ther the process nor the out­come is adverse­ly affect­ed by acci­den­tal devi­a­tions; if any­thing, the mis­takes add a lay­er of impro­vi­sa­tion to the under­ly­ing struc­ture and rein­force col­lab­o­ra­tion through mutu­al assis­tance. This sense of alliance in the face of com­pli­ca­tion was par­tic­u­lar­ly appar­ent in the per­for­mances of the Col­lo­quy Series, but Remoli­no was hel­ter-skel­ter beyond cor­rec­tion. It worked, but it was a jum­ble. Objects did not move steadi­ly and rhyth­mi­cal­ly in syn­chro­nous stages from all four direc­tions to meet in sym­met­ri­cal invert­ed cross­ings. Par­tic­i­pants did not instinc­tive­ly piv­ot towards the intend­ed recip­i­ent (in an acute­ly non-lin­ear sequence), but were often drawn to a beck­on­ing near­by oth­er. Objects moved at dif­fer­ent paces, pool­ing in cer­tain hands before dis­pers­ing errat­i­cal­ly. Unin­tend­ed con­nec­tions led to lit­tle jams and sub­se­quent bypass­es. There was plen­ty of milling. Yet every object was han­dled, was held, was touched, was con­sid­ered and con­veyed. The influ­ence of every object was felt and shared among the par­tic­i­pants. At the final object dis­tri­b­u­tion, the invis­i­ble bound­aries of the square dis­solved and a buzzing mar­ket­place was formed, where a chunk of lapis lazuli was weighed against the feath­er of a wood thrush, an Egypt­ian scarab against a sil­ver key. When the swirl final­ly stilled, all one hun­dred objects had set­tled in good hands.