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Textos & others

Madrid. Wednesday, 23rd November 2005
Text published in the magazine “Intrusos, artistas que escriben”, EÑE, magazine to read. nº4, Winter 2005. ed.
My name is Ernst Loos, and I am here to present a small selection of testimonies belonging to a project that I have been developing for nearly forty years, entitled “Links of an infinite chain of light”.
I started this work when I had been a war correspondent for about five years in one of the most prestigious newspapers in Austria. The extreme sensitivity that this occupation aroused in me to the problems of humanity made me look for a necessary balance on the other hand. So I decided to undertake a parallel work of collecting testimonies and experiences that would serve as a counterpoint to all the darkness I had been experiencing as a correspondent. People from all over the world narrated their best experiences full of hope and wisdom, illuminating, nourishing and shaping what is still today a work in continuous growth and expansion.

These statements, which I am introducing below, make up one thousandth of what has been collected so far. When I began to believe the opposite, I rediscovered that the world is full of lights that prevent total darkness, that in all situations, even the most dramatic, the miracle happens. I hope you enjoy it.

I was heading to the U.S. to cover the latest news on the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, but first something moved me to visit Kolderup. Alaska is a country that I always imagined to be full of oxygen and serene people. As soon as I arrived, my body began to feel the cold from the tips of my toes to the hairs on my head. The first thing I looked for was somewhere to drink a hot coffee. I entered a tavern called “El Alce”. As I approached the bar I came across a stuffed moose head that served as a coat rack. It was a cozy place. The waiter barely noticed me, for he and three other men were attentive to the story of a lively freckled boy. Luckily, there was no music in the place and all that could be heard was the boy’s enthusiastic voice. I quietly searched for my tape recorder, pressed “rec” and whispered date, time and place, “pause”. The waiter took advantage of the end of the adventure to serve me the long-awaited coffee. He came right back with the rest and I knew that a new story would begin. Again “pause”. I settled down in that oak chair and closed my eyes to sharpen my ears. Roy started to come to my mind.

Well, yeah, my Uncle Roy was a pretty weird guy.

What am I going to tell you; the guy had so much energy that sometimes he turned on light bulbs with his hands, without wires and without plugs! Yes, yes, let’s see… He was a typical guay who was crashing and sparking left and right. What if with the doors, the cars, the keys… With the electrical appliances it was the laughter, and with the people I don’t tell you… in the elevators there was an end of party dance; he had to stop going up in them, because that was a joke! There were sparks in the air, and everyone was going “ouch” and “phew”, and most of them were going out with a shock in their bodies, because it wasn’t just the whiplash, but there were sparks and lightning and everything… It was amazing!

I was there on three or four of these occasions and it was the laughter; I, as I was used to the sparks, as they even gave me a taste and everything… But there were all sorts of sensations and reactions in the staff: laughter, frights, anger, spasms, uncomfortable silences, grunts, even orgasms!

My Uncle Roy was a big guy; not only because of what he did, but because he was six feet tall and weighed a hundred and something pounds. Come on, a closet. But he wasn’t scary, he had a nice face that moved the baddest guy in the movie. And he was, he was a good man, a good man, incapable of swatting a fly. Yes, yes, very gentle and patient. How good he was!

He lived alone in his cabin in the woods, near the lake, fifteen minutes from the village by car. He had a station wagon, and he could start it up without keys, believe me, but why would he say that and not to attract too much attention, because he preferred to pull the keys… You see! Maybe he didn’t attract attention at all, with all the size he was and the sparks he put in!

But the best thing about my Uncle Roy I haven’t told you yet…

The thing is that I had the strange habit of collecting all kinds of light bulbs and luminous devices… of all colors and sizes. And to get all the bulbs he was interested in, he had developed the incredible ability to climb all kinds of walls and light posts. If you had seen his belly, you wouldn’t have believed it! I think his secret was that he never stopped to think that this could be an impediment to getting the light that was missing from his collection.

That’s why, in some circles, he was known as “The Light Hunter”.

Quite a guy, my Uncle Roy.

I’d be in Vietnam soon. My plane was leaving in a couple of hours. I was at Bombay airport, where the flight was making a stopover. I sat down to read the newspaper in front of the huge windows through which the planes could be seen taking off. I couldn’t really enjoy the view when I stopped reading, because a little man with red hair and a big head stood in front of me. He was barefoot. He was wearing a blue-striped shirt, black suspenders, and burgundy corduroy pants. His gaze gave away a deep imaginary flight. I was sure that this individual had a good story to tell me.

He noticed that I watched him discreetly, and he smiled pleasantly before giving me his clean look. I turned on the tape recorder in my pocket without him noticing, and he said, “What heavy, noisy, bad-looking flying machines, don’t you think? You have to go up to the sky in a quieter and more elegant way, with dignity and respect; with purity. But let me introduce myself, my name is Blinky Rotred, and yours?

-Ernst Loos, nice to meet you. And yes, I agree with you, the noise of these planes is too unnatural,” I replied with empathy.

-You said it yourself, does a bird make that much noise to fly? We still have a lot to learn and unlearn. Lifting involves getting rid of everything unnecessary, not the other way around. But man prefers to go against nature and force it to control him, rather than flow with it. All this is much simpler, man! But of course, our little talking nut, always refuses to believe it. What a way to complicate our whole life! Flight is an elevation in every sense, and when man becomes aware of this, he will stop building all these crude devices. I would like to tell you something that might somehow illustrate what I mean, but I don’t want to keep you…

-Please don’t worry, my flight doesn’t leave for another hour and a half, and I’m delighted with you. I beg you to continue…

-Okay. I will tell you that what drove me to develop my dream, besides some chapters narrated by my admired Marco Polo, in his Book of Wonders of the World: it was the meeting with I Ming, the little yellow one. A very special child who somehow changed my life.

I used to walk along a coast in the almost always angry Red Sea, to reflect on my kite flying projects.

I always let the energetic wind play with my ideas, for it, apart from massaging my body and disheveling my hair, also shook my thoughts strongly by carrying them and bringing them at will.

That afternoon two clouds could be seen discharging their energy in the form of a storm.

The low light of the sunset bathed some of its voluptuous forms, generating chiaroscuro filtered by vibrant colors. Some rays crossed the cotton of the gloom and fell on the horizon forming a sublime scene.

He appeared marking his tiny silhouette on the eastern dune.

He wore beautiful, colorful Oriental clothing that served as a counterpoint to the cold scene behind him.

He came laughing, and you could barely make out his slanted eyes on his little round yellow face. He looked like a little Buddha.

The wind blew up a spectacular kite that I discovered was his.

It was the most beautiful flying device I had ever seen; for its structural simplicity and for its complex and subtle ornamentation.

It had a rectangular shape, and two simple rods on the upper and lower sides served as support. It was made of bright fabrics and embroidery, which designed a symmetrical composition with what looked like fragments of a dragon. From the upper sides came free fabrics in the form of wings, and from the bottom hung long ribbons of various colors simulating a tail that balanced its flight.

Only a master craftsman from another time could have done such a thing.

Later, he told me that his bicentennial grandfather Lu I Ming was the author of such an extraordinary work, and that at the age of two he taught him to fly it.

The wonderful thing was happening between the boy and that amazing object.

The kite’s string was nothing more than the continuation of the golden thread of the embroidery on his oriental jacket. It was so easy to fly that I had to ask him what his secret was.

The little yellow boy explained to me that his grandfather taught him the art so that the kite would end up being an extension of him, but it was his spirit-guided thinking that controlled it. I have heard that on more than one occasion, he has been seen flying his kite with no wind.

In Vietnam, I met a young woman they called “Elephant’s Baby”. In the village where I spent most of my time with my team, she was considered a hero. She freed several families from the hardships caused by the American army, with only the help of her elephant.

Yim Sue, that was her name, was already a woman; she could read and spoke perfect English. We had all kinds of conversations, except for the war. I tried to maintain a constant illusion in her contagious laughter, and we did. But she told me a particular story that I couldn’t help but collect: Every summer night, my elephant Big and I would lie down on the land of that vast plain. It took us about an hour to cross the mountains to reach it, and about ten minutes more to get to what we calculated was its center, our favorite spot. We had it marked with a large cross or “X”, made of stones on the ground. And given its “enormous dimensions” (or so it seemed to us, since we were squirrels), we believed that only from the sky could it be properly appreciated.

That place was our observatory.

Our meeting place with the eternal and the great.

We would lie awake for hours, perhaps hypnotized, watching the stars.

We silently sensed his incredible power and influence.

I think what we were doing was a form of meditation.

Well, the thing is that something had us very surprised that night. It was the first time the sky didn’t show any of its stars. Nor did we see any clouds or anything that could hide them.

It was a very dark night, but even so, we continued to lie there, enjoying nothing.

Big went to sleep.

Meanwhile, I kept wondering what was going on up there so that none of its stars would give their light.

After a while, with Big’s first snore, a cold breeze rose, and with it, the distant sound of a strange engine, which little by little was approaching…

The noise woke up Big, who was asking me with his eyes.

We didn’t know where it came from or where it was coming from. But the fact is that we were getting closer and closer to it.

The breeze turned into wind.

My hat was blown off, absorbed by the blackness.

You may not believe it, but with the wind, a yellow plane appeared above us; it crossed the darkness and left behind all the stars that were missing that night.

That day, Vienna woke up with a big gray cloud on its roof. I bought the newspaper to check my article and read one of my colleagues’. When I set out across the street to go to the cafeteria for breakfast, a man caught my attention powerfully. He was leaning on a corner, recognizing his surroundings, with an expression of complete comfort. He was dressed in elegant but informal clothes, and the fact is that I knew this man, but I couldn’t place him. Until I realised, I couldn’t believe it, it was Herman, the beggar who had been in that very corner for years, and of whom nothing had been known for a year! I was stunned for a few seconds… I was so changed! It was hard for me to believe until I decided to go over there and check it out. When he looked at me I resolved my doubts. Without words, we were paralyzed by an emotion as we smiled at each other. The story he told changed my mind. It was nearly fifteen years ago, and I am still learning from it today: He was carrying a white mountain on five wheels. Snow, very high. With clouds and birds of three or four species.

With a golden cord, he moved it easily.

He was a big, strong man with a mountainous beard. His skin was tanned by the sun and his green eyes were somewhat small, but very bright.

He wore a long velvety coat, printed with vegetable ornaments in different shades of white, finished off with colored details.

With a glance he invited me to climb, and with a smile he boosted my eagerness to start his climb. He handed me his scarf and I set off.

In the first stretch I decided to follow a stream that embraced hard silvery rocks and reddish reflections. Sometimes I closed my eyes and let myself be guided by its sound. At other times, I chose to take off my shoes and go up with my feet under the water.

I was in no hurry, no reason to worry. I immersed myself in an emotion where there was no time, or maybe I stopped caring.

He enjoyed every hardship. The hard, cold rocks were challenges that, when overcome, enlarged my breath.

My job was to go up, to keep going up, no matter what.

In a small valley I sunbathed, surrounded by unlikely flowers that gave off a sweet fragrance difficult to describe.

Under the shade of a century-old tree I rested, and enjoyed the view of the height I was at.

Then I continued to climb colder and colder rocks. Some already snowed.

It went up and up. It grew. I didn’t think. I just felt, and it kept going up.

My hands were hurting, while they were getting stronger. My body adapted to the climate, a somewhat uncontrolled metamorphosis took place in me as I exceeded the levels.

My hands, my arms and legs; my lungs. Everything changed subtly and powerfully.

The cold biting wind sculpted a deep smile on my face.

And my heart was burning by the rocks of ice.

I realized that my claim to the top no longer existed. And that’s probably what got me there.

I felt that by my actions, I had simply made visible a great drawing that was previously finished.
José Luis Serzo