CRISTINA BALMA-TIVOLA

KRI "muovere [k] liberamente [ri]" | STI "stare [s] in moto [ti]" | NA "effetto [ā] del soffio vitale delle acque [n]"

CRISTINA BALMA-TIVOLA

The Conquer of a Space (Flat-hunting, a Room on My Own, and Banksy)

“There’s nothing more permanent then the temporary” (Greek said). But at least this time it was wrong: it took something like 20 days to found a place, but I eventually did. Mankind can be perverse when has to deal with the chance to gain money by any means, as you can desume by Mr Captain of the Rant‘s poem
Trust In Stan – an ode to Estate Agents:
Hi there
I’m Stan from Stan, Stan and Stan Estates

How are you?

Good good, I’m glad

Glorious day, glorious day

Except for the massive storm obviously

Look at my hair!

It’s a kind of gel

It’s all crinkly and messed up

It’s supposed to look casual

But I spend five hours every morning

Making it look just right

Teeth shining like a shark’s

Look at my tie!

Pure penguin skin, I’m assured

Spanking suit and sparkling shoes from Topman

Yes, this is a great area, great area

That wasn’t a gunshot you heard it was a dog bang-barking
Concentrate on my voice
My confident, fast-talking, I-know-my-business voice

I love my job, you’re my new best friend

I am a human being

And I’m certainly not doing this for the money
Anyway, this is the building
Crumbling to death?

No, no no

It’s beautiful and archaic, isn’t it?

Yes, of course it is.

Don’t look at the front garden

Ignore the dead cats and used needles
Concentrate on my face
Look at my face

Look at my face
Let’s go in
This is the hallway

No time to look at it properly

What’s that?

Smells like a three week-old corpse that’s been drowned in its own piss?

Oh, I love your sense of humour

Let’s go upstairs

No wheelchair access

But then again

It’s their fault for pricing themselves out of the market

By getting all crippled up
 
Ignore what I say
Just concentrate on the tone

Look at my face

Look at my face
Right now, this is the flat
It’s very comfortable and compact

This room is a bedroom slash kitchen slash bathroom

That’s not mould, it’s just got a very lived in look

Don’t look at the mould!
Look at my face
Look at my face
There’s no toilet as yet
But there is a very deep sink in the kitchen

And you look like the kind of practical person who will make do

do you like animals?

Great, great

Then you won’t mind the incredibly cute

Special breed of rat-looking mice we installed just for you
Oh look, there’s ones now!
Look at my face
Look at my face
What was that?
Oh it’s only nine hundred pounds a month

Very cheap for this area

And think about it this way:

That’s only a pound for every arrest a week in this borough

And doesn’t it make you feel safe?
Look at my face
Look at my face
So that’s two months rent deposit
And one month rent in advance

And the cough contract handling fee cough

Is a hundred pounds

Those contracts are very heavy

Agreed?

Fantastic.

Sign here.

Brilliant.

Pleasure doing business with you.

Are you getting the bus home?

Well, good luck, I’ll probably pass you in my Merc

Which you’ve helped pay for.
Have a great day.
 
Immigrant among immigrants, as living now in a flat managed by a nice Turkish guy whose manners are much better then any Londoner landlord I met so far. What I hadn’t for all these days made me think a lot about how important is what we usually take for granted: a warm place where to feel safe. And I’m feeling like a bird building her den, now, but by collecting pieces from bump hunting (as long as I don’t figurate myself as a desperate poor immigrant, but look at this research with curiosity and sense of adventure, is fine). I can perfectly understand Virginia Woolf’s A room of One’s Own, and in my imagination – and in concrete facts – I’m playing as a kid having a coloring book.
And then, again those graffiti, again those desperate, witty, sarcastic and high quality stencils. You get them everywhere in London’s markets. But it can’t be an institutional supported art this one – that shows two male policemen passionately kissing, or a member of the royal guards pissing on a wall whilst hoping nobody to see him, can it? I keep on wondering about its possible being an amazing market campaign, or some sort of “underground production”… I buy three posters (1 pound each in a 1-pound-each-product Middle Eastern shop), and once home I do some researches on the net: their author is a guy called Banksy.
Banksy is likely to live in Hackney, this Londoner borough I like so much and where I’m living at the moment. His works are – black&white, pure, essential but sharp – stencils with either the human subject, or monkeys, or rats. The issues he works about concern freedom, surveillance, responsibility, loneliness, death, violence, war, peace and hope in the contemporary society, and show a sharp mind, a quick deep thought and a rare ability in synthesis of words in messages (and messages in words).
Surprisingly, in reading about his work, you get his quotation “Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place”. Well, I’m not pretty sure about the first, but for the latest you are quite wrong, my dear: in fact, as we can inscribe you in this category, with your art you make people think, and this already means promoting the change of the world (although we can never control the direction – or better the end spot – of the changes we promote) and not only his looking better.
So don’t think about skipping your merits nor you faults: in a word, your “responsibilities”. A pic of your graffiti with the guy holding the sign that says “Keep your coins. I WANT CHANGE” is in front of me now. I stare at it, and look for strategies to make this happen, in a big personal blast, with both my usual critical consciousness towards the society, and the lightness of your cute, tender girl making soap bubbles.