Luz wants to be in another dream
Same island in another time
War over, never begun
Now a domain of kisses only
Encircled by sea
The sky heavy
Only women with short names appearing before her
Mirrors of desire
They’re singing
Luz, Luz
Smiling the uncanny smiles of dream-people
In bathrobes
Lichen and barnacles
Just the light falling down over skin ...
1991, Dream as Luz María Umpierre


The artist is covered in a layer of dust. Pale. The colour of the cliffs at Dover. She stands in a doorway at the end of the hall, holding a video camera up to her eye. She turns and the camera shifts, capturing the movements of the workmen through the doorway in front of her. There’s dust everywhere. The particles push, ever outwards, until the air within the building is uniformly filled. It circles the lens and the red flashing light. The windows are boarded up. It reminds her of the coffins she used to nail shut in Highgate. The front door is open behind her. A sharp shape of daylight is made visible, like a slice of glass. You could imagine it set on a plinth in a museum. A moment in which the figure of the artist is frozen, her left arm cut off where it extends into the shadows.


There’s always a way to slip past.
The people doing this are just people given lists by other people.
They don’t make the lists
and they don’t know what they’re looking for. 
They didn’t bother to check pockets or pat us down.
When they had a full list they left.
We had to sign
to the best of our knowledge
this was everything, itemised
and it had all been taken.

Chapter Two


It is an honest thing, that you can rotate to inspect, feeling the smoothness of a plane, and then the bite of the underside, the crest as two surfaces meet like a small blade under your thumb and forefinger. Sometimes to say true things is hard work, like preparing food in front of the hot stove, or chopping wood, or carrying coal for the fire. To make a small, hard text, in the form of a very dense, dark crystal, that can be useful to you, that is a tool.
To Say Difficult Things


In the darkness
I tie my boots up
And walk the perimeter of the ancient city
Fingertips grazing damp cold stone
I can’t see the place you told me about
There’s just a sports hall with its doors open late
Light and the smack of rubber on polished floors
Falling out onto the slick cobbles
I watch for a while
Everyone in vests and shorts
Running in complicated patterns
Coming together in a huddle
Arms on arms ...
3. Organic Music Society


We are nearing the end.
Descending the escalators at the central station.
At the airport, documents in our sweaty hands.
The bus pulls out.
The truck's wheels start to turn, heaving it on to the ferry.
The underground train, bright yellow, swings on the track.
We are on our way.
We are suspended in the air.
We are moving through the achingly cold waters ...
Speech for the End of the Show


The water is cut off. Pipes stop, interrupted, a small tap extends at thigh-height out over the floor. There is no fluorescent lighting in the space, instead a single dim 60w lightbulb, casting gloomy shadows. The surface of the ceiling is uneven, bisected North to South by pencil-wide panel lines, and East to West by a rough, thicker band, as though the cement has been patched at this point, or has seeped through during construction and solidified. There are multiple, circular penetrations into the ceiling, of varying sizes. Twelve. Beneath the concrete ceiling layer is a less planned and solidly manifest surface: an extensive network of spider-webs. From just under ceiling height to a foot below, they suspend across the majority of the West-facing wall, and to a lesser extent the SE corner, creating an almost-invisible height restriction; an organic partition installed by the most regular inhabitants ...


We will sleep under the sky from now on —
the grass beneath us is cold
and a sycamore towers overhead in the dimming light
transforming inch by inch
into the blackest void of night
darker than the surrounding heavens
that grey and dim
but won’t ever catch the tree.
It is a dense black I could step into
a doorway into the night.
We’re low people now.
Bodies closer to the earth than they have ever been ...

Columbia 1


Play it again, you say. 
I swipe back
Paper-cut bodies appear, repeated 
Men’s bodies glistening with sweat
Heads replaced with animals
It snows
Their bodies submerged under blobs of white, swamping the screen
It’s good, you say 
Make some cuts
What you did the other day
With the blank squares over the eyes, and the rectangular mouths.
I loved that. Don’t lose it ...

Expensive Shit

Chris Gylee (1983, Stockport UK) read Drama & Theatre at Royal Holloway University and completed his post-graduate training in Theatre Design at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2006. He has been based in Berlin since 2014. Alongside his solo practice Chris also regularly makes performance, installation, film and publications together with R. Aslan and collaborators as ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS. Full biography and credits available here.