Michael (ongoing)

He takes me out and brings me into the twilight zone, where he dances on the asphalt in his pink panties and shakes off all the monsters that are inside of us. We drink cheap wine; I am freezing. A near-vertical wind turns the world around. The toes of a male dancer point towards heaven and his toenails touch Mars and Venus and we continue together to the cosmos of Freedom and Eminence. 


His cave is full of stuff. An all-inclusive life: a home, a storage unit, a clinic, a studio, a lab. Free play. One step into him and I come nearer myself. He shows me all the stuff. It’s a turbulence of bad-taste fashion. I like it here, out of reach, swaddled in colours. Barbie and Action Man would enjoy dressing up in Michael’s clothes while listening to the Pocahontas song ‘Colours Of The Wind’. 


Iridescence, he says. I had never heard the word before. It means:


 ...showing luminous colours that seem to change when seen from different angles.


I think: The Intoxicated Colour. An explanation of humankind.  Fantastic. Fantasy. Capricious.


Now, on another planet I am lying in a hospital bed recovering from cancer. Michael is restless by my side, and I have given him my camera. I am the target of an illness and of a photographic series at the same time. The nurse has told us not to speak: I must be completely still while drinking the contrast dyes before my PET scan. Behind my sealed mouth I hold back a fit of laughter. This hour became an hour of fun. On the opposite side of fun is sadness.


Today, Michael has gained 20 kilos, disrupting his self-image, but he still embodies that physicality that lifts me up like a fountain. Side by side we sit inside of a blue bubblegum world and he explains his relation to crystals, glitter and nature. Family bonds break down, whereupon they rise again. Our physical bodies break down, whereupon they rise again. Again. Survivors. We agree that both of us are empathetic animals who create ourselves simply by doing, being, and connecting to all the cells around us. We are vigorous and realistic and might appear too harsh for our loved ones, but we can’t help it. 


A persistent intimacy exists between us. I can’t explain it, I can only show it. So I continue chasing him with my camera while he tirelessly haunts me with his wild realities. 


It was 10 years ago that I first met Michael. I have started wishing for a world in which all grey colours are transmitted into iridescence. Then we all might understand Michael better. For now, let it be and let him shine like a star in the land of dualism: man/woman, black/white, transparency/colours, absence/presence, plastic/nature. 


This is a story of Michael. Or is it the story of Us? Human beings. Human life. Told by me. Told by me and him. Together. Our shared realities. Laughing. Living. Performing. Playing. Talking. Hugging. Whirling. Dreaming. Dressing up. Stripping ourselves naked. Only disrupted by my little handheld camera.


May I introduce to you Version #1, 

My dear friend, Michael

Text Emilie Dalum

Prototype of the book Michael
Photographs by Emilie Dalum 

Design and edit Editions Sable Noir