The sun, an acephalous web of flickering rays, warms, burns, and enters the pores of my skin. As I look up, the sun peeks through tiny perforations of the balcony awning- layering beams of light and shadow on the concrete. I see only brilliant blades of sunlight, tiny shards which sting, scathe, brown and yet somehow soothe my knees. I absorb these brilliant beams with half-closed eyes as they pierce the burnished, rugged protective textile. On my side of this semi-permeable barrier is the intimacy of private space, breakfast balcony, secluded and safe, on the other: a collided manifold of sunlight, faded fabric, roof, and public peeping eyes. I soak in every sun particle as there are only a few more summer days, and my now brown skin will soon pale as the impending winter fog blankets the sky in viscous suspended gray droplets making it impossible to see color- yellow sun or the blue sky. The magnified warm intensity will be a mere corporal memory, yet I will have my faded orange sunshade to remember the invisible sun which continues to shine above: almighty, unparalleled, inexhaustible, bountiful. A quasi-object.
"The real, ultimate capital is the sun. Subcapitals are time functions, but our time is that of the sun. All kinds of materialism, and especially those that seek to account for real movement and its excess, join together with various energetics and perhaps idealisms here– they are, when all is said and done, all subcults of thesun.” (Serres 1980).
When I imagine this quasi object, this unparalleled, everlasting sun, I see visions and myths of the Sun King, Helios, Apollo, Ra, Surya... and understand why we have embarked upon thousands of years of sun worshiping. The sun, as the ultimate capital, puts all other time-functions into the position of its own sub-capitals. Only the sun creates. Not as energy source, but as time-function, Serres reminds us of this. Yet our imagination also creates- the mere thought of the sun makes my pupils dilate or contract- and also turn the sun into light and the shade into dark. It is mental, physical, cellular, and inherent that our bodies follow the regular course of the sun, as we are of the sun- inherent space time matterings of light source. It speaks through us, yet one cannot have an encounter entirely unguarded.
We must live like lizards, finding safe harbor under bays of shade to avoid death, internal cooking, and scorched shoulders. A sunshade, sunscreen, suncream acts as a desert stone or sage shrub- affording us life, comfort, a refuge of laminated fabric and small intimate moments of relation. The screen is performative, not only allowing for exposure to that which might otherwise harm, but also providing protection through the very act of exposure.
w/Lisa Lee Benjamin