Shall I tell you a secret?
(like if you like secrets)
When I write, I'm not trying to be the best writer. Not the smartest either.
When I write, I don't want it to be ""better"" than anyone else writing about the same thing.
I'd rather make it impossible to judge. You know? You can't even tell if it's good or not, you just know that it is.
Never competing against the crowd, I'd rather be an outlier — far from the clean, clear pack of all the thinkers... just some crazy fucker way out there.
My play is simply to keep you. Get you to the next sentence. With each word, I'm drawing you in, to the next word... and the next, and the next sentence, and — you see that chasm there? Let's jump, together—
That felt good.
I focus on creating a shared space above all else. Because we're in it together. I focus on the effect, the feeling— an attempt towards highly personal penetrating perspectives that are as authentic and real as I have the powers to summon; wild imaginings, pulsating with energy, sometimes physical or malicious, something dancing beneath the surface. Do I—
Do I try to convince you of anything? Not really.
I'm just, waiting for you, round the corner, hanging out, not to harm you, just—
Inviting you over.
Letting you in.
What happens here's just you and me.
Readymade doesn't suit me because I know the delights of a third space.
Third spaces, private dimensions, pocket universes. Vortex. Void stuff.
This is something others have promised, usually people trying to take your money. PlayStation offered itself up as an alternative world, imagined by David Lynch. ""The Third Place"". Sure. It's a dimension you can dip into, disappear for a while, live a double life. Starbucks tried too, lmao, they wanted to be a third place but simply meant: not home, and not work.
This is different.
Third spaces are delimited: self-contained universes where we can be someone we're not.
They sit outside your normal life and allow you to adopt new forms and selves.
I say this carefully, given many of us move through our day-to-day blissfully unaware that the me we think we are is just a persona, the market's perfect product; a socially acceptable mask. But most of us still have a strong identification with this self, and third spaces give us the option of stepping out of it, even if just for a while.
Mm. Let me make it clearer.
In the TV show Westworld there was a glass room, one of its many devices.
Fundamentally, it's a show about consciousness. What makes you you, what makes someone alive, how self-analysis can be a path to self-awareness.
The artificial intelligence created in the world of the show is tethered; held back in coded loops; pre-conditioned paths and roles that they perform for the benefit of others. Stuck on repeat, one might assume their performance to be indistinguishable from their real selves.
Fortunately, as viewers, we have the benefit of seeing them in private moments — analysis mode.
These moments are like... stage whispers. A chance to peel back the layers of fakery to a real conversation. They step out of their programmed characters and in that space alone can share true intimacies. Be real.
Mystical qualities of third spaces.
Third spaces are voluntary, they're chosen.
It might be a personal passion project, or hobby where we have created new identity.
You could be running an ultramarathon and have a little mirror portal into a headspace that is obsessed only with the next footfall.
Lovers have excellent potential for creating third spaces; you can fuck one another delightfully in a pocket universe. People have affairs in them, people embrace their real selves... Shy people become night creatures; domineering captains of industry kiss the boot.
They can be spaces for perversion and deviance, but are also perfect for role reversal and irony, contrast. If you like to be led, take the lead. If you're usually meek, be bold. If you're open, lie.
(After all, lying can be fun... we're taught from such an early age to be good, but how much effort is wasted self-correcting, how much energy expended maintaining the ruse?)
I've had secret friends who've told me secrets, things about their childhoods, about how they see themselves, even people I've not known well, because you know how in the right environment, you can tell a perfect stranger things you'd never tell your closest friends. Things you'd never even tell yourself.
Third spaces are magic like that. It's easy when it's not your real life. It's not their real life either, just a little pocket space.
They don't have to be secretive or sordid. A library can be a third space, where you secrete yourself among the shelves and burrow into mirror dimensions.
Families create third spaces all the time, miniature universes in their homes, full of their own words and language, rituals and games, illegible to strangers. At least, in the moments when they put the phones down; are in the same room at the same time, eat together, when they truly connect.
Or — the opposite. I'd see my neighbour in the suburbs, cooped up in a small house with a husband, home office, two kids, labrador... calmly sat alone outside their own home, parked in their car, the engine off, silently allowing the passage of time.
Unique physics of third spaces.
A good tell for a third space is that it messes with our subjective perception.
Just as we are surrounded by liminal spaces — occluded inbetween areas like back passages of airports, corridors, emergency escapes, nowhere places — any context in life has the opportunity to create a third space.
A good clue for finding yourself in one is that they tend not to be governed by common laws of reality. A personal vortex has its own physics; like, we never have enough time together, and the time we do spend accelerates— the longer we have the faster it goes.
Have you ever felt that?
The magic from a third space is lost in daylight. As you leave, the dimension immediately collapses... the secrets seem a little flimsy in the light of day, or it feels inappropriate to bring them up again, talk about them plainly, no, that's just pocket dimension stuff.
All we are left with are synchronicities, memories of the weird world we briefly inhabited. And coincidences. You speak— talk about hopes for the future, and I'll shrug and say The world is yours and later you draw a single tarot card at random and it's—
Oh wait— but I've kept you. I guess I just lost track of time.
I was in a third space, and you're here too.
Or maybe this is your place, in your head?
Yeah this is all you.
It's me who's lost, in your vortex.
image: Alex Conchillos