temple dancer as networked urban flâneur

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First reading to Mako Sakamoto’s Hong Kong Hustle Hong Kong Hustle
@ Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Decemberfest
Commissioned piece for GSD Urban Planning Networked Urbanism course

I am making a video art piece to go with this – Will be released shortly
Note: still super raw. I have ideas on media justice that I will incorporate into this poem, as well as more temple body as architecture aesthetics

Video recording by Umang Kumar. Press “CC” for captions on video below ::

in this world
there seems to be no need for places of worship anymore
where do we go to pray?

as a temple dancer, i see a need
i build this temple right here
around me

with folded palms
what do i pray for?
only this
that we make a moment each day
to acknowledge our own person
and hug wink touch and laugh
a loved one

why do i pray?
these days neither you nor I
look at each other anymore

we communicate digitally
plugged into the architecture
embedded here there everywhere

they sell a promise of quality communication
even buildings are addressable, query-able, scriptable

they sell a seduction
so sleek in my palm

i hold an impossible future
uncharted but the anxiety isn’t

i cannot help myself
cannot help
touching sliding gliding swiping
away to destinations that
remain as appointments

packing it all in
all of time compressed

even more
with real-time traffic data re-routing my gps to the now-same backup
borrowed card bikes and buses that i believe arrive on my schedule
mannequins profiling both my buying habits and my body
negotiating personal identification cards and my citizenship
all the while paying taxes to be under police surveillance fobbed off as big brother
worrying about my security and the privitization of my privacy
kind of
when i don’t get it, there’s always netiquette
push notifications into information overload
where the heck else can i store my fragmented digital self
in clouds?

Yet, after all this, we still have the same age-old question:
Will you be my love?
I add:
You are not disposable.

I will bend time for you
Even as I move through this networked matrix, I will always wait for you
I will glitch up this whole damn system for you

with folded palms
what do i pray for?
only this
that we make a moment each day
to acknowledge our own person
and hug wink touch and laugh
a loved one

we are all loved ones

Will you be my love?

I will bend time for you
Even as I move through this networked matrix, I will always wait for you
I will glitch up this whole damn system for you

Come, we are always living in a brave new world
Come, walk with me

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