Fabian Reiner

Giovanni's Room - David

David, Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin


Everything started when my mother died. I was five and the only person left was my dad. He cared enough to invest in me, but was reckless enough to spend nights out. His drinking habits and sexual dependencies hurt me. His urge to see me as his buddy disgusted me. Often I wish we would have had ‚the merciful distance of father and son, which would have permitted me to love him.’ [15] then as a kid ‚I did not want to know [...] that his flesh was as unregenerate as my own.‘ [15]

Love he only made physical. It is as if he does not want to take responsi- bility; responsibility for his own actions, and life is easy if you do not take it. Around you everyone else suffers and especially the ones loving you the most.

What I am today is what he was back then. Egoistic and demanding, incom- plete, confused and self-deceptive. I despise him as I despise myself.
And I do not do that because I hate him, but because he is unable to live life to the fullest. He is ashamed of what he needs and what he does. He tries to be honest to others, but what is worse, he is not honest to himself. Deeply I feel, besides killing him, self-deception carries him.

Thanks to my aunt Ellen I got an clearer overview what person my dad was. She took care of me after my mother was gone, and therefore I thank her. What she did not intend to do is making me blaming her as well for being what I am today. My father I despise, but her I hate.

All her prophecies about me came true. She said that there would come a time when nothing and nobody would be able to rule me [...] [14] and that point certainly came. I hate her for constantly describing my mother as a remarkable woman. It made me feel uncomfortable and I felt no right to be her kid.

My shame only found more fruits and in my youth even more roots. Joey was one of them. He was my best friends back in Brooklyn, but apparently there was more then just a simple friendship. I did not know that it was there in
the beginning, but at some point the magic struck us. We always have been close, but this one time we got even closer. I regret it and if someone ‚begins to search for the crucial, the definitive moment, the moment which changed all others, one finds that [...] my flight may, indeed, have begun that summer.’ [9]

All these moments I would like to flee from, erase them from my past and get over them. I carried them with me, without finding strength to accept them. My confusion caused a lot of breakups and has misguided me, but I have to be honest: It also protected me. Maybe I have betrayed myself, but only to make life bearable.



It flies, it hits, it shatters. And now - silence. It is red, red all over. He is red, red all over. Covered in blood and seamed by roses. Hit by pieces, pieces of glass. They break the light, reflect the light. The wooden frame smashed, the sun-bleached picture slightly withered. Blood is dripping, the curtain moves, the light shines - through the oculus, directly on him. The carefree days apparently gone.

She witnesses, and is frightened. She stumbles, is turning around, looking around - breathing hectic, moving frantic. She heads for the niche, trips over wood, crushes the charcoal, rubs it in the joints. The niche is dark, but reveals itself smooth. The view is readjusted - a small balcony seen. Heart beating - she moves again, towards the opening, she ascends fast. The clear form has soft surfaces. Led by the brass she feels graceful. The double curve disorientates. She feels connected - but only downwards. In her front another set of steps. To the high left a clerestory window. Illuminating the ceiling - light enters sparsely. To the right a white rectangle. By each step it clarifies - not as painting but as aperture. Down again - connecting to the hall - connecting to the entrance - from one space to the other. Turning back again. The steps in front - this time stretched - one after the other are adequately preparing. Preparing the next impression. Marking the next change.

Another space - slightly higher. Scattered light illuminates the wall. Gradually darker - the space takes another direction. Opening up - the view turns outwards. Window frames dissolve - the eye corrects their fragility. Orientating inwards - the space calms one. The gently articulated, shyly reflective, slightly nuanced floor sets a direction. The gaze points towards the volumetric wall. It steadily defines the spatial boundaries. A chimney is formulated - draws attention. The plastic mass sets the center of gravity. It points downwards to the sooty wall. Included - an awkwardly placed opening. Revealing the walls thickness - establishing spatial connection. The hall is assumable - but protection dominates. She sits down - looking sharply. It opens up - revealing full potential. The entrance is visible. The gaze travels - from end to entrance.