The Unstitute. A relationship: the start of. 2013
Received through the post: a large brown envelope with 2 folded up pieces of paper- one containing the date: ‘12th October, 9am’ written in blue biro repeatedly over the page, the other, slightly crumpled, contains nothing. There's no return address anywhere. Put the letter in the bin.
9 AM. I am woken up by a very loud sound- a shot, a busted exhaust pipe perhaps, followed by mechanical grating and screeching. I go to look out of the window- a rusty white van pulls up outside the house. Two men in red overalls jump out and from the back of the van and start unloading boxes, depositing them outside my front door, on the pavement. I watch them through the window, they rush, almost run back to the van, piling more and more boxes up on the top of each other. They look like they don’t want to be seen. The delivery can't be for me, it's certainly a mistake. I don't expect a delivery. They should soon realise their mistake, a confusion -soon. I don't bother to get out to query them. I watch...
More and more boxes, all marked with a fat 'X' formed out of multiple layers of duct tape. The shorter man has now climbed on the top of all the boxes and the other one passes more boxes to be placed on top- at this rate they should soon reach my window and the short man will be face to face with me. But no- they stop, no more boxes are carried out of the van. The men now stand shoulder to shoulder, looking up at my window. I wave, signalling my protest and pointing at the boxes, I decide to come downstairs.
My presence is unacknowledged, I get no answers to my questions- the men stand in silence. When my voice escalates to shouting, the short man turns on his heels and goes back to the van, he comes back with a rolled up piece of paper. He unravels it, fixing it down on the pavement with a couple of stones. It looks like some sort of a crudely drawn plan or a diagram with many arrows pointing in different directions and coloured rectangles drawn on the top of each other in craggy lines. They resume their work again, readjusting the boxes as in the drawing. The boxes are now completely blocking the pavement and my door. I attempt to appeal to the men again : one of them goes back to the van and brings out a delivery note, with my name on it and numbered items - 21 - each marked with a cross in a corresponding box; the name of the sender is blanked out in thick black oil, which smudges off on my hand. I feel I have just been marked in some way or become an accessory; evidence is on my hands. The men quickly get in the van and speed off.
The boxes are empty.
I receive another brown envelope. It is not sealed. Out of it fall surveillance-type photos, printed on thin paper. The images are pixelated, but I can just make out a close-up of the X-marked boxes. Then I recognize my door.
At the edges of the picture there are two figures - the delivery men - and I can see the faded red of their overalls faintly coming through the murky ink. The faces of the delivery men are cut out. On top are the names of London boroughs: Southwark, Westminster, Hounslow, etc., in black felt pen.
The envelope also contains a close up of me by the window pointing down and an arrow pointing up. There's a scrap of paper with a crude diagram: two crossed lines inscribed; ''Borough High Street', 'Southwark Bridge Road' and 'Entrance' crossed out. To it is stuck a cut-out hand pointing at a darkened area of the page. It makes no sense to me.
I am anxious about the contents of any future correspondence. Unable to sleep.
A parcel containing a compact disc is sitting on my doorstep, soaked with rain from the night before. At least I hope it's rain. I can't describe what it contains, so you ought to listen to it yourself:
Arrival of another envelope. I take it inside and place it on top of the coffee table. Inside the envelope there is a pile of newspapers with lines across blacking-out the text. Some small pieces of paper fall out containing words: 'ignore', 'crisis', 'criminal activity', 'nothing', 'w*r', 'terror', 'fear', 'animal torture', 'evidence', another 'nothing', and 'polis'.
Same brown envelope.
To: Ms Unction
From: The Unstitute
Ref: "...drifting towards (x)"
Dear Ms Unction,
The Unstitute would like to commission you to be the curator of a large digital archive which The Unstitute has recently acquired from CADE. The material needs to be edited in a reasonable form for the presentation in the new wing of the Unstitute: "Non-Event Horizon". Name of project "...drifting towards (x)".
You were chosen at random for this task, (pure coincidence that your name starts with 'Un'). We cut-up a phone book, and your name was the only one that stuck to the side of the toilet bowl when we flushed it.
The boxes that we will send to you are the boxes in which we received the material from CADE. It is presently stored at the Unstitute’s liebratory. We have no instructions as to how to compile the material from CADE. He does not speak. We want to commission an investigation from you and consequent arrangement of it in the new wing of The Unstitute.