My brother disappeared 15 years ago. Or was it 16, or maybe 17? I can’t remember. Which is weird because it was the day after our father’s funeral. And that’s a day you really should remember.
I accepted a long time ago that I would never see him or hear from him again. So I guess it’s only logical that if I ever did hear about him again, it would be to hear the news of his death. The package was addressed to me by Alec himself. But it was forwarded to me by someone who claimed to be his roommate in an ashram in Rishikesh, India. I’ll never know when Alec intended to send it himself, much less why. Turns out during a weekend tourist trip to New Delhi, he was killed when he lost control of his bicycle in heavy rush-hour traffic. You’d think that after all that time, I wouldn’t be that upset. But, I guess I was. Brothers being, after all, brothers…
A long time ago, I studied acting. And they used to tell us in class that as an actor, we had to find a kernel of ourselves in the character the playwright had created. To this day, I have absolutely no idea what the means. Which is why, I suppose, I never made it as an actor. What I can do, however, is find myself — no, see myself — in Painting. And speaking of seeing myself, I did see a lot of myself in Alec. Not just literally (because we were identical twins, Alec and I) but also something else. There was some deep connection between us.
“To Stasiu —
Remember when, so very long ago,
We relished being twins? But now I know
Despite all that, we’re really not the same
In many ways. So please try not to blame
Me while you watch this. Try to understand
My reasons, Stasiu, without reprimand.”
THE GRID MAN ARCHIVES: Chapter 1 – Introduction
There once was a man obsessed with grids. He called himself the Grid Man. Like any average person, the Grid Man had his share of various and sundry heroes, in his case, figures throughout history who he was convinced shared his passion for grids. That notwithstanding, it should perhaps come as no surprise whatsoever that there was one name he placed far above all others — indeed, the towering figure who he considered his spiritual mentor. That figure was none other than Leonardo da Vinci, whose veritable obsession with grids — at least in the mind of our hero — could accurately be said to match his own both in content and in intensity, a fact indisputably proven by the body of work Leonardo left behind.
Sometimes, the Grid Man would think back on his happy childhood days in Imola in Northern Italy, and when he did, he couldn’t suppress a nostalgic sigh. “Ah, the good ol’ days, le vieux style,” as he used to call it, as exemplified by the works of Leonardo himself — of course! — but also by the works of others like Leon Battista Alberti, or Albrecht Durer (if only for this one remarkable woodcut) or even Robert Fludd, the British cosmologist and philosopher who, like Durer before him, had several occasions to directly reference in his own work Alberti’s famous “voile intersecteur.”
And if, during one of the Grid Man’s bucolic and bi-monthly weekend excursions into Time Travel, he wandered from his usual Renaissance hangouts half a millennium into the future only to stumble upon, let’s say, Egon Schiele — hardly someone you could classify as old style and yet, miraculously, exhibiting unmistakable signs of grid lust in his sketch for the 1909 Danae — if something like that were to happen, the Grid Man would be no less enthralled. In fact, it was precisely in these unexpected moments of joyous discovery that our hero’s heart would veritably skip a beat.
“Noble creatures all,” thought the Grid Man, bound together by a shared love for those little squares, and squares within squares, and squares within squares within squares.