On 21 February Lian Bell and I walked in circles.
She, in Paris, circling the pétanque pitch in the Jardin de Luxembourg; a circle ‘within the bigger circle of the park’s joggers.’
Me, in London, circling the AcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; a circle around school groups spiralling up Kapoor’s Orbit and down Höller’s slide.
We sent each other postcards before and after the walk.
On circle four Lian’s pace slows; she hears ‘scooters, birds, kids, gravel crunch.’
On circle seven one of the Orbit employees approaches me and asks what I’m doing. ‘Walking in circles’, I reply.
On circle eight I pass a woman and her children peeling bark off a tree. ‘I could peel bark here all day’, she says to me with a laugh.
On Lian’s tenth circle, ‘it feels [hers].’ A man smoking a cigar watches her. ‘It’s hard not to feel a performance.’
Lian walks knowing she’s being watched.
I walk knowing I am being watched.
On circle fourteen park security approaches me. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Walking in circles seven more times; it’s for an art project.’
‘Oh alright. You understand why we’re asking, right? Because of where you are…’
Paranoia or performance? It’s the panopticon either way.