Dear UKBA – from Jennifer

Dated: Future-ly, 21.07.13

Dear UKBA, Home Secretary and minions of:

I have been a virtual traveller for the past 3.5 weeks.

I know that you have prohibited my travel outside the UK by ‘retaining’ (greedily keeping it for yourself, ahem… don’t you have enough passports in your collection yet?) my passport; however, I am pleased to announce that I have now mastered the art of astral projection and have been maintaining a steady presence through France these past three weeks.

Mainly, I have been taking up a very small amount of space in a camera. This is ideal, as I then don’t have to deal with the inevitable explanations regarding my lack of visibility in the images themselves. I am of course somewhat at the mercy of David’s curiosity, interest and skill (! really, he should stick to the poetry), which means that I miss the other’s perspectives – but perhaps everyone would have wanted to document the different spiders at close range. As well as the close-up with the cow… well. I had never imagined their breath would smell so sweetly!

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There are a few drawbacks: I’m afraid I don’t feel the same weight of work in my legs as the others… and given the tenuous position of my immigration status in this country, similar to finding myself on a tightrope stretched over an abyss, I do miss the earthiness and heaviness 6 hours of cycling brings. I feel I need heavy legs at the moment. Maybe if they get heavy enough, I’ll be earthbound forever… no plane will fly me and boats will sink under my tread, thus ensuring my continued residency in the UK.  But perhaps I need to be lighter, nimble  enough to dash across the rope to the other side… or back the way I’ve come (even though I don’t fancy my chances doing an about-turn on such a narrow platform, ballet school notwithstanding).

I had tried to mirror the efforts of the group from afar, cycling from London to Cambridge (68 miles) and Cambridge to Peterborough (39 miles). This was very successful in creating shared space in different places, via SMS – but also, simply trusting that we were each doing what the other was from afar – a potent psychological space. For reasons specific to my situation (that of not-knowing my fate and wanting to be available should I need to access the many documents necessary to help determine it), I took the train from Peterborough to Leeds to be physically present with the tightrope, keeping tension on the line.

I feel a certain fragmentation: this is clearly part of the astral projection, but also to do with my projection into the camera. I am not privy to the whole of the landscape, its integrity, the roundness of 360… the aperture here is made up of 90 degree angles. I wonder if you can relate to this in your roles as caretakers (cartographers) of immigration? How do you feel about the aperture of ILR Form Set(O) as a way to understand my desire to remain in the UK? Does it give you enough scope? I fear it might be flat, in the way two-dimensional things are. I fear it fails to account for the roundness of my existence here. I fear it fails to address the roundness this country is for me.

I suppose this notice of refusal shows that it has failed; hence I will plead my case in the full three-dimensions. Hopefully, when we see each other face to face, rather than through these 90 degree angles, we’ll be able to reach an understanding.

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