Tracey, Turner and I
by Friederike Steinert
I’m lying in bed with Tracey Emin. The bed linen smells a bit funky, like a night that has dragged on for far too long; the fun memories are in the past, but the slur of the night is still your reality. 'Has she really voted for the Tories,’ I am thinking, but I shake the question off and turn around. I am touching her hair. That feels nice, she says. That nearly feels real, I am thinking.

I’m lying in bed. There is a pandemic raging outside my home. I feel lonely. The last time I was touched feels so long ago that it doesn’t feel real any more. I turn the TV on and watch a BBC documentary about  Tracey Emin.

I am lying on the beach in Margate. The sun is going down and I am wondering if I should get into the water. I am getting up, one step through the cool sand of the early evening and then another; only then is it I realise that there is actually no sea, there is just a giant painting of Turner in front of the beach. I am surprised because I always thought that the sea really existed. You have fooled me, Turner, I am thinking.

I have vomited into the bed. I can’t remember, but it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. The presence of the vomit is stronger than the presence of anyone who has ever shared a bed with me. I am not sure if I will ever recover from this; it feels far too real.

Tracey Emin is leaving the house. She feels great today. It is the first day in a very long time that she feels as good as she feels today. Maybe I shouldn’t vote for the Tories this time, she thinks.

The sun feels far too hot, but I don’t move. I am lying on something that could be mistaken for a  scene by the sea but is actually a pixelated football field. The pixels prick into my back, my whole backside feels sore by now.You are very close by, dancing for me. It is a bit sexy, but it’s also a bit embarrassing. I look right past you and accidentally stare straight into the sun. I am blinded.

We are lying on the floor. Your arms are wrapped around my body. Even our breathing has synchronised. Whenever you breath into my neck, it feels like a soft breeze on a summery beach. Your skin seems to be part of my body, my hair seems to be growing out of your arms and legs and head. The voice of David Cameron is on the radio.

William Turner feels hot. He is standing on a sandy patch in Margate, imagining the sea. The sun is shining on his forehead. It’s rather unpleasant, but he isn’t moving. No matter how hot it really is, it cannot melt the darkness in him. He feels too heavy to move. He wishes he could just climb into a boat and leave.

Tracey Emin is getting into bed to ruffle the duvet. It feels strange to be back, strange to have such a private moment with her own past in a space as sterile as a white cube. Later, she will stand there, with her skirt and her trainers, looking at the bed, looking directly at her past self and the self that just was — a few hours earlier, ruffling the duvet. Both women feel like strangers to her. Being Tracey Emin is complicated.

Being a trained journalist, I currently study Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art. Prior to this, I studied Fine Art at Camberwell College of Art and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Starting in the photography class, my current practice is mainly text, and video based. I was part of Salon Berlin-Tbilisi, a feminist writing project comprising women from Georgia and Germany.