Ringside, Vegas: Climb back up onto the mat. Rise and pull yourself through the ropes. There he is. ‘The Best Ever.’ Frozen in time. A 12-time pugilist world champion. Look at his shorts, paused in their silky rufflage, Hublot-coated. A voice, from above. “God?” you wonder. “Is that you?” Not God. Floyd Mayweather. From above. His voice. “Listen to me. I am the voice of luxury.” There’s an echo on luxury-reereeree.
Out cold: A man bobs and ducks in a whooshing dark night. Crisscrossing beams of light. Themes, motifs, a stadium of cheers. Déjà vu? Not yet. Steel ball bearings. A metal chute. Chingchingching. This is your mind representing a concussion. A world of gears and levers. Ticktickticktick. Actually you’re inside a sleek car commercial. Backseat. A window. Look. That’s a city passing by. Rearview mirror. Look. That’s Vegas shrinking into a fleeting horizon.
Stratospherically-inclined: There’s the continental U.S. and the Atlantic, wave at Bermuda, oh there’s Hispania, and the Eiffel Tower, look at the lovely crisscrossing of trains, and there’s the factories, ah, the Mediterranean. Where are you right now? What good are time zones when you jetset through consciousness itself?
Flaunt, Hublot, and the Gagosian Gallery at PalazzinaG: A Venetian affair. A gaggle of Gagosians leave index + middle finger v's in their wake. You sit. To the left Mayweather. To the right, the voice of Flaunt. Opposite you, a Carrollian twist. It’s the queen herself (Bey, Tilda, or the emeritus leader of England, your pick). Kutluğ (Ataman, featured here in the [CTRL-C]+[CTRL-V] Issue) calls a toast. “I cannot paint,” he says, “But I found a diamond in the belly of the cow!” Gentle smiles hover over a smattering of clinked glasses. Is this the future of luxury advertising, you wonder? If so, it tastes good and looks better.
A volley of texts, like trumpets upon Jericho: Venice Biennale baby! Kutluğ is meeting us. Hurry up, the champagne is getting warm!
Venice Biennale cocktail party: You were riding the coattails of excellence—craftsmanship, decadence, specificity, lapidarity. The what? Lapidarity isn’t a word. Not yet. You’re God now. Language is your clay. But really. You shouldn’t have joked about letting Floyd Mayweather punch you. Then you wouldn’t have tripped over your feet when he playfully jabbed you. Then you wouldn’t have banged your jaw on that ceramic cow. If not that, then not this, you dig?
Above: Screens and faces. Sublimity. Someone asks Mayweather the time. He says, “I look forward to adding the King Power WBC Full Pavé with Emeralds to my collection.” Silence. Was this the guy who said he was going to punch you? No, with that watch? Never.
Somewhere, a bar: “Pacquiao-Mayweather fight’s tomorrow?” A dour man meets a lifted whiskey halfway. Next to him, a tall man, glowing. “Can I show you something?” The dour man pauses. “Do I have a choice?” The tall man pushes a napkin forward. “Underneath. There are coordinates.” In disbelief, the dour man asks, “To where?” “Where Floyd Mayweather guards his Hublot watch.” “I’m not sure this—” “Actually it’s where I left my life-sized ceramic cow. Will you help me get it back?”
Tangential example: Two Hublot timepieces, set to high noon, are mounted on two men. They stand face-to-face in a Napa vineyard. They begin to pace backwards. One is 6’6”. The other is 1.9812 meters tall. One speaks Italian. He’s athletic. He’s wearing a golden basketball uniform. He says to the man across, “Parla Inglese.” “What’d you say?” the other man replies. This proves the first man correct.
How far do two Hublot-adorned men backpeddle 'till their scalps dip below mutual horizons? What time is it in Venice right now? Correct answer: nine hours ahead of Los Angeles. But this begs multiples. Is Abbot Kinney included in your subset? Were the canals dug during or before the 20th Century? Where are you? I thought you texted me and said you were here. Our dinner reservation is on still. Right, Ricardo?
A volley of text bubbles...
Instantly, words: At Hublot, we strive to be first, be unique and be different, and we work with the best of the best.
A text bubble crossover: Ricardo, omg we’re in Venice rn. Btw did you just text us a press release? Savage!
Here means many things: Look up. Now back. How many faces were there? Correct answer: 10,000. This was a setup. You were warned, and you kept reading. We cannot be held accountable.
A game: You’re wearing a watch. Lift your arm. It’s weighty, in a good way. In an “it’s really there way.” The piece is from Hublot’s Big Bang collection. In five minutes a man will tap you on the shoulder. He’ll say, “Vengo dall’altra parte dell’orizzonte.” When he does, find the first attractive person and make them your sex object. Really. You’re lucid dreaming. No one is coming from the other side of any horizons.
Meanwhile, in Napa: Take a breath. Metaphysics. The most inefficient of enterprises. Breathe in, good, and oooouuuttt. The particulates you inhaled won’t kill you. Least not yet. But they’re working to degrade your body whose biological processes are immanently defined by their opposition inasmuch.
Said sportily: If your body wasn’t capable of converting energy from the sun into a tippied toe, a raised arm, or a flicked wrist, how would we have a jump shot? If no jump shot, how would Kobe Bryant become a 17-time NBA All Star?
An Italian immigrant, 1997: A lean man, green and intuitive—straight out of high school—squares off against the inimitable Michael Jordan. Splack splack squeakuh squeak. A stadium of cheers becomes a fanatical world. “[Jordan’s] technique was flawless,” he says. Flawless becomes a theme. The young baller earns the nickname Vino. When a fine watchmaker approaches him, they preserve the motif. The Vino watch is unveiled, at an exclusive vineyard, of course. It’s unclear how the cow factors in to the narrative.
Currently, a prestigious event: Pink pastel sunsets drape across the receding mountains. Sky digs up burgundy from every sullen crag. You made it. But the perceived details are to be discarded after experiencing. Varietals are to be blended. Coordinates are to be scrambled. Casks are to be cracked. Conversations are to be deleted. Tomorrow, Pacquiao and Mayweather square off in Vegas. Somewhere a suitcase of money exchanges hands—we’re not saying it has anything to do with that napkin. We’re not saying the napkin wiped the mouth of a Hublot-adorned man. Expensive taste is expensive taste. Like the hands whishing 'round a sleek clockface, conclusions will be made.
On a bench, inside an institution: I want you to look at your wrist. Now back. Wrist. Now back. This is virtual. I accept the position that the Venice Biennale was a joyous headspin. Look, your watch. It’s wreathed with brilliant diamonds. You’ve never seen such opulence. You hail an attendant. “Hey!” you call out. A man comes. Much taller than those gathered. “È questa miniera?” you ask. And he cries out, laughing, “Why didn’t you tell me you spoke Italian?” “Didn’t seem pertinent.” “But then I’d have hidden my jokes in another tongue.”
And now a moment: A handsome man, head shaven, with vibrant skin. He’s familiar, glistening, athletically so. He tips a decanter towards you. It’s burgundy-colored. You wrongly assume it to be a burgundy. “Solo perché un uva è bordeaux non lo rende un vitigno bordeaux,” he says. You’ve played it cool for too long: “You’re Kobe Bryant, right?” He chides you: “Never ask the philosopher who he is.”
Bearings dispersed: The sky could be under your feet. You notice his wrist. That Hublot watch again. Gold trim surrounds an inset burgundy dish. You reassess your own sentence—“Questo non ha senso,” you mutter. He stares. You stare back. He’s gone. You’re still here. You came up from the other side of a horizon. Into an elastic time frame, where the qualitative reigns supreme. Where the absolute ruins the fun. Where ceramic cows guard many secrets.
* Silverstein, S. (1974). Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings. New York: Harper and Row.