Peter Clarke (1929 - )
The Fortune Teller

mixed media
50 x 35cm

Having entered the neighbourhood, the stranger asks you for the
address of the fortune teller. You notice her selfconciousness when
she mentions the woman's name. It is as if by doing so the slightly disreputable
nature of her mission, into this part of town that is really a ghetto, has been
revealed. You look at this stranger who in the process of the brief encounter also
exposed anxiety regarding her future, where as to you it doesn't matter. You
are the kind of person who takes things as they come. Your attitude is "What
ever will be, will be."
You know the fortune teller is going to make a cup of tea for her visitor. You
wonder about small talk. You know they will not talk about trivial things
in the easy going way people usually do when it is just a relaxed social
visit. This is not just a casual visit. The important thing is for the
visitor to drink her tea, draining her cup. The fortune teller will pick it up.
Looking at the tea leaves stuck at the bottom, she will proceed to read her
visitor's fate. Giving the fortune teller all of her attention, the visitor will
sit & listen intently to everything that is being revealed.
You wonder about people who possess the ability to see into the future
while for others there is only uncertainty & even blankness. You wonder
too about modern times & the packaging of commodities. It is so convenient
using a tea bag to make a cup of tea. You can't help wondering
though if tea bags will eventually create a lack of enthusiasm for fortune
telling. Can you tell someone's fortune using a tea bag? How? Or is the outlook
for fortune telling grim?

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.