TEMPERATURE: 62 degrees
WEATHER: sunny with clouds
NUMBER of OTHER PEOPLE: 11 (2 outside, 9 inside)
STEPS WALKED INSIDE THE BUILDING: 8, 352
TOTAL TIME SPENT INSIDE INSTALLATION: 4 hours
I had a conversation with my friend today. She asked me, “What is this thing about crushing that happens in real time with another person but also in private through revisiting text and photos from other times, like reading Anne Carson especially, which is solitary and not shared but is part of the whole emotional process?”
I thought about it, the romance of the aesthetic object. It’s one of my favorite things because it’s an attempt to translate the untranslatable, the private experience of oneself. And also, aestehic objects stay with us in more consistent ways thatn people do. So, if a lover introduces you to Bruce Springsteen or Anne Carson or Nan Goldin or whatever, then that obect is there for you in a way that that person (by virtue of being a person) can never be. In a way the aesthic objects come to represent an impossible consistency and totality of romantic feeling (one which we know is impossible but which is also essential to any romantic engagement with a person).
Later, I realized that in may ways this piece, The Irwin, is the first aesthetic object I’ve come to without romance. I have absolutely no romantic associations with it. Zero. Before I came here, the woman I was working for kept asking me if I was going to see a guy in Texas. “There’s no man in Marfa, “I kept repeating to her, “I’m just going.” But that wasn't entirely true, now was it?
Earlier that day, I had walked around the Irwin as usual, this time trying to make note of transitions and wondering about the linguistic metaphor that clings to the light and dark symmetry of the place:
Good morning Bob. I’m actually outside right now in the vestibule of the dark side and I wanted to do an audio transition from what it sounds like on the outside to what it sounds like on the inside.
Sound of keys
So. There’s a noticeable temperature difference transitioning from the outside vestibule to the inside one. And also the quality of the air is slightly more moist indoors. The smell is one of paint sort of faintly resembling an interior gallery smell but with, I guess you’d say accents, of a construction site. The light today is grey even without the filter of the film on the windows on the dark side. So some of the tones of the ramshackle house match the inside of your piece. There are these strange bumping and crackling sounds that happen in the walls which add to the mystery of the visual aspect of the piece. There are no identifiable vents or outlets so its hard to attribute mysterious sounds to heating or cooling mechanisms. They have just as much of a chance of being squirrels or people or weather.
I’m gonna start walking now
I’m wearing a puffy coat and I’m still freezing on the dark side. I can’t help but think that’s a result of more than just the actual temperature. that in fact it’s a somatic reaction to the space itself. I’m pausing at the doorway in the black scrim, looking out on either side. There’s no denying that the light at the end of these tunnel-like hallways promises something. The metaphor is kind of inescapable. You’re 89. Is it possible to interpret this piece without looking through the lens of mortality? It seems like linguistic simplistic cliches saturate the place: the light at the end of the tunnel, crossing over, passing through, going towards the light. Perhaps people call this piece ineffable because they don’t want to deign to engage with the simplicity of that language. I guess I’m not above it.