Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Self-Parodic Filth: Only in New York

“It is not so much an empirical as an analytic judgment, not a historical statement, but a definition, to say that the intentional fallacy is a romantic one.”
- William K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, The Intentional Fallacy

“…the hand, cut off from any voice, borne by a pure gesture of inscription (and not of expression), traces a field without origin – or which, at least, has no other origin than language itself, language which ceaselessly calls into question all origins.”
- Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author

A new home in an old apartment and a windowsill in a communal airshaft. A plastic bottle cap, a q-tip, a cigarette butt, teeth-marked chewing gum in the shape of a worm, and a forgotten Funyun (peeking out from behind the gum). Romantic yes, but more so it would seem a profoundly human impulse to search for some intention behind this work of art.

This gritty tableau reeks of premeditation. Its feigned mélange of stereotypical filth items is a monument to the impossibility of intentional randomness. Its flavor is as artificial as the gum’s pink color. Perhaps the only things missing are a carefully-placed banana peel and a prophylactic wrapper.

However, the installation’s banality is its greatest triumph. It’s only message: someone had fun here – either in the great deceit of its arrangement, or the more unlikely possibility that each of these treats was actually savored and blithely discarded.


uncle tom said...

I don't know...call me a hopeless random romantic, but I see a guy waiting nervously for the arrival of his clandestine lover in the air shaft.

The longer he waits, the more nervous he gets, as he compulsively devours the entire order of funyuns originally intended as the piece d'resistance of their cozy interlude.

Realizing that his funyun breath would betray his selfish behavior, he lights a cigarette and puffs nervously, chomping on the filter tip as he tries to justify the late arrival of his love.

But soon all thoughts turn to him and his insecurity about his appearance. Panicking, he stubs out the butt and starts chewing gum hoping to further mask the funyun folly. Then, as if struck by a bolt of lightning, he realizes that he has not yet cleaned the wax from his ears, after recently being cajoled by his lover about his personal hygiene.

He tries using his last funyun to do the job..but alas, this is both useless and disgusting. Searching the airshaft wildly for anything that might suffice, he comes upon the Q-tip and a bottle top still holding a splash of spring rain water.

He finishes his aural ablutions, waits fitfully for another hour, and finally climbs out of the shaft mumbling under his breath..."bitches ain't shit".

Chris Reitz said...

The things we find 'between walls.' Makes me nostalgic for broken green bottles.