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.