This weekend’s brief respite from the steadily quickening pace of helping to facilitate the department’s Arriving Faculty Workshop and preparing to administer the fall semester’s first-year composition course was a trip into the city to take in a gallery exhibition and a meal, and for L. to meet her friend.
The exhibition was Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s “Black Acid Co-op,” and it was remarkable. The NY Times slide show gives a taste, and the accompanying review’s characterizations of the installation as “an immense, labor-intensive, maniacally contrived walk-through environment” and a “warren of some dozen rooms, interiors, and passageways [that] includes a burned-out home amphetamine lab [and] a red-carpeted gallery of pseudo-artworks” are apt. The word I would have chosen, I told L., was “methodical”: there was a remarkable and consistent phenomenological attention to the most minute details of the experience of the space.
One walks into a dark wicker-lined room strewn with paper trash. A book of polaroids lies in a corner of the concrete floor. There are thermal-printer astrological charts with attached polaroids pinned to the walls. And there is an uneven hole in the wall, the first of many, leading to a brightly, badly fluorescent-lit space, exposed wires hanging from the light fixtures, a scabrous analogue of run-down strip-mall commercialism.
The wigs are clotted with paint and cement. The hole beckons.
There are multiple paths. Inward, toward the heart, they all lead through iterations of meth labs.
In deeper, one climbs into an open refrigerator and out the back.