Art.

You walk into a semi-dark room and hear the ringing of a bell from somewhere in the distance. Your attention has been completely dominated by a large box sitting in the left half of the room. The box holds a world different from your reality, and you look through the glass, entranced. There are two people inside the case. You deem it to be a bedroom of sorts. A baby of unknown gender lies peacefully with eyes closed and palms open. A fly is perched on the left side of the child’s face, and doesn’t move. You stare at the fly willing it to move from the face of the baby, but it sits stubbornly. You then take in other aspects of the case. The baby is dressed in a dog costume with a red collar that is stark against all of the neutral colors within the case. There is what appears to be a breathing ball of fur next to the child and then the fly still sits on the baby’s face. The ball of fur has no face, but it looks to be inhaling and exhaling regularly. All of these things lie with the child inside a cradle.

On the floor in front of the cradle a woman lies. She could be on the floor, she could be on a bed, but it isn’t clear. There are items strewn about around her: a pack of tissues, car keys, and, most notably, film negatives. The woman looks to be examining these pictures on a lit up desk of sorts. She would be propped up on her elbows looking down at the film, but she has no face. She seems immersed in her work, but she has no face. The baby may wake up at any moment, but the woman would not be able to see the child. You hear a bell ding in the distance.

You don’t understand the situation in front of you. Does the child belong to the woman? Is there an animal inside the cradle with the baby? You ask yourself these questions. The whole time you are wondering what would possess a person to make this “art.” It seems to be a perfectly ordinary situation, but the woman has no face and there may or may not be an animal inside the cradle. What time period are you looking in on, you ask yourself. Why does the child have his hands outstretched? Does the would-be mother care about this child? Why place a fly on the face of the child? The situation is a little disconcerting. The red collar stands out against everything else in the picture. You wonder why that is. Why is the baby’s neck covered with a red collar?

You begin to walk away from the exhibit because you have so many questions, and not a single answer. You don’t understand art. You were forced to come here, and so you did. You were forced to come here even though you knew you wouldn’t understand what all of this meant, but you still came. What does that mean?

You’re sick of asking questions so you decide to walk out into the gardens and attempt to forget your afternoon, just as that mother appeared to forget her infant.

As you continue on through the park you compare yourself to the mother. You are ignoring something as she seemed to be. You draw some similarities between the two, and you become uncomfortable. You begin to notice people giving you strange looks. They stare at your head like something seems to be missing. You begin to run because your paranoia is growing, and it seems uncontrollable. You race toward Round Pond. You need to see for yourself. You need to see that you still have a face, that you haven’t lost yourself. The pond approaches and there are more people here than the last time you visited. You push through to the water. As you get on your hands and knees and prepare to look at your reflection, you realize your eyes are closed. Your eyes are closed and you can’t see. You touch your face and feel nothing. It isn’t flat skin, it is nothing. There is nothing there. You have forgotten what it looked like, and you will never again see it. You start to hear buzzing. The buzzing of flies is overwhelming your senses. Nothing else matters and it’s driving you mad. You fall into the pond and it doesn’t matter that you can’t breathe underwater, because you weren’t breathing anyway. No one looks your way because you don’t even make a splash. You sink and sink and hit the bottom with a soft thud. The last sound you hear is a bell ringing in the distance.

Advertisements