I’d seen pictures of this apartment ahead of time. But when I got here it looked nothing like I’d envisioned. And I was unable to remember how I’d imagined it before.
All I could think was: This is a strange place.
I was surprised by my reaction– by my sudden homesickness.
I used to stay in strange apartment all the time– house-sitting, cat-sitting. At the drop of a hat, and for weeks at a time. Rarely have I stayed anyplace for more than three months. I never gave it much thought but until last spring, I’ve been living out a suitcase since college. I like to think I can always leave a place if I have to.
But I realized when I was alone in this apartment I felt nostalgic for my own chairs and the things back at home that comfort me.
After a few phone calls and a short nap, I start to peek around the apartment. (**for dramatic purposes I’m going to suddenly switch to the first person)…
I can’t get over how big it is. It’s like a two bedroom apartment by New York standards. I also can’t get over how quiet it is. I don’t hear any cars or buses. Or people shouting. There’s nothing that makes the floor rumble. And, as if all this weren’t strange enough, I can actually hear birds chirping.
Another thing that surprises me: I’m incredibly timid. I tiptoe around the apartment. I don’t touch anything. I know Megan said I could do whatever I want, but for some reason I feel really nervous about moving things. In some way her apartment reminds me of my own and the thought of disturbing her organization seems really taboo.
(For weeks I’ve had fantasies about how “crazy I was going to go on this apartment”. Rearranging everything. Making it totally unrecognizable. )
But for the first few hours I just stare at the furniture. I turn some chairs upside-down. I make a fort under her table. I sit in the bathtub. For a long time, all I can think about is my apartment back home.
The one thing that embarrasses me is the video I made for the webcam where I’m playing with the table and chairs. At the end I’m trying really hard to look casual, as if I’m not aware of the camera. It’s the most unconvincing “casual” in all the history of art/process-documentation.
But somehow I love it all the same.
When exactly did my break-through happen? It was after I put on my pajamas… I remember that much. It was like all of a sudden I had a really clear sense of objects that ought to go together. And the tone of it all just fell into place.
It all started with a chair I put beside the toilet. They were the same height but different textures and different shapes They had different functions. But from a design perspective the made a really interesting couple.
I sat in the tub, admiring them for a long time.
I thought about long conversations. And about people that compliment one another. And how that basic element of complementary differences can make for some really awesome discussions. Or TV shows. Or whatever.
And then it all came down to me playing with objects. Carefully selecting pairs and groups. Trying out different jokes. Different references. Different visual arrangements.
I don’t have a lot to say about the actual working process because it just somehow happened.
I wasn’t thinking about my apartment in Brooklyn. And I wasn’t worried that Megan might not like the decorative light-bulb I hung from the ceiling. It all just happened like a blur.
Whenever I come up with something really good, it’s like it just happens and suddenly I’m looking at it and I’m like “Wow, that’s hilarious… whoever came up with that is a genious.”
Well, in any case, this experience went from being tragic/anxiety-ridden to being totally effortless and fun.
Potato/potato, I guess.