Somewhere, in a third rate art gallery in the city, there is an installation piece based on my working life.
Five columns and four rows of decrepit
television sets tied together, knobless and spray-painted a careless silver,
even over their screens. Each shows the same scene, the same actors, but
different costumes, one for every day on the calendar. Faxes, notes, post-its
and other desktop detritus are caught in the cracks and crevices as if blown
there by a strong wind. In the middle, however, neatly affixed with a push pin
an on shining 20 pound linen paper is my résumé.
While Rammstein or, more
appropriately, static, plays loudly from much abused speakers, each monitor
shows a 5-second clip from a static camera in my cubicle, every hour on the
hour, twenty four of them, and then repeats. Like rice poured into a pot thirty
Jeremiahs arrive, in twos and threes, some later, some in quick staccato succession.
Water is added to the pot and the day begins to boil, slowly, interrupted by
the sudden irregular bursts as I leave the office for lunch at different times,
random chairs empty for random intervals. Each clip shows an increasingly bored
or frustrated me, on the phone, typing, staring blankly at my monitor. It
simmers near the end, I get up, not visible save for a pacing shadow cast
across my desk. Then: full-on boil. I leave, earlier each day, my departure
snaking quickly left and up across the array.
Colored wire connects every
monitor in a row, sticking out the sides of each row and twisted together like
the ends of the cellophane wrapping of a candy. Affixed to the left hand braid
is a box labeled “In” holding a grainy baby photo and my birth certificate. The
Outbox is empty, or perhaps contains a picture I drew of myself as an astronaut
when I was little, shredded but meticulously taped back together.