morris code?

“Let’s go in.” I said, somewhat longingly.

“No, I’m not doing that. We’re still in teacher clothes,” she said.

“So, who cares? Let’s go,” I begged as she kept walking to her car. “You’re lame,” I exclaimed, half joking. Our friend W. agreed with me and gave K. a hard time too. All of a sudden, K. did an about face and we were heading toward Solvent Space, an art gallery that was showing a new video piece.

The gallery is an industrial brick building located in an old industrial part of town. The landscape surrounding it is not awful, but not pristine either. The landscape fits the artiness of it.

“We just don’t belong,” K said as we walked toward the building with an open doorway in between two large garage doors that were closed. In front of us were three people, two girls and one boy wearing impossibly cool, hip, urban clothes.

“We’re so not artsy,” I said mindful of my black pants, red top, and multi-colored sash. K. was wearing a blue jean skirt and sleeveless turtleneck. In my opinion, she looked cute.

We walked in the door and found a large open space with groups of the “art crowd” in clusters of 2-3 people. Some were drinking wine in clear plastic glasses. There didn’t seem to be any art on in that room, but in the back, through another doorway was a dark room with a film being projected on the wall. We walked to it. I heard grumblings from K. “Just forget it,” I said.

“What, we should just act like we know what we’re doing?”

“Absolutely,” I responded. I was anxious to see the installation. I love movie art. It’s so weird.

As we slid through the doorway I read the small printed info. about the art in the room. “Variations of Light,” it read. I whispered this to K. Standing just inside the doorway of the back room we peered at the wall. We had to slightly look up. There were a handful of people in the room and one small bench with a woman and her bag sitting on it. The room was dead silent while the larger room just outside was mulling with people’s conversations. I love how art makes people all serious.

“Variations of Light” was what seemed to be half of a blurred ring of light that pulsated. It looked a bit like an eyeball, but not quite. After pulsating in one position the film would show the light awkwardly moving into another position as if the filmmaker was physically adjusting whatever he had done to make this blurred thing happen. And in the new position it pulsated again. Everyone was quite and serious and watching intently.

I could tell that K. was not loving this. I was. I was loving it because art installations bring out the ridiculousness in people. The fact that we would stand there for a minute or even ten and watch a blurred vision of light pulsate on a wall makes me love art because it’s stupid and crazy and pretentious and nonsensical and profound and wonderful all at the same time. And movie installations are my favorite. They are unlike any other type of film. Maybe it is solely because they are viewed with people standing up or on hard, uncomfortable benches. Maybe it’s because there is often no clear beginning and ending, Maybe it’s because I am not smart enough to understand what a pulsating light projected on a large white wall symbolizes although I desperately do want to understand it.

I love it anyway, the way it makes everyone quiet and serious and contemplative. But, I would bet you a hundred dollars that 9 out of 10 people who view these things, just like me, want to scream in the silence, “Are you kidding me? Do you really get this? What does the blinking light say about life and society? Are we all just pulsating our way through this existence, manually changing position awkwardly? Or is this artist just totally full of himself? Why are you still watching this? COME ON!” Instead, just like everyone else, I stood there quietly, contemplating, trying to understand the pulsating light and all I could relate it to or think about was pulsars and aliens and secret codes.

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