Walker Art Center


February 04, 2003

Living on a roof with no curtains

Today, I watched another episode of the new BB show, you know, the one with the psychiatric patients in a Big Brother home. When I tuned into it I witnessed how one of the members, all tears, begged for her live. She was crying her head off. But there did not seem to be any immediate danger. The one the begging was aimed at sat in his chair, smiling, without even blinking his eyes. He looked into a distant … future, vision, something… the viewers could not come close to grasp. Why do the psychological ill, as they are called today, always look like they know the answers to all mysteries the world can ever harbor? I can not but admire them for their knowledge. And I pity them for their lack of communicative powers, no matter how many words they use.

The scene I witnessed turned out to be part of a quiz. ‘Call now and tell us who did not get the prescribed dose of psycho-pharmaceuticals. If you think it was Mary call…’ I turned the sound down and tried not to read the texts appearing on screen. I could not stop watching but I did not want to hear no more.

I remember a guy I lived with in one or another abandoned factory, who slept in the old elevator maintenance room on top of the roof. He had a great view over the city skyline, but he had no curtains. He did not want them, he strongly objected to the idea of having curtains. So before he went to sleep he made his rounds through the city to turn all the neon-commercials off using a stick with a hook on it: every neon commercial has a switch on orders of the fire department. The city we lived in was not that big.

One of the funny things about this factory were the stairs. They were gigantic. But they were no longer there. They were hanging somewhere halfway, on top of each other, where the demolition crew had left them. Sledgehammer people at work. And they did not hesitate to do their job on innocent looking stairs, no matter how big they were. Lucky for us there were other stairs as well. Smaller ones, but they went all the way up.

But the most astonishing part of the factory, were the chimneys. They were so huge. Your regular, old fashioned, state of the art factory chimneys. I connected my woodstove to one of them, and trough the holes in the pipes I could see the flames going several meters from the stove. Chopping would was a huge job, I can tell you that.

Later on during the BB broadcast, one of the inhabitants tried to put the recording device he had to carry for the show into the washing machine and the others tried to prevent it. Without sound it looked even better. His whole body was smiling, he knew he had to do it, it was his sacred duty, just let me do it, and all our troubles will be over, I promise. And the others could not stop him. The shots of him trying to put the device in the washing machine and the others trying to stop him were cut with close ups of people being interviewed. They all witnessed the event and were asked for their opinion on what happened that night. They were looking serious, too serious, almost solemn.

It started to snow again tonight. When I opened the curtains this morning the outside world was all white and frosty looking, like on one of the old post cards you see in one or another antique shop or in some book about the old days.

Posted by Jeroen Goulooze at February 4, 2003 04:40 PM

hola jeroen, I think it is because there are more spanish people here, and we are lazy reading english...
but we love you
i promise you to try reading your posts but you must write shorter texts! GLUP!

Posted by: teresa on February 4, 2003 05:24 PM

There is a patient here, a woman, she just turned 30 years old... a careless anesthesiologist during a cesarea made her brain go bye bye, and now she lives in "lala land"... her ind absent from our world... but some times she cries...really hard with a sad tone... but she can't be sad, she is a vegetable, right?... or does she perceive at least for a little while her situation?... i constantly think about what goes on inside her mind... and get the impression she has insight in to something we don't understand... more then a year after her "incident" she stil is considered a vegetable, but when her family brought her little babie doughter, tears came out of her eyes, in I thought it was beautiful... keep writing as long as you want my friend...

un saludo.

Posted by: luis humberto rosales on February 4, 2003 06:36 PM

Hi Jeroen. I will try to write it the correct way.
I feel so worried because the people don't even cuestion what are they consuming from the Tv. And the messages from this media are worse every time, more stupid.
I know this is not a new perspective, but I just want to share this comment with you.
In fact, and, obviously, my interest is centered at the women image in the media, wich is really steryotiped and promote the traditional gender roles and it is what the chilhood is learning... Sadly at the momment, I can only worrie... what else?...

Posted by: Cindy Gabriela on February 4, 2003 11:54 PM

cindy, pues a mí me parece que hablas muy bien inglés...
y luis también...(lo de mas corto lo decia por mí...no lo tomen a mal)
cindy, i think you speak english very well...and luis too...(i said "shorter text" because my own limitation...)

Posted by: Teresa on February 5, 2003 03:56 AM

hi jeroen... is your bigB story true, with the sick people..? it is quite fascinating indeed... but...but...

i also loved the parallel story about factories and neons. reminded me about the light sign on top of the -wenders´- million dollar hotel... a "real" building in l.a. / quite a beautiful story about people with apparent mental problems

future... osfa

Posted by: osfavelados on February 5, 2003 02:47 PM
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