Options, a Monolith

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It says everything and nothing. It says as much as the way we park our cars or wash our dishes. Just think of the sexual subtext of parking; rear-to-rear, slip-in-along-side, ‘I can squeeze in there’. Or look at dish washing in respect to ecology; make a machine to do the job, out-of-sight-out-of-mind, I’ve done my part you do yours. All things can be interpreted metaphorical for something else. All such juxtapositions create a meaning. All are equally useful and a complete waste of time. Just look at surrealist art for any number of examples. A melting clock, a lobster on a telephone. So what? The exchange is there, it can be made.

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Between people there’s a felt suggestion to share understanding, usually an invitation to teach or be taught in some way. To neither educate or be educated is to suspend a concept. I very much enjoy that. What understanding is perfect? Every confidence is a hierarchy of trust, absolute truth is a consequence of belief and honesty that’s as fragile as the time it takes to process. Time spent learning, communicating, gives an illusion of the indefatigable, but without understanding one’s time spent is just one’s time spent.

Options is a recreation of an art installation through twine. It’s possible in the process of playing the game that I simply could not figure it out. I have an extremely difficult time imaging anything in my brain. Maybe it is my acknowledged weakness at holding objects in the mind, but this twine is difficult to read and interpret.

At start, what is the face for this installation is described. Curiously in twine form, this steel cage, set into a building, made of fine wires, is described in a way that omits details that would be impossible to miss in physical. It feels like something that is gradually assembled. One can read a sign, inspect this cage, or walk away. Walking away is an oft present choice. This conclusion a nod to authenticity, a big part preserving stream-of-conscious simulation. Because at all times for anything there’s a choice to walk away without needing an acknowledgement in the text, right? Severance of art is walking away, putting away, looking away. Every break and a bright receival, a photo of the sculpture’s face is displayed, the steel cage, currently filled with rocks.

Signs are a comforting symbol of explanation. This sign acknowledges consent, reading it is to agree to participate this game, and confers nothing. What game? Same state of understanding before and after. So the only choice is to look at the door and—a door? Wasn’t there a cage set into the building? On the door are a number of clothespins, they are different colors, holding also different colored yarn. Some have writing. From here the “game” starts completely, though it will end suddenly.

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No matter which order of choices I made, they end a layer deep. It doesn’t seem like a specific order leads to a new result or different end state. Through vagueness there’s a consistent implication no single result is truly similar. Tying off yarn, moving some clothespins, moving many clothespins, yet nothing resolves. The text describes a mass of connections, some tighten and some untangle. It’s hard to understand what’s happening. I get the impression this installation—this sculpture?—is more of a communal work. Someone messes with the intricate paths of yarn, some of the yarn remains affixed and some now free, then walks away. Something that will not lose whole form but is ever in flux, readily impacted by whoever interfaces with it. An adaptable metaphor, but, in twine form no one else comes. There’s no way to observe your results; it’s difficult to understand what impact each action has. Some things changed, in some way, apparently, and then I walk away.

I feel loneliness and futility. Not the videogame sense of those words; not a DarkSouls-loneliness-and-futility where the barrier to feeling is the amount of practice and study. Options is closed, gameless; a notgame. Choices have effect but they don’t cascade and there’s no conclusion. Droppings in a sensory deprivation tank, the logistics of which cannot be grasped. Projecting a spiritual frustration, a great deal past relatable, conducting littleness, pithy life, of randomness, nonsense, a small and powerless existence. I do make a difference but it’s small and immeasurable. I feel sick.

There’s a disconnect in what this twine was made for and what I got out of it: the model is, after all, hypothetical. Whether for personal record or for others, it’s meant more as ‘look at this neat thing,’ I’m sure. Described as “nice and self-contained” when it’s inexplicable, contextless, and somewhat horrifying—hypercontained, even, too specific and closed to have warmth. Looking at the actual installation, as it apparently was constructed, and it is of course legible and nonthreatening. Options is a strange remedial transformation, the deep black of twine and the stark prose converting a walkthrough for a communal game into a private meditation, a relic to uselessness and loneliness. An intense bout of nihilism. I do things, yes, but who’s to say what impact they’ve had. Who’s to say what any of this means? Obviously, as I write about meaning and say what I mean, even in smallness, I get to say what this means. Passive nihilism gives a time and place to reassert personal values and meanings. There is no nothing while I live and breathe.

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