The dinner art installation

Assembled yesterday morning, on the teak coffee table in the living-room area of my condo, an art installation that doubles as a dinner-table setting. Some of the elements in this composition  are components of both the installation and the dinner setting; some are part of the installation only — or, some would argue, actually constitute a centerpiece for the dining table, in which case the whole thing is a dinner-table setting, but viewed either as artistic display or as dinnerware (think of Duchamp’s 1917 Fountain, but with a lot more parts and with the stuff actually capable of serving its usual function.)

Photos (by Erick Barros):

(#1) View of the installation from the front

(#2) View of the installation from above

Shared elements: items of wheat straw ware (from several sources), at each of four place settings, with a flat plate, a deep plate, and a small bowl, these on a deep blue cloth placemat, plus a cup on a coaster (the coasters together depicting a piece of Australian aboriginal sand art).

The SE setting has all blue pieces, the NW setting all green. The SW setting is all warm colors, rose, orange, and pink. The NE setting is a wild card, lavender, yellow, and pink (on a placemat of somewhat different design from the other three).

The centerpiece: on a small lavender plate, a tube — useful for holding utensils, scissors, and so on, but here just serving as a base for a blue plastic penguin rubber-cemented to its lid (so it doesn’t topple off), squeeze the penguin’s belly and it puts on a light show.

Facing the blue penguin is another penguin, standing on a coaster: Pingüino Gaudí, a mosaic animal figure from Barcelona (see my 8/23/19 posting “Penguins meet and greet”).

The table setting. In case someone — or two or three — might come to have a meal with me. Well, that might happen every six weeks or so, to judge from the record of the recent past.

My notes from 6/4 about my shaving and making my bed every morning (not to mention putting on pants), so that things will be nice in case a friend should come to visit:

6/4: Did my grocery shopping at 6 am, getting rapid delivery (for $2 extra), which came in 45 minutes, and was exactly what I ordered, no substitutions or deletions.

Also made the bed, in the hope that a friend would visit — a friend in this context being a face-to-face friend, someone who spends time with you for the pleasure of your company; it appears that I no longer have any face-to-face friends — I do have friends accessible electronically, and they are my social world; I can’t imagine surviving without them. Otherwise, I have caregivers who come by occasionally to provide services I no longer can provide for myself, and I shamelessly treat them as paid companions. But I insist, pathetically, that somehow, a face-to-face friend will come someday. It could happen; a month ago, my grandchild Opal and their girlfriend came by for a visit, which was deeply pleasurable for me, and, I think, entertaining for them.

I know, I’m Miss Havisham, wearing her ruined wedding dress for all of her life, though no suitor will come to take the place of the man who left her at the altar. I realize, abstractly, that visitors will be extraordinarily rare — friends my age have mostly died, the gay ones in the AIDS plague, some from COVID-19, but mostly because they were, like me, really old. I have tons of friends a generation younger than me, and a fair number two generations younger, but they have pressing demands on their time (demanding jobs, kids to support, their own parents to care for, pleasurable activities I’m unable to share in — concerts, movies, travel, eating out, walking for pleasure or exercise, and much more), and I no longer have anything to offer them with my company.

For the most part, I’ve accommodated to the idea that I have essentially no face-to-face friends left, that this is just one more cruel contraction in my life, unfortunately comprehensible but without remedy (especially since I’m now housebound). But, as you can see from the above, I cling pathetically to the fantasy that people might come and hang out with me.

Note: I’m in a good frame of mind, even buoyant, now that  I seem to be through the long nightmare of prednisone withdrawal, left only with my ordinary afflictions (which I complain about heatedly, I think with justification, but Everyday Awful is manageable) and whizzing every 20 to 25 minutes (a regime that has transformed my body for the hugely better). There is plenty of joy in my life. Don’t fear for me. I just have to learn how to truly accept this most recent contraction.

2 Responses to “The dinner art installation”

  1. Mark Mandel Says:

    Sounds good! Looks good, too.

  2. Lise Menn Says:

    Looks nice!

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