Reflection over yesterday:
We chewed over a lot of different things while driving from the Yellowstone location to Billings. It was a slow day for both of us. In our previous entry I mentioned a little of what’s going on. Morgen asked if there was something on my mind while I was writing — I was wondering why we hadn’t talked about the last location and why since our last conversation ended on a bad note he felt more comfortable speaking to the recording. I had a feeling we were splitting into different directions with the project. We were distracted though, our attention towards Walmart was lost, ever since the huge coffee spill he had been driving and things had been a little strange with the vehicle; we thought that the air condition sensor was damaged or maybe that the car was overheating, after checking out the car we kept driving.
A new day
When I look at him, he is calmly steering the car with one hand and gazed out, wind blowing through the windows, sweat rolling from my armpit– writing– holding the pad, watching the ink.
We’ll begin at our first two stores of the day taking photos in aisles reserved for underclothes.
Soon we started talking about how we weren’t speaking and why (it was time to figure out what page we were on and where we stood with things.) While speaking, we found a way to become more clear about our different approaches and what they might mean for the project. We discussed the similarities and differences in the way we approach material in the store; we started our conversation thinking about what and how distance or closeness ,to say, a dress or shirt might mean different in our process, seeing the whole of a shirt or dress or only seeing the logo on a shirt or pattern on a dress– how both could work for and with the other and how they also could be two things that force a polarity in the work. We continued by thinking how the closer we get to the material, if not being conscious and not remaining objective could allow for an overly personal decision to influence the project– and while that is neither good or bad I worry where it could lead ( I realize this is really fruitful–us both being in the store and using two sets of eyes).
Communication is most important now.
I stress that I want, very strongly to not misrepresent, that I feel being too close and not acknowledging when we are too close could potentially jeopardize the project… We have to both be certain to remain objective… Or something like that, I mean, not to over determine anything– I’m telling myself.
Soon after another intense conversation of sharing what was important to us both we understood how we were affecting one another. After all this talking and going on Morgen and I decide `that we will go into the next Walmart on a fun mission, we’ll do a ‘What’s This Experiment…’
The objective is to be objective, we plan to go in and each choose, randomly, an item from the clothing department and ask what is this, then the other will respond.
Morgen and I are feeling good. He grabs a cart and runs it to the side of me, I laugh and get in– I almost fell in backwards, dramatically, “Uh, I can’t do this.” I stand straight, a little hesitant and then go for the second jump.
“I got you,” he says. “We’re headed in buddy”– recording and taking photos, everyone who passed laughed and smiled… felt like a good environment.
We arrive inside, beginning at the accessories I start with a pink belt, “What’s this?”– Morgen tells me he has one — just like always I can see where this is going; I stop here and say, “let’s just describe the item.” “What’s this?” I ask, as I move from purse to purse a lady comes by and smiles and says,” that’s you!
-Morgen finds a suit jacket and we take photos.
We continue with him describing hats and other items. He expressed that something was a knock off and that lead to a fun conversation about desire and wealth.
We move around the store and find ourselves in the center of an aisle with only seven colors, then Morgen ask me, “what section is this?” the best question arrived. I paused and looked around for the answer, what I share with him is only what I can perceive, unable to say explicitly, I describe where I am by my surroundings, Morgen gets frustrated because he expects an answer. He wanted me to tell him what we understand but what I wanted was for us to explore being present, how do we decipher or orient ourselves when there are no labels? The orienting process essentially could establish the grounds for creating a new arrangement. Moving sections, Morgen and I become loud but I continue describing what I see. Really engaged, I grab pink shoes from an Isle, we go back and continue the conversation where it began — using the shoe to metaphorically represent a body beyond its limits. Continuing, we create several different analogies between the body and material, either male/female body in opposite section wearing the clothing of the section or male/female in their ascribed section wearing opposite clothing– we discuss the bodily and material tension that occurs . No Fluidity..spending about an hour in Walmart we move through an entire simulation, closing we find ourselves discussing how we find and don’t find ourselves in the store.
It was hard.. But we come to terms with one another —
Back on the road we decompress by recording poems, fighting the Montana wind, and nearly running out of gas until we found a town called Hays. I recall her friendly telling me it was a town of about 300.
There was one gas pump.