Thursday, February 23, 2006

building stories.

i can't believe it's been six months since the hurricanes. it's funny how my personal circumstances sometimes run into world events, like i just happened to be in Houston when a pair of enormous hurricanes laid waste to the Gulf Coast. when my Dad and i were driving down here, i wanted to stop in New Orleans and just see things, i wanted to eat a po boy and walk around the French Quarter. Dad said no, we must press on to Houston. and so we did, and i never got to see the New Orleans that no longer exists. i've never been there, but it remains like a phantom of a memory, something i can reconstruct from pictures. like the time John took me down to lower Manhattan to see the towers a few months before they disappeared.

Koba is New Orleans this week, he called me today, a bit shaken, and tried to describe what he saw. i can't even imagine.

there's some part of me that hasn't dealt with what happened when Rita hit. i guess this is what people in crisis situations do, their brain shuts down and they just act and don't think too much. that's what i did, and i don't think i've thought about what happened yet. the way the civility of society frayed and broke down, sitting and watching the TV after sitting in traffic for six hours and moving eight miles, and becoming more and more frightened by the lack of information coming from it and starting to realize that there may be no way out of this city. no options. no control. my brain shut down to keep me from freaking out, and i think it worked fantastically well.

this have been strange here in Houston since the hurricanes. i wish i could have something to compare it to, but the pre-hurricane Houston is something i was living in for only a month, and now all i know is a city with a collective trauma and an undercurrent of chaos ready to bubble to the surface. everything here is out of whack, and i wonder if it will ever be back to normal, or this is the new normal. it makes me want to leave, to get out of this hurt, and so i am.

Jeanine said shortly after Rita that she was curious to see how this experience would appear in my work. to be honest, i had been thinking about building houses out of porcelain from the moment i set foot in Houston, but seeing the images from the hurricane, just the sheer scale of destruction, twisted what i was planning to do into something else. now i look at the work that i've made, and it just seems sad and ephemeral, fragile and ready to fall apart.

the semester after the 11th, i also built a tall white skyscraper. it was enormous, and i built it almost without planning. it grew more reckless the higher it got and the proportions made no sense.

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