This morning, around 6:00 am, I awoke to a dripping noise. I figured it was the day’s forecast rain, getting an early start, but decided to investigate regardless. I headed into the bathroom, turned on the light, and discovered that it was also raining inside. From the light fixture on the ceiling of my bathroom. Not just a slow and steady dripping leak, but a fairly continuous drizzle of water from the light fixture onto the tile floor.
Confounded, a blinked a few times, opened and closed my mouth, and then went to my laptop to send an e-mail to my landlord.
I then returned to bed, hoping that the problem would resolve itself before I woke to officially begin my day. I even had a lovely half-awake dream where the leak had fixed itself, despite the pouring rains from outside.
Alas, that was not the case when I awoke. I e-mailed my landlord again, and then proceeded through my morning rituals: shower, hair, makeup, etc., all while dodging the mini-waterfall from the bathroom ceiling and placing several towels on the floor to soak up the mess. The ceiling around the light fixture, by this point, had begun to take on a rather wet appearance, with the shadow of water emerging through the plaster.
I called my landlord around 9:30, and then opted to skip out on the first half of the intern group meeting which started at 10:00 to await her returned phone call and a possible resolution. I received the call around 9:55, and my landlord appeared at 10:25. Upon seeing the torrential leak she called the building’s management and started yelling at them to send a maintenance person over immediately as this was not a “little leak” but a flood-inducing torrent of water and doom. She then hung up, told me someone would be on her way, and left to return to work. I soon did the same, leaving my wet apartment to venture into the pouring rain that continued through the whole day, and managed to make the second half the intern meeting. I missed the majority of the presentation by a representative from the publications department, which is a shame as that is an area of the museum world which interests me, but I was also interested in the apartment not flooding, and sometimes one must assess their priorities. I was, however, present for another intern go-around: everyone re-introduced themselves and summarized the projects on which they had been working. Several of the interns, mostly in the Development department (guess I should’ve gotten a business degree?) had gotten to play at the Art Party last night. They all looked a little tired. Jealousy, sniff.
After the meeting I turned on my phone to find a voicemail from my landlord. Maintenance had come, they’d examined the apartment and found no leak inside the apartment itself, and so they decided to break into the apartment on the floor above mine. The douchetards (I’m sorry, I know that is not polite language, but I really have no other way to describe them) who live above me had and overflowing toilet which was, apparently, flooding their apartment and was the source of my flood. Evidently this overflow had been occuring for a few hours, and the douchetards hadn’t bothered to tell anyone about it. They had, however, placed a few garbage bags on the floor. Because that really helps. Idiots. Anyhow, maintenance solved the problem and stopped the leak. However, they had to remove the light fixture and therefore the light from the ceiling of the bathroom (luckily there is another light over the mirror) and the ceiling itself is a mess. I have to wait a week for the ceiling to dry out, and then maintenance will come and fix the light fixture and re-seal the ceiling. Epic. Fail.
During my lunch (yes I had the leftover Katz’s deli roast beef sandwich and it was awesome) I popped over to my apartment. My landlord had come back and was actually cleaning EVERYTHING which made me feel incredibly guilty but I wasn’t going to complain. If she wanted to mop and clean and sanitize the bathroom that was fine by me; I was going to do it tonight when I got home, but I’m glad she beat me to the punch. Anyhow, other than the ceiling light fixture currently residing in the main room of the studio and the waterstains marking the bathroom ceiling , the bathroom is clean and dry and totally usable. Crisis averted.
After work I came home and made myself a quick dinner, and then returned to the Whitney for a panel discussion regarding the question Why Does Art Matter Now? The panel was facilitated by a filmmaker/physicist named Peter Gawosan (I think, his last name was sort of garbled) and included choreographer Elizabeth Streb, physicist Lisa Randall, pollster/social scientist Nate Silver, and one of my favorite contemporary artists, Vik Muniz. I actually wrote a catalogue entry on a Muniz piece in the Ackland collection for the Cultural Politics and Contemporary Art show which was up early this spring.
All the panelists answered questions regarding what they did when they found themselves creatively stuck, and how their work crossed boundaries and had a larger effect on society. Muniz talked a lot–not that that was a bad thing, mind you. Silver was a snobby pompous liberal who is the type of man who gives liberals in general a bad name. Randall, I think, was out of it because she was extremely jet-lagged. She had just come from Paris, where her opera about physics had just had its world premiere at the Centre Pompidou. Streb was insane–she has her dancers do ridiculous things with their bodies, like throw themselves against sheet glass to achieve unnatural motion, she doesn’t believe in choreographing to music, she calls her kind of dancing “pure movement,” and she also refers to the everyday motions of a normal person as “camouflaging gravity.” She also showed a video of an elephant bouncing on a trampoline. I’m not entirely sure what that had to do with anything, but it made the audience laugh.
Also, here is a clip of a bunch of Streb’s work, set to HORRIBLE music, ignore the music:
First video post! Anyhow.
Muniz did show footage of how he created some of his works using garbage–not the same series as the work on which I wrote, but a series focusing on a group of individuals in Brazil who live and scavenge among a giant trash heap. He photographed some of those individuals, and then recreated those photographs–on a massive scale–with the very garbage on which they survived. This massive image was then photographed from above (presumably how he created his Pieces of Junk series) and then sold on the market. All the proceeds from this series, called Pieces of Garbage, went to benefit those living in squalor. Muniz photographed seven or eight people, all of whom attended the opening of his show. He says three of them never returned to the wasteland, and that the others have become representatives and organizers for the benefit of their group. There is a Portuguese word for the people, I believe it is something like castadores, but I may be wrong.
Anyhow, I stayed through all the Vik Muniz stuff, but left a little early because the talk was running about half an hour late and I really wanted to get to the gym. Now I’m home, very tired, and very much hoping that tomorrow will be dryer than today.