WAN CHAI, HONG KONG, 1989 — Oh gawd, this thing. Sophomore year. Saturday sushi-nite silliness. A group of us monumentally cool, young dancer/choreographers had been out dancing for hours and we were starving and found this sushi place and they had all this plastic sample food on display, including these plastic eggs on top of plastic rice. I thought they were hysterical. Many probably not-funny-if-you-hadn’t-been-there jokes ensued. I was convinced they’d make a cool art project and I flirted with one of the guys working there for, like hours, till he finally gave them to me. I was really only dancing in Hong Kong, but the year before I had made pieces kind of like this at San Diego.
When we got back to the dorms I stole the tray from the cafateria, cut some black construction paper in a curvy shape, and used rub-on letters for my pulp fiction sentences. The whole thing was glued together by sunrise.
THE HAGUE, 2012 — There’s a line in the first Indiana Jones movie where Harrison Ford is at a cafe with rival archaeologist Rene Belloq, who pulls out his pocket watch and says,
Look at this. It’s worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless!
Honestly, when I made this thing, a little over half my life ago, it was really only pretentious and silly. Now I look at it and it has a sort of conceptual patina to it. Was I smarter then than I realized? Or am I more pretentious today than I was even back then?
But it’s sweet to see. It summons forth specific referents to my own life and times, and I think larger cultural ones as well to the trappings and drapery we surround our lives and culture and ritual with.