Living With An Amateur Installation Artist

By: John Merriman

Hey, you’re back! Never thought two weeks in Bermuda could go by so fast, right? You and Liz must’ve had a fantastic time. I meant to tell you I wanted to make a few changes to our apartment while you were away, but you had already left by then. It was kind of a last-minute thing, so I’m sorry.

Probably the first thing you noticed is that the door to our apartment is gone. Don’t worry, it didn’t get stolen. I just took it off and put it somewhere else. We’ll get to that.

If you turn on the lights… That’s right, the light switch isn’t where it used to be. See that barbed wire hanging from the ceiling, the one with the chunks of raw meat stuck to it? You either grab a meat chunk, or put these metal mesh gloves on so you don’t lacerate your hands, and then pull the wire down. There you go. Yes, the light will always be red and flashing.

So here’s the kitchen — and the living room, too, since I knocked that partition down. We never really liked it there anyway — well, at least I know I didn’t. Oh, and see that pile of sawdust in the corner, surrounded by razors and cow brains? That’s what happened to the door. And your desk and bookcase too. No, your books are ground up in a different pile of razors and cow brains.

Actually, the “horrendous racket” you mentioned earlier is coming from right inside our bathroom! It’s just a recording of an electric guitar being scraped against sharp metal objects mixed with an aural wash of shrieking squirrels. Yes, the neighbors have complained to the landlord about how loud it is, but he’ll have other things on his mind soon. For example, I won’t be able to cover my half of the rent for the foreseeable future — had to pay for all this remodeling somehow! You won’t mind spotting me a couple grand, right?

Now, don’t freak out or anything, but this other change may be a little on the inconvenient side! I was trying to think of where to put a giant screen to project footage of livestock being gutted and maimed, and I think you’ll agree that no place is better suited for this than your bedroom.

Unfortunately, giant screens and projectors are prohibitively expensive for me, so I decided that a cheaper alternative would be to get real livestock and drizzle red paint on them. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t bothered by the paint. They just keep doing their usual animal things. The goats jump on your bed sometimes, but only very early in the morning. The cow usually just stays put. That reminds me, I need to run to the store and buy some more cow feed.

Fresh air? Sure, why not? You were already throwing up in the kitchen, so circulating some oxygen is probably a good idea. Although I had to board up all the windows to set the right mood in here, so you might want to try the apartment downstairs. When you’re depicting modern technology’s violent abuse of animals through an interior space, cheery daylight doesn’t make much sense.

Well, once the art schools I’m applying to see pictures of this in my portfolio, I’ll be out of here in no time. And all the alterations I’ve made should really help narrow down prospective apartment mates for you after I’m gone. But thanks for taking this so well — I knew you’d understand. I don’t know what my friends were thinking when they said an avant-garde artist and a tax accountant couldn’t live in the same apartment without wanting to kill each other!


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