writing by fawn krieger
it's mid-november and wynne calls me from toys r us. she has two choices; a toddler girl baby doll or a smaller one with a perpetual question on its face. "which baby do i choose," she asks, in a moment of anxiety and confusion. i can't really imagine wynne not asking questions- questions of herself, her audience, her space, her body, the space we share together. so i say the baby with the question on its face, obviously. we talk later and she's changing the baby's diaper while we discuss ROOM. i think how exciting it is to get to include babies and toys in a project, how her material is the body. a few days later i get some stills in an email. the baby girl is bundled up in nikki's arms. almost ready to drop her, she is simultaneously holding a bag of diapers, a nursing bottle, and a blanket from when wynne was a baby.
i meet wynne at the kitchen in the afternoon on january 12. she just arrived in NYC after traveling across the country with her friend. we unload carpeting from her van. i see the baby, she's in a crate with sponges and diapers and wigs. the objects feel so magical to me. there is an ease to them i don't know through building. the carpeting is exciting. her friend scrutinizes me with shrewdness. i enjoy witnessing her loyalty to wynne. we get the cards to our show and wynne and i freak out for a moment. i'm afraid i can't make a seat to support 10 people at once, that it will crash. i tell her this and then we both laugh. thinking, discussing, and planning for 3 months to find my biggest fears are the most concrete, most manageable. i am still afraid of supporting the weight of people, what they bring to it and what they leave with.
we hang out two nights later on my living room floor to discuss ROOM. we try to come up with a plan for this pamphlet. something is not coming together, how can we connect our voices, how can we build room on paper? no resolution is made but we prepare ourselves to unload 30 sheets of plywood the following monday. i think about the postcard image we designed together over phone calls and email several months earlier. it came together in a way that felt so right in my body. it felt like both of us. i know that feeling and was hoping i would find it again and again as we carry ourselves through this process.
the wood is painted and construction begins. wynne wants to learn how to use my tools- drills and chop saw. we leave, exhausted one night, and she says that with video it's always unclear when the present is, whether it's in the taping or the playing. she says that with sculpture you know the present happens as you build it. i think about what the present actually is and what it means to be present- the relationship between time and consciousness. i decide i want my sculpture to always be present even after it's been built. somewhere in there we stop to get mocha frapuccinos and discuss aniston's breakup with brad pitt.
then there's a blizzard, 22" of snow on a sunday. the city is deserted except for dogs with booties. the snow made more space for us. we laugh at ourselves and celebrate in the progress we witness materializing. as we build a space, we build a friendship. i feel a digging downward, under, deeper, richer, darker, an unearthing, as we add and construct an external form.
thoughts are moving so fast through my mind. i can't retain everything. i can't sleep and i can't wait to get there again. first i can't wait to see a seating element complete, then i can't wait to see it in the space, then carpeted, then painted, then with bodies, then in video. we call it desserts and only allow one or two a day at this point so that there is still opportunity for shifts and changes to happen along the way. i want it clean enough for the baby doll to come out of the crate.
i want to hold the baby all the time and try carrying it in different ways. i change her clothes and smell her rubbery head in hopes it has real baby smell but never does. i consider bringing in baby powder and a full pajama set. wynne asks me if she could videotape me. i feel so awkward and don't know what to do with my body in the space. i never considered my body in relation to the realized form; i only considered it in relation to the construction. what does this space mean to my body? what are the present terms of a completed construction? how do i stand beside (and within) my work?
wynne gives me time in ROOM alone. i never thought to take a space i made for others. i never thought there could be room for me too. the room becomes the baby, a new life outside of my hands that i can care for but that remains autonomous. i lay on the carpet, my skin touching the cozy warmth of recycled nylon. i'm not separate, i'm connected through touch and through time- i am present. the space of ROOM has expanded to fit me. a liquid structure built to support the mass of discovery and consciousness.