Tubes Updates

These are the last two updates from our tubes installation. If you have already supported us on Kickstarter, then you received these updates automatically. If you haven't, you should!

Sunday night was the first night I dreamed of tubes. Rosalynn hit tube dreams as of Friday.

But let me back up.

As of Tuesday morning (now), we've spent 60 gross hours in Salem, working on the installation, both together and separate. There are 3300 tubes installed, and another ~2400 still in boxes. All major constructions are in, save one that will go in after the dance/music performance.

Both Rosalynn and I have been sick, maybe from hot glue fumes, or maybe from bad bar food. Our fingers are callused from sewing, crimping tube ends, and hot glue burns. Our backs are sore from bending, stretching, reaching, lifting. We slept underneath the tubes on Sunday night, on a bed of cardboard, because we were too tired to drive home.

It was in my feverish state of bar food induced sweat-sleep, (from a grilled cheese sandwich, of all things) on the hard floor underneath the rising dome of our labors, that I had my first tube dream. It was filled with impossible angles, with stretching beyond arm's length for tubes or glue gun to buttress a hanging curve that I was supporting with my other hand, with dead-ending tube tunnels, and with the roar of collapsing cardboard echoing off of unfinished walls. Rosalynn was also in my dream, taking out a large sections of tubes with a baseball bat, and when I suggested that this would increase the amount of work I had to do, she responded that "it's your fucking problem". In fairness, I featured in her dreams as well, pursuing her with a hot glue gun, promising I would cool the glue down a bit before I covered her in it.

Well, all's fair in love and art. After all, we're suffering for YOU here, gentle contributors.

Despite our legendary efforts, the work is coming along great. There are more pictures than I could ever hope to post here, especially since Phil Krug has been there several times taking photos of us working, and posting them to his Flickr feed. But this, of course, is a reason for you to contribute and receive our curated photo CD reward, which will include Phil's photos and ours. (Thanks, Phil!)

So, let's see what we've got here:

Me, assembling, rocking my fantastic Rudy Rucker "Seek the Gnarl" T-shirt, constructing the gnarl, as it were.

The banner, in early stages.

Makoto and Mike, the dancer and musican, practicing while I glue in the background.

Makoto and Mike again, this time using the light bulb (awesome shadow effects in the tubes).

Rosalynn sewing away while the tubes foment.

View from the entrance, through the tubes.

The entrance wall, with Rosalynn and canned goods visible on the other side.

Reflection of the storefront windows, a cheap piece of self-congratulatory double-exposure art.

Tubes under the glare of the lights. This is the most recent, and most complete picture.

The "shrine of the harvest". Not what we're actually calling it or anything, but that's what it looks like to me right now.

Rosalynn feigning indifference, perched adorably on a box of tubes.

As I said, we have 3300 tubes up, and another 2400 or so still to do. We probably won't increase the number significantly by tomorrow, when the performance takes place and the installation officially opens to the public during Salem's First Wednesday. Maybe another 300 or 500 tonight, but not that much more than that. We're exhausted.

That's okay though. A few things have changed our original plan of having them all up by tomorrow. First, we got 36" tubes, rather than the 24" for which we made our original estimations. This means that the tubes we have take up more room, and we can increase the footprint of the installation with less. Second, we got the big shipment of tubes only a week before the opening, and so the time estimation was optimistic to say the least. Third, we needed to leave a significant amount of space for Mike and Makoto's performance tomorrow. They were willing to work in and around the installation (the practices of which look excellent, by the way) but they also need a bit of empty space for seating, and for Mike's music equipment.

But they will all go up over the next month. The "performance area" will be filled with a blob-like peninsula, and there is a fair amount of "thickening" to be done. Thickening is the "highly technical term" for going back over the structure and increasing the density, and decreasing the amount of free space in the tunnels and passageways. It really increases the sense of the installation as an imposition, blocking light, sound, and movement, as the structures grow, like a crystal.

But anyway, after a little bit more work and clean up tonight, we are ready for the opening tomorrow night! It is open from 5-7pm tomorrow, Wednesday June 2nd, and the performance is at 7:30pm. If you are anywhere near Salem, Oregon, come by the Project Space at 150 Liberty Street NE to check it out.

Because we've had the doors open most of the time we've been working, and also because there are large windows facing the street, we've been able to get reactions from Salem folk already. Quite a few of them are impressed, from a construction standpoint, if not a pure art standpoint. I've found there is a certain comfort threshold with the tubes. After working on them for hours on end, I feel like they are small, almost unnoticeable. I see the empty space, the work not done. But on returning after a night's sleep, I'm struck by the expanse of it, probably similar to how people see it for the first time. But then, after a little while I'm accustom to it again, and it bores me.

Rosalynn and I, in talking about projects of this size, agreed that there is a strange dynamic between the progression of a project, and the sense you have of its progression. If you imagined a timeline between 0% complete and 100% complete, at about 5% you feel like you've done nothing. At 10-15%, you feel like you're moving right along, and it will be done in no time. At 40%, the project is taking forever, and you're not making any progress. At 70%, you feel like you've regained your forward motion, but you still back at 40%. At 95%, you finally feel as if you are almost done. But there's nothing else. You never reach 100%. There is always something that can be tweaked, something to add. 95% is as far as it gets.

This is a theme of the project, at least for me. The push and pulls of inhibition and exhibition, of curation and of imposition. What is a growth that is never complete? An infection? A metastization?

Anyway, I'm beginning to talk like a visual artist, so I should probably cut this off. I'll write some philosophical essay later, once my burns heal.

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