MEDITATIONS: “A Low Condition”


In the end, the interlocking corridors, repeating doorways, proliferating walls and fields of columns created an antithetical affect. At once envisioned as a site of dynamism, the plenitude of options created paralysis. It was uncommon to look up at the intricate vaulted ceilings; there were too many thresholds afoot to negotiate and traverse. The ceilings were constructed too high and the walls too many; they bred the sensation of sinking.

Debris easily accumulated down the narrow corridors and in the grooves against the raised thresholds. The windows were set high into the walls with their shafts of light cutting across the space. Harsh zones of demarcation striped the air. The shadows cast by columns cultivated their own unique topography; within their dark slices, trash created jagged geologic silhouettes.

The air itself seemed agitated. The sharp turns and spiraling hallways pressurized the airflow causing a persistent whistling. The walls seemed to howl behind the restless trash. It was a strange breed of dynamism. Debris and dust quickly dispersed and converged, sometimes blocking corridors and obscuring entire sections of wall. At moments it reached as high as the vaults above.

Things evolve quickly. The sensation of sinking turned into a condition of burrowing. No longer sinking, but now comfortably sunk. The debris began settling in corners and niches and resting for several days before shifting again. Staying low to the ground and tight to the wall, the vantage point yielded intricacies across the cluttered terrain invisible to the lofty ceilings above. Eventually, large patches of trash became fixed in place. Soon all the walls and floors held a continuous layer of debris. Their planar surfaces seemed to soften and the sharp echoes that once reverberated eased. There was comfort in the clutter. Soft, irregular and low to the ground, it was relatable.

Threshold Composition no. 20, Gouache, oil and ink on panel. 16” x 12”. 2014.Emmy_Mikelson_300dpi-2

Author Note: Emmy Mikelson is an artist and curator residing in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from Hunter College. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has appeared in Direct Art magazine and the journals Nova Organa, KTISMA, and Ampersand. She has been an invited speaker at Parsons the New School for Design, the CUNY Graduate Center, Maysles Cinema, and Pace University. She currently teaches at Baruch College, CUNY.