On Tuesday morning, on my way to the train station for the workday commute, I stopped by Mary Jane Lee Park to check on the chairs three days after their deployment. I initially spotted no chairs at all as my eyes scanned the horizon. Once I looked down, I saw them, all in pieces and all over the park. These chairs were transformed; they embodied anger, frustration, or perhaps just teenage play? Appropriated fragments, piles of blue bones, not simply broken, but systematically dismembered. At least the chairs were not ignored. The work I put into fixing and painting them now had a new layer of work infused into the old wood – the work of destruction which tells stories as much as the creation of a thing.
Questions tumble forth unchecked: What are the tangled narratives strewn in all four corners of this park – this self contained world? Anger at people foreign to the space coming in to perform unwarranted? To give what is not wanted? I wonder what can be given and received? And how to show that, sometimes, a gift has no further purpose than to be given? And were all the chairs in fact destroyed, or had some been taken? While I did not take a thorough inventory, it did not seem like the wood pieces would add up to nine chairs. As questions abound, I realize that the dialogue has been nudged forward.