Storeroom 3205

mixed media, performance
dimensions: variable

This performance and installation took place in a storage closet at the Staller Center for the Arts and the State University of New York at Stonybrook, NY. I was granted access to a previously sealed and almost forgotten storeroom where hundreds of art educational objects and tools were stored. I tagged and numbered each object and added descriptive data about it to a lengthy text catalog. I then stacked all of the objects against the walls of the space and subsequently constructed a three paneled partition in front of the items, obscuring their view. A networked printer was scripted to print the catalog every day for a period of five days, and I performed the role of maintenance man every morning.

Storeroom 3205 was an installation/performance at the Staller Center for the Arts at SUNY Stonybrook in the spring of 1999. The piece itself was a long process of negotiations and actions relating to a storage room on the third floor of the Staller Center, where the Art, Music, and Theater Departments are housed. I was given a key to room 3205 after inquiring about its pair of double doors, the other side of which I had never seen. I had gained a solid reputation during my first year in graduate school as a neat freak and a fastidious broom pusher. I was told by my department chair that I could clean the old storeroom if I wanted to.

I wanted to. With my new key I entered the space and saw gold, everywhere the glint of gold.   I began at first to only move objects around in order to see what exactly the room contained. It was packed with art making equipment. So much, in fact that I had to climb over piles of things in order to get from one side of the room to the other. Word began to spread of my work, and I began to allow certain people to see my progress. The project was otherwise a secret.

People wanted to know what was going on, and I caught a few peeping through the cracks in thedoorways. For a few months I cataloged every object in the room. I took note of all sorts of details about each thing, and gave each object a number printed on two separate tags, in case one fell off, just to be safe. The data I collected was entered into a generic text document I created that could provide information about all of the things stored in the room. After the catalog was completed I stacked all of the stuff against three of the four walls in the room and constructed a new wall, effectively sealing off access to the object archive. I then set up an old Apple Imagewriter II printer on a table in the center of the space and spooled a text document assembled from individual forms that I filled out with each object's information. The printer ran for one week, printing thousands of pages of text, calling into existence the objects that were once again hidden, effectively only existing as a bureaucratic document. Contained in the printfile was coordinate data for each object that corresponded to a chalk grid snapped onto the wall. Each object's position could be located by four points that bordered its dimensions.

When I was finished with the construction and programming, I removed the doors to the space and started the crontab that spooled the printfile. I would come in every morning, go to a locker in the hallway, change into coveralls, polish my shoes, and perform maintenance tasks in the space. I   allowed the text document to fan out across the floor, but I kept the chalk lines clear, changed the printer ink, and reloaded box after box of paper. The performance of the piece lasted for one week.