She was a lion sitting on her dad's shoulders.

They formed a totem of two heads, one large, one small as they walked down the street. Powerful with her lion-painted face, she stuck her tongue out at a man passing by.

The man had a fear of children and the sight of the lion painted girl sticking her tongue out caused him to panic and fall to the ground. The girl's father didn't realize that had he reached his hand out to help, the man wouldn't now have two permanent rods conjoined in his hip bone, and wouldn't have lapsed into a permanent hallucinatory state from which he'd never recover.

* Organs in the snow *

Were they his or did they belong to someone else?

Maybe they were donated by a motorcycle accident victim but were diseased, so they were thrown out.

But organs aren't supposed to be discarded like this. They're supposed to be contained in red biohazard boxes. How unceremonious. Why is this fragment of a person lying here wasting in the snow?

John Baldessari
Miracle Chips® (Proof)
Archival inkjet print
11 x 8.5 inches, 2008

He smelled mildew in the air and looked up. A kite was flying directly over his head. The kite was shaped like a potato chip and hovered like a blimp.

This is unsettling. Must be a mirage.

The chip was detached from any sort of line anchoring it to the ground and inside of it something was moving. It was the face of his wife and she was singing the Tennessee Waltz. That was the song she sang in the shower. He couldn't remember the last time he heard her voice but it was coming through the wind and pulsing magnetic vibrations inside his ear.

*

The Valley. Reseda High. 1994. Hot asphalt glued the back of his blue shirt to the ground.

“Hey! Dreamer!” Its Coach Kelly, “Where's your uniform, Smurfette?”

“I don't know.”

“I hope you enjoy repeating 10th grade. One more missed-uniform and you're out.”

“Ok.”

He left his uniform at home on purpose. The morning acid tab was timed perfectly so that he could trip hard during PE today. He leaned against the asphalt and let it drink his spine.

BOOM.

Michael G. Bauer
It is We and It is Not We
4” x 6” Ink on paper, 2011

Dancing, Singing.

A billowing drill team of lines performs vaudeville numbers, kicking their legs with military precision into marching band formations on the inner surface of his eyelids.

Eyelids.

A dividing membrane.

On one side, brain and on the other, sky.

Test the theory.

Open ....

... and....

YES!!!!!

The Rockettes of lines are still there when his eyes peel open.

But peeling, peeling, his eyelids won't stop peeling back. Whats happening? They don't stop peeling back until they form a skin-hoodie around his head.

*

He is unaware that the potato chip kite has descended from the sky and is now hovering four inches above his face. He doesn't feel it when it suctions down on him, fitting itself around his cheekbones and chin.

The chip is now a mask and it looks very different on the other side.

Mamiko Otsubo
p. 207 (Miffy Orange)
acrylic, book pages, linen bookcover
9" x 11" x 1.5"unframed, 2010

He feels something sharp suddenly causing intense pain in several places on his body. With the mask on he doesn't realize he's attracted the attention of a polar bear.

The bear tears into his trunk, pulling out his liver, kidney, spleen, tongue and spine. They burst out like candy from a pinăta and land softly in gentle puffs in the snow. A delicate white blur marks each organ's crash landing.

Don't be afraid. Its just a mask. (Children are evil) Its not an actual lion. Its just painted on. (Their parents become evil the moment they decide to have them) She's sticking her tongue out at you. (Children will force you up against a wall and make you do things you don't want to do)

A vague religious feeling crept up - he knew the feeling from somewhere but couldn't attach it to any source, any one hymn or prayer but he was sure that it was religion sitting on top of his chest and giving him CPR right now. Religion was giving him the strength he needed to fight off the polar bear dismantling his body.

Nancy de Holl
Untitled
12" x 16" x 1.5"
oil on panel, 2011

After the bear was gone, he reached his hands into the snow, feeling for the pieces of his anatomy that had been removed.

He found the organs one at a time and slowly began to guide them into fur-lined pockets that surrounded his body. Cut-out negative spaces had been specially formed, like the moldings that electronics come encased in. Someone had manufactured these cavities for his pancreas, his spine and his tongue.

The engineering of these empty shapes must have been planned for a long time.

Dan Asher
Birds
Video 2 minutes, 2010

Just before death he goes back there, and spends a day on the beach with one of his favorite people in the world.

Seagulls circle overhead just for him and for the future spectators who will see wings caught mid flight inside his digital camera. A sequence of stills turn a rainy day into a mini universe of stop motion energy.

Files transferred from the hospital bed and sequenced together months later bring the birds to life.

Being alive is just one kind of existence.

*

There are no valley trash here. This is Woodside, Queens and people are wearing sweatpants.

The Korean man sits with his sign that says, “Cleanse The Gods Soul Slave.” He's a veteran and wears a uniform from some unknown war.

Samuel White with Andrew Tonkery
We Should Be You: A Study for Physical Interpretation
Inkjet Print, 8” x 10”, 2011

He doesn't ask for anything with his sign. No money, no conversation. No pity. Its just a sign. Read it.

CleaNse THE GodS SOuL SLAVE

“Hey Wake up, dreamer! This is Woodside. This isn't the valley! Wake up!”

Tim Dowse
Dropping the Elbow
Pine, Enamel, Steel, and Plastic
85"x40"x36,” 2011

“Wake UP!!!!! You're not in high school anymore. You're not tripping !!!”

“But why is there a mobile hanging over my head?”

“Its Mistletoe”

“What?”

“You don't have to lie to me. I'm not coach Kelly!”

I was dancing with my darling to the Tennessee Waltz when an old friend I happened to see...

“You love these lines more than you love me!”

I introduced him to my darling and while they were dancing, my friend stole my Sweetheart from me.

“Admit it! You do!”

“I don't know what you're talking about...what lines?”

( You are lying and you know it. You see them right now and you do love the lines more than you love her. And the lines are dancing in your eyelids. They will be the last thing you see before you die- and you are dying,Dreamer. )

Jason Lazarus
Airplant, Snowstorm (April 5, 2009)
16x20
Archival inkjet, 2009

Hung for good luck and glowing like an alien plant beamed into his house from outer space, the dangling ornament was his one solace. A mutant mix of materials that were never supposed to be hybridized allowed him to forget about the bad cells inside his body.

This disease is nothing but an alien polymer exploding in my bloodstream. My cancer is gluttonous, eating my soft tissue like its a bucket of strawberry ice cream.

Ellie Ga
Map of the World #6,
Digital video, 4 min
2010

Blood in his eyes caused a greying in all directions. Grainy footage that he had taken on the expedition.

He didn't really film it. He lived it, but he thought he filmed it. But either way, it existed now on his computer. His digital eye was completely in synch with his lived experience.

The arctic was all there on the hard drive. And his cells were still in the arctic. His cells were permanently linked to code.

A dog is standing on the ice pack's edge. The digital footage bleeds into and out of his eyes.

This particular scene was taken on the night before he split off from the group.

Why did he need to split off? He wanted to study the dogs. They were the only ones that had a clue. He had no interest in humans anymore.

Water.

I want Water.

Now.

Chlorine! The greatest smell in the world. All things are destroyed and reborn in fluorescent blue chlorine water. Delicious swells of men are fighting for the ball.

Michael Bilsborough
Antepiston
Ink, colored lead, and fishing line
on layered drafting film
36”x36”, 2011

Testosterone echoes off the walls and into his ears. It clenches his dick in the water. He feels it, coming from all directions and from the muscles and rubber balls ponging and splashing... pong-splash-pong-splash-pong!

Floating in chlorine. The tiled ceiling smiling at him. He realizes that someone has impaled him. From his sphincter to the top of his head- he is impaled.

He's attached like a bead on necklace to a line of unbreakable thread. Suddenly he is yanked out of the water in one smooth, fast pull. Breaking through the tiled ceiling he is now suspended in the air, like a kite.

Laleh Khorramian
Liuto Goli
Digital animation
5:36 min,
2010

He stares down at the mound of earth where all of his organs are carefully embedded into pockets of snow. He wonders if he has become the face in the potato chip.

Closing his eyes he begins to drift back down into the silent freezing world. It opens just enough to suck his body into tunnel that goes straight down.

Jen Denike
Bird in Space (Magick)
Crystals mined by the artist, mirror, steel.
127 x 33 cm, 2010

He stares up as he descends further and further down the white hole that swallowed him. A glimmer of light refracts off a sculpture of some sort. Its a crystal sitting on a table. The table has been placed directly above the hole.

This crystal is my gravestone.

A voice speaks directly into his body. No words, no sounds, just the sense of internal communication with the grains of ice swallowing him.

As above so below.

Sung to the tune of a children's song he forgot many years ago.

My snow grave regenerates itself. As soon as it has completed its decomposition of life, a new grave forms.

The snow feels warm. His heart is now completely embedded in the crystalized water. The snow will suck in every person he knows, and every object he has ever loved.

The hollow obliterating whiteness sucks the last shadow of his infected organs into its stomach until he is completely dissolved. The crystal aims its powers straight down.


CRYSTAL

I have one more message to take with you before you leave.


Pause.

ME

What is it?


CRYSTAL

The earth is not meant for living things. Its just a surface to absorb the sun.