At “Tape Des Moines” by Numen/ For Use (2017), we took photos, we laid on the floor, and we talked. I asked my son why he thought it was made of tape. He said, “Because the artist wants us to think about it.” Why do I take my children to see art with me? Because I want to think about it.
My Oldest Son
He goes fast and counts every lap (5 + 11 + 1 = 17). He also checks the gallery attendant’s clicker every time he goes inside to see the total number of visitors. He is setting a “world record” for most times around this artwork and will not slow down to let his mom catch up to him. For all the numbers he can tell you about this artwork, how much time, how many rolls of tape, etc., he easily lets himself slip away into the light and space. He will immediately describe it as floating through the sky.
My Middle Child
After introducing himself to each of the gallery attendants and jumping up into the artwork, he freezes. He feels every vibration in the tape and hears every crinkle. After riding on his father’s back through the installation twice, he winces at the idea of crawling on his own. Pressed by his mom to overcome his fear, he comes out sharing his achievement with everyone he sees. His confidence never wavers, but he acutely senses the impact of each person inside the tape tunnel and focuses on managing the sounds and motion of the installation. He spends most of the time inside Tape Des Moines growling at his mom with his eyes because she is close enough to shake his area of the tape. And when it is time to go he is crying to go just one more time. However, the strong emotions do not keep him from noticing the artwork. “I didn’t expect all the branching,” he says, explaining how he sees the artwork like a tree.
He’s the one who compared the experience to climbing underground at Alice Aycock’s “A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels,” to walking on water at Christo’s “Floating Piers,” and to standing in a cloud at Eliasson’s “Fog Assembly.” We’ve done earth, water, sky… where next?!
He keeps trying to sneak up the stairs into the installation, and they keep telling him he is too small. Instead he shows us all how aesthetic sliding on polished floors can be.