2002 waiting room | Grand Central Station

waiting room

a proposal for an installation to occupy the waiting room

at Grand Central Station


the image

Within the two enclosed areas separated by the walking path though the waiting room stand multiples of familiar objects. There are suitcases, milky white, muted, covered with light layers of beeswax. They sit upright on the floor, alone or grouped in sequence. There are coats suspended at human level, hand sewn out of thick white wools, with rough edges and hanging threads.  There are uprooted trees suspended with their roots still attached, now exposed. The trees are muted white layered with coats of beeswax. The objects repeat themselves, some in groupings, some standing singularly. The visual impression seen through the expandable gates is of a separate place, muted white, things we recognize dispersed throughout the both spaces that appear to be on the verge of dematerializing, of not really being there. Both spaces mirroring each other, emanate a soft austerity, a simpleness that is perplexing. The mirroring remains elusive.

I would imagine it possible to walk through the space and not notice these objects. Perhaps several times they go unnoticed, but once they are seen they become like those old familiar people who are always in cities at the same places. Over the time of the installation, walking by them, yet again, on the daily commute, they speak more and more of comings and leavings, of things in the distance, familiar yet estranged.


the idea

Central to my proposal, waiting room, are the elusive themes of time passing and memory as associated with travel, of leaving behind or going to, of uprooting. The scattered groupings of objects are frozen, suspended in time, anticipating what seems already known. The installation is intended to be beautiful in it’s soft whiteness, on the edge of not really being there. In comparison to the steady stream and bustle of travelers it’s stillness is intended unsettling and haunting. But also somehow comforting.

Because the objects are familiar, we feel we know them, as if they are part of our history, as if they have something to do with our lives, we identify with them. They are the proof we seek, we know this experience although we may not have felt it until now. The waiting room is spacious and grand, there is an eloquence and solemnity attached to the installation within the space. It takes on the dignity of the place. Although simple in image there is an aura of transcendence.

This is a description of a proposal, within which three types of objects are clear, however the project will certainly develop over time and the number of identifiable objects may shift. What will remain the same is the impression I have described of the installation as a whole.