Everybody loved the matchsticks. They offered something and asked for nothing. Most people I shared them with perceived them as a game, or a fragment of a game. And yet they had a gravitas as well. Several friends said the matchsticks were too precious to actually burn. One asked for several sets to bring home as gifts for siblings who lived overseas. Another gave his set to a long-distance girlfriend, which began a daily ritual between the two of them. My own new love made comparisons to the I Ching. An online commentator asked if they were “someone’s excellent counselling technique” and another asked to have them mass-produced. Two close friends gaped at the fact that they weren’t mass-produced; at the time and effort evident in the making of each set. A friend in Santa Fe likened them to a “pocket Zozobra” — referring to his city’s traditional burning of a fifty-foot “Old Man Sorrow” effigy each autumn.
Although the matchsticks felt like a radical departure from the spatial work I had been creating and envisioning, I wanted to follow where they might lead. I began to consider other possibilities for The Parallaxis. Perhaps it was not a game of systems, but of objects. Or perhaps the systems needed objects. I didn’t know. But I decided to continue for a while with experiments that were more material than spatial, and I began by attempting to determine why the matchsticks were so evocative. What exactly did they have to say about that curious dualism between magic and real?
(Image used with permission.)