Jan Kaps, Köln
artists & participants
Based on the sculpture "Untitled", Nik Gelormino / Keegan Monaghan 2009 - The artists involved in this show were asked to play along.
Have you ever seen a thing which so effortlessly floats the border between modern / primitive? It's pure solution, and true initiative. A stubbornly functional form with no ego to reveal. It doesn't ask you for anything or require a reference. All the decisions are out in the open, radiating generosity. It's humble and light as the air which carries the smoke through it. These two items came together by chance with no expectation for the potential of their future relationship, and they share no associations which would predetermine the role they would come to play as a tool - a perfect marriage. Remember, we can't choose our friends.
I had read somewhere that the final launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle would take place in a month or two. I hurriedly scoped out ticket prices from New York and set about convincing my friend that we should witness this historic event in person. It didn’t take much convincing and soon a month or two had passed and we were flying into Orlando Florida. We loaded the trunk of our rental car with the meager supplies we had carried in our backpacks and headed towards a campground at Satellite Beach.
The campground was idyllic, quietly resting beneath a grove of coconut palms on the water. I can remember hearing the breeze blowing through the palms as it made its way to our campsite. Camping in a tropical location meant we didn’t need to worry about being cold at night and so our decision to not bring a tent or sleeping bags began to feel more reasonable than careless. Eventually a camp ranger made his way to our site and with a few questions and a look around was able to gauge the severity of our mission. He decided that since we would only be in town long enough to watch the shuttle launch he could overlook a city law forbidding people from sleeping in public without a tent. His leniency was tinged with pity and confusion.
I can recall sleeping surprisingly well the night before the launch. I chose the picnic table as my bed. A beach towel was my comforter. My friend slept in the front seat of the rental car and swatted mosquitos throughout the night.
The launch itself was fairly unimpressive. Perhaps our campsite was too far away. Perhaps we had built up the event in our heads. That morning we enjoyed a breakfast of orange juice and vodka and carried the festivities into lunch as we waited for blast off. Sometime during this drunken lull we set out to build a pipe from which to smoke weed purchased at a bar in town. For some reason the best option we could find was a small walnut shell. It was shaped somewhat like a bowl and in my head I kept conflating its origin with the coconut palms all around me. Oddly enough I had a small section of brass tubing in my backpack and we kinked it and figured we should use it as the mouthpiece.
The only thing left to do was to connect the tubing to the walnut shell. This proved difficult as we had no way to drill a hole in the shell. Suddenly I pulled up my flip-flop and produced a small screw that had been lodged in the sole for days since I’d left New York. Using the screw we managed to bore out a big enough section to fit the tubing to the shell.
We enjoyed a celebratory smoke and shortly thereafter I realized I had had a few too many drinks. I remember a thin line of smoke moving away from the earth as it disappeared a few seconds later into the thick tropical clouds. The world around me began to spin and after spending time in the camp bathroom I awoke on top of my picnic table bed and replayed the days events. I wondered if I had missed the launch and felt confused by the sudden drop from anticipation to disillusionment.