Suffering For Art

on March 8, 2010 in Science Fiction

So many times in his long trek across the desert, he’d allowed himself to be fooled, allowed his mind to play tricks on him. He’d thought he’d heard voices on the wind, seen people moving in the blowing sand. Once the water started to run low he began seeing it everywhere.

On the day it ran out and he spotted the tall silhouettes of the palm trees in the distance, he simply silently adjusted his course towards them but he did not alter his pace. He did not think “Ah, there is water there.” It was simply as good a direction as any.

It was only when he got closer, close enough to see the green of the leaves that he allowed himself to feel a flicker of hope, a flicker that was kindled into a flame by the sight of sunlight glinting off a silvery surface as he came over a high hill.

He didn’t have it within him to break into a run by that point, but the glorious sight gave him a jolt of energy and determination that kept him on his feet, kept him moving forward. It was there, it was real. He had not fooled himself.

A refreshing breeze sprang up as he approached the oasis, and he smiled a smile that froze and then faded. The fronds of the trees did not stir. There was no scent of wet earth or vegetation or anything alive, just the dust of the desert carried on the wind. He looked up at the greenery and saw that it was blocky, solid. The trunks looked waxy or plasticine. He stepped forward, cautious now… an artificial oasis was unexpected, but it might still save him. If someone had taken the time to decorate this patch of desolation, they might still be in residence. If not, they’d probably have built their tiny paradise around actual water.

That hope was dashed when he passed under the resin boughs of the artificial trees and found a “lake” of hard plastic with a rippled surface. A wooden post stood near the edge of it. It bore a placard. He stepped up to it and read it, his parched lips moving silently as he drank in the words:

La Mirage (R. Pescatero, 2017) – This outdoor installation piece, created during the artist’s prolific “asshole phase”, is intended to call to mind images of a lush desert oasis, an island of life in the midst of the most inhospitable terrain. The piece calls to mind the fleeting and transient nature of hope by luring travelers in with an illusory promise of sustenance and succor. Like the artist’s related works, Rotating Signpost (2015) and his ambitious Retreating Rescue Lights (2022), La Mirage has been known to invoke feelings of frustration, desperation, and even despair in viewers.

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6 Responses to “Suffering For Art”

  1. Brenda says:

    Oooh… harsh.

    My first thought was that it was one of those post-apocolyptic sttings, where it’s a remnant of civilization – and so it might be, but in this case it’s specifically designed to have this effect!

    Maybe the artist put a fountain over the next hill, with a sign that says “Just kidding!”?

    Just a note about this site – coming here from the new ToMU really emphasizes how much harder on the eyes this *gray* text is. I know you don’t want to make them all the same, but you might consider adjusting it somewhat, while you’re at it…

  2. Brenda says:

    BTW, that was supposed to be “settings”. Post-apocolyptic settings.


  3. Ma'we says:

    I wonder how many death treats and assassination attempts that artist gets every year.

  4. Ma'we says:

    Threats, not treats. Man…

  5. d. says:

    hahaha…death treats! yum!

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