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Missile Pillow Pin

by Meghan Moe Beitiks

Adam Gruba asks for volunteers. He is wearing a bright orange space suit, but his question is very direct, not otherwordly. It’s unclear what folks will be enlisted to do, and so there is some hesitation. Then four people come forward. Pause. They re-emerge from the rear of the gallery with a procession of objects, which Gruba refers to as “the missile.” It’s a giant bamboo pole with a black cushioned Q-tip top, another black pillow, and an aluminum ladder. We follow the procession down the street.

In front of a black wall sushi shop, Adam climbs up the ladder and pins himself to the wall with the pillow and Q-tip. He scooches and adjusts. He wiggles his legs and smooshes the pillow. He looks upward, as if to better get a sense of his placement against the wall, on the street, in the sky. He nods, and one of the volunteers removes the ladder. His body sags with the removal of this support, and there his is: an orange astronaut against a black wall, pinned with a bamboo stick and some squishy pillows.

Adam Gruba RP15 Michael Lee Bridges

He is never quite still. He constantly adjust himself in relation to the pillows, the wall. He is further straightening his legs, stabilizing his back, mushing the pillows in minor dialogue. He looks up. As an astronaut-tableau, he is not an impaled icon of civilization. He is a dude in dialogue with a big stick and a wall, wearing a brightly contrasting orange suit. He looks up. Hang his arms. Squishes pillows.

He looks down. In one swift moment he knocks the stick away and leap-falls to the ground, landing on his feet and fall-lying down next to the fallen spear. Takes a moment, becomes still, one piece of detritus with the other objects, suddenly looks very alien. Lies there. More Martian Chronicles than Moon Landing. Suddenly a casualty of another world.

Stands up. Adam has landed. The piece is over.

photo by Michael Lee Bridges
Meghan Moe Beitiks is an artist and researcher working with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She received her BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MFA in Performance Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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