Chair facing wall
2 years ago, in Oslo, I walked past a window with a view into a basement flat. Peeking in, and down, I found a primitive domestic setting. 3 white plastic chairs around a white plastic table of the standard variety. The only other furnishings;; a basic IKEA staple kitchenette,
a filter coffee machine on the counter, two heathers, one of which a fan and the other,
I presume, oil, a set of industrial lighting, one lamp on a stand and another just beneath it, lying on the floor. The kind that painters use when they paint in a dark area, the kind that lights up the room renovated with a blinding brightness. The scene in itself would not have been wildly unfamiliar as a sparse environment, albeit off-centre, what made it seem so abruptly desolate was a 4th chair, separated and detached from the setting of the other 3. On the far end of the room, this other, garden-variety plastic chair, stood pushed up against the wall in reverse, as if reversed, with not its back but its seating area facing the wall, rendering it, as a chair, useless. As if in a state of protest, objecting the standard hierarchy of an open space. Although all unoccupied, there was a human quality to the retraction. People try and find a spot where their backs are protected, looking out toward the view or that which comes nearest to a view. It is a primitive instinct at work. This recess offered no great vistas. And the contrary position seemed to warrant a prefix to narrate the scene, if forced to narrow down, or add it up to a total as a form.
The arrangement felt as a removal, not the showing of a specific object as a singular, but as a whole, a negation, a contradiction.
At the table you could place cakes and coffees as lunchtime came around, there 3 people could sit, the site was set. But this 4th chair, divorced not only as a commodity but as a non-entity, de-funct, ex-cluded and set a-side, prefixed in place as a proof that this void of purpose is awkward. Such a simple but effective gesture of altering the value of a thing itself, the minimum effort on display. As a functional object;; a standard, but when rendered useless;; a subject in an A-typical condition. Not really a chair.