We are in another condominium. This week it’s The Lake Placid Club Lodges in the Adirondacks, in New York state. We came here to make music and to be away from the construction site that popped up next to our apartment in New York. On Saturday afternoon when we first walked in here the space felt spooky in its generic emptiness. When staying in these types of places we always try to find the ones that have an element of 1980’s grooviness to them to help us keep up our vibe; we picked this one for its massive stone fireplace in the living room and the sauna in the ground floor bathroom. The unit was renovated a few years ago though, in the style of “contemporary mom” and this is probably ideal for the people who generally stay in timeshare condominiums but to us it feels soulless. I’m aware that it’s petty to be rattled by an upholstery fabric, but the prospect of spending a whole week here gave me the feeling of walking into a void. Do I keep existing as myself if nothing in my surroundings is recognizable to me? The walls of the kitchen are a freshly painted baby poo orange. I’m holding on.
One of the first things I did here was to begin writing a review of the resort for the website Trip Advisor. I mentally grabbed the space, shrank my conception of it into a few paragraphs of judgement and placed them into a tidy little square of internet that I could revisit whenever I liked. I got the power to potentially define the space for others, so that they could see it in their minds before they had ever actually seen it. People who read my review will see the picture I drew for them. My experience of time and space is easier to deal with as bits and illusions than as a big empty room yawning at me in multiple dimensions.
The weirdness of the space only really lasted for about the first eight hours that we were in it, though, and to be honest I sort of missed the feeling once it was gone. We spent our first evening in the condo moving the furniture around and setting up our audio gear. Melissa turned on a TV station that plays music from the 1970’s and shows still images of the musicians. The music with pictures made me feel even more disoriented than I might have felt without it on, I guess because radio on the TV is unfamiliar: I didn’t know exactly where that station was taking me. Also the musicians the station played were artists from the 70’s who made songs you may have heard but whose names you don’t remember. Seals and Croft? If she had put on HGTV or the show “Naked And Afraid” or something else we’ve watched a lot of then I would have known more precisely where we were, in which imaginary location. We’d virtually be looking at houses we will never actually visit and thinking about the possibilities of what could be done to them, or we’d pretend be with naked people in the jungle somewhere trying to find clean water and abstractly bickering over gender roles. With the music playing on the TV we were just here, inside of a condominium in a town we know nothing about and which we hadn’t yet colonized as our own. The question of what are we doing here and what is the point hung all raw and loud around us.
Looming questions are obscured by familiarity. That’s what furniture is for. Back home in New York, or in another place containing a lot of objects that I have already decided I like, I can’t hear the resounding “what the fuck is going on seriously what is this all for?” very clearly. I heard it here in this unfamiliar structure; it scared me a little and then we quickly filled the rooms up with ourselves, with the feeling of ourselves. It is in fact a triumph that we transformed the quality of the space so quickly, I’ve withered in the emptiness for days in the past and it isn’t a glamorous philosophical poise. I watch too much television and obsess over how I could change my surroundings to make them, in my opinion, better. And I suppose what we did was change this space, rapidly, by throwing our sounds out into it. 900 square feet of sterile holiday real estate asked us what is the fucking point and we answered as best we could with a handful of wild vibrations aimed in the direction of joy, the closest thing to a point we’ve figured out so far.