“‘Begin at the beginning,’ said the King, very gravely, ‘and go on until you come to the end: then stop.'”
–The King of Hearts, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Yesterday, the owner of the company that ran the project I was working for as a contractor pulled the plug on all of it, the company and the project. For the community, a few thousand artists, creatives, performers, thinkers, business owners, imaginers, game designers and generally freaky people, this was completely abrupt. It was for me too, and as far as I know, it was even for the person I work under. It would take too much energy to speculate about who knew of this sudden closure, but I can say with certainty not many did.
When I say “working,” I mean I was lucky enough to have a paid part-time gig as part of my being a member of the community. Being a full time student, it was enough for now. It was perfect, actually. Frankly, it was a dream come true. It was an underground house full of automated rooms, and an adventure that continued above-ground once the person exited the building. There was a mythology. There was a blurring of realities. There was claustrophobia, confusion, fear. There was the smell of palo santo and fresh ice cubes every time and a sweet, herbal spirit with smoky notes free to drink at your discretion. There were keys, and secret exchanges with bartenders, and coins that conjured creatures from other dimensions on the screen of an arcade game that called you a “tool” yet gave you exactly what you needed: after being alone for so long, a connection to others of like mind and heart. There was an actual rabbit hole. There were books that appeared blank at first sight but were actually full of information. And that was only the beginning.
The closure took us all by surprise. As a physical space it will cease to be active, but of course the community still exists. That will thrive, I have no doubt. By participating in this we were given the very training to carry it on. Still, despite all this, despite the rebirth and the rising from the ashes and the fact that we are a hydra, and that we are embodying exactly what the fable said we would do, I can’t help but mourn the physical space that I spent so much time in. I spent so much time down there, and would emerge after 9, 10 hours squinting and blind as a mole into the harsh sun and environment of the urban neighborhood. I learned so much about what humans will do when they are afraid, when they are taken completely out of their elements and into another world, one that they weren’t expecting in the least.
There have been many instances where I’ve found my foot is in my mouth in the new venue that we have moved to since the closure of our spaces, our website, our community. I’m not trying to be argumentative or even take a firm stand, but I’m trying to participate and it seems I’m doing it all wrong. I’m too attached to my position, to my knowledge, to my privilege.
Maybe I have no idea what this is at all. Maybe I just don’t get it, like the creator warned.