I Am the Designer of This Restaurant's Outdoor Seating Space, and This Is My Artist's Statement

Too real.

My work seeks to interrogate the parameters by which we define and demarcate physical space, exploring the fertile liminal zone between the falsely binary notions of "indoors" and "outdoors" we too often take for granted. I am compelled by asymptotes: What if you could get infinitely close to being indoors, while remaining, by some convoluted set of standards, outdoors? I am also intrigued by the extent to which perception can shape reality: What if all it took to be outdoors was a simple belief that you were? Finally, and perhaps most urgently: how many tables can I fit in here?

I am radically testing the limits of what it fundamentally means to be outdoors by erecting walls, putting a roof on top of those walls, and then insisting that it is still outdoors. This bold subversion of commonly accepted norms challenges and deconstructs "outdoorsness" as we know it. Moreover, by performing this act of deconstruction through a literal act of construction, I am illuminating the contradictory double nature of the mere act of existing. To this end, I search for the strange within the familiar, the indoors within the outdoors, the technically compliant within the clearly unsafe. [...]

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank the government for failing to provide this restaurant with the help it would need to simply stay closed through this pandemic. Their lack of support makes my art possible.

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16 Responses:

  1. Line Noise says:

    Is this person's name Wonko the Sane?

    • Karellen says:

      I think Wonko would get halfway through the third paragraph, tops, before sighing and concluding that the toothpick instructions were a much more concise (and therefore elegant) proof of the world's insanity.

      I reckon that the only way this could have been written by Wonko would be if he'd decided to use his worldview as a starting point for a Sokal-style hoax against the pretentiousness of online media.

  2. thielges says:

    As far as I can tell my city has no written standards on what constitutes “outdoor dining” and there’s plenty of these fully enclosed tents deployed. Surely the draftier structures are safer due to increased fresh air exchange. But in winter drafts conflict with comfort so there’s a perverse incentive to make customers more comfortable at the expense of safety.

    We’ve all seen people who are unclear on the pandemic concepts. They’re not anti maskers ignoring mandated, but cargo cultists taking token yet ineffective efforts.

    Those are the people you’ll find dining at these indoor-outdoor folleys smugly confident that they’re beating the virus while maintaining the standard of living they’re entitled to.

    “Waiter! Could you do something to cover up that hole? It’s too chilly. “

    • Jim says:

      I remember at some point the outdoor dining spaces were going to be monitored by industrial hygienists but it turns out they're not available because they've been installing HEPA HVAC upgrades at every essential spot that doesn't want to be a superspreader. Expertise can't be willed into existence, and our government has not yet instituted training programs to conscript inmates as HVAC apprentices.

    • Elusis says:

      They’re not anti maskers ignoring mandated, but cargo cultists taking token yet ineffective efforts.

      Thank god someone else has applied the term "cargo cult" to these people. I've been saying for months that all the surface wiping and disinfectant spraying and wrapping every single item in your takeout in separate plastic wrappers is cargo cult public health, when people are sitting indoors taking masks off to eat and drink, or worse yet, not required to wear them at all.

  3. Josh says:

    Similar: "NYC OUTDOOR DINING POLICY EXPLAINED!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNMJf_VMK8o

    • thielges says:

      Thanks for that video. It brought a smile to my face and helped fill the void of interacting with New Yorkers that quarantine has imposed.

      I love the New York attitude. They will whine and kvetch about everything. They have no filter and will say exactly what is on their mind. The funny thing is that they do this with absolutely no malice, they’re just frank. When a New York stranger tells you that you look ridiculous it isn’t a put down, they’re just trying to help. They make Californians look positively passive aggressive.

      • Dude says:

        I maintain to this day that the differences between NY and CA (by which I mean SF, 'cause fuck LA) are both simpler and more important than people give them credit.

        New York (both the state and the city) are defined by their aggression and violence, both as a benefit and a detriment. That's why stories of their origin are akin with Gangs of New York (the non-fiction book, not the film) and its most famous serial killer was incel David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz.

        CA (particularly SF) is defined by sex and affection, also to its benefit and detriment. That's why it's story is of the sex workers (and the gold-seekers who brought them here) in The Barbary Coast (by the same author of Gangs of New York) and our state's most famous "killer" is Charles Manson and his "family".

        ...or maybe I just get really tinfoil-hatty when I haven't had lunch yet?

        • thielges says:

          That reminds me of how mosh pit etiquette differs in the coasts. If you get knocked down to the floor in SF, hands reach down and you’re magically on your feet within a couple of seconds. In the same situation on the East Coast, you had better scramble to get back up quick or you’ll get a boot in the face.

      • Elusis says:

        A friend said to me the other day "New Yorkers are kind but not nice. West Coast folks are nice but not kind." Meaning, a New Yorker will tell you "you got spinach in your teeth" in a blunt, direct way which may be abrasive but which will save you from embarrassment later. West Coasters will avoid "hurting your feelings" by telling you about the spinach, thereby letting you show up to your date looking like an asshole. (And they'll snark about you to someone else.)

        This works even better when it comes to dealing with, oh, say, race.

        (I have never in my life lived in New York City. Grew up in the Midwest, closest I ever got was 4 years in Syracuse. It'll be 14 years on the West Coast this fall, and I have been called into a meeting with my boss twice in the past six months for coming off as "too direct" or "competitive." I don't fucking know.)

        • Dude says:

          That reminds me of that old George Carlin joke:

          In Los Angeles, everything is based on driving, even the killings. In New York, most people don't have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you have to take the subway to their house. And sometimes on the way, the train is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway. That's why there are so many subway murders; no one has a car.

  4. The Onion nails it says:

    The Onion nails it?

    Not sure how the waiter services the cover, though.

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