Until I had children, I was under the impression that there were only a few different options when it came to floor coverings. There was carpeting, of course, which is what I and most of my friends grew up with (what a dying breed we are, those of us who can remember when chores included “raking” the shag carpet), wood, tile, and, for those who lived in castles or monasteries, stone. Sure, I knew that there were (and still are) entire stores dedicated to floor coverings, and that there are many more different and even exotic ways to cover your floor, but none of them ever seemed too different to me. I mean, with the possible exception of the hills and valleys that developed in shag carpeting (hence the rake), they all shared a certain, well, flatness. I mean, that’s kind of the point of a floor, isn’t it? To be flat?
Like I said, that’s what I used to think. And then I had children.
I now realize that the list of apparently suitable objects to use as floor coverings include such exotic items as plates, fast food wrappers, empty 2 liter Mountain Dew bottles, and, of course, clothes (both clean and dirty, with the most popular look being clean and dirty expertly woven together).
When they were younger this list would have also included items such as legos, puzzle pieces and crayons, but all of those items were banned from my house in the Great Toy Purge of 2009. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite yet found a way to ban food and clothing from the house (although the presence of Taco Bell bags and the aforementioned Mountain Dew bottles makes it obvious that my children have a very loose grasp of what is considered “food”), and so the daily “floor treatment” continues on unabated. What can I say? Apparently you can take away an artist’s palette one color art a time, and yet a true artist will still create art.
Because that’s what their floors must be. Art. Strange, uncomfortable, annoying art.
Here’s the thing, though: usually the artist at least will be able to tell the difference between their own creations and those of another artist. Put them in a room with one of their installations and twenty other similarly organized “piles of garbage” and the artist will be able to pick theirs out every time. This is because the artist, unlike other people people, can tell the difference between real chaos and the illusion of chaos that they have created. Which is what makes me think, sometimes, that what is happening in my children’s rooms is not exactly art.
Would a real artist rip apart one of their pieces simply because they needed to wear a white shirt? Or because their math homework was due? Would they destroy their creation for something as frivolous as the desire to wear matching shoes? Of course not: a real artist would wear one flip flop and one hiking boot and receive an “F” for their daily math score,before they would ever move one single piece of their “Pizza in Revolt” masterpiece. (Or was that “Revolting Pizza”? I can never remember.)
Unless, of course, the dismantling is part of the installation. Is that it? Are they carefully layering objects on their floors just so that they (and whoever they can rope into helping) can then pull it all apart like time lapse archeologists?
Dear God, I hadn’t considered that possibility. I was so caught up in the idea that they were simply slobs, or worse yet, artists, that I hadn’t considered that they might actually be something much, much worse.
No. It can’t be true. I’ll kill them myself before I see them grow up to become performance artists.