Nora Mayer
→ BFA FD 2021

The following piece developed out of a Wintersession studio-seminar, Language in the Studio, in which students were encouraged to work with writing and making as both generative process and formal outcome. The course was proposed and taught by v.1 editor Mays Albaik (MFA GL 19).

In the landfill of your mental archives is a folder titled (HOME). Your brain is rendered defunct by a glitch that repeats the same hour. It’s a mass of days copied and pasted


and over,

and over again,

a static congestion within your neural circuitry. Your memory is swarmed by green and white and stainless-steel pixels. LED displays blink in a robotic rhythm of neon font:


You remember a long, rambling narrative written in Javascript and punctuated by sleek, modern home appliances.

Home is solitary confinement in virtual reality.

You look around the room you’ve spent most of your life in and see a sensory deprivation tank with a bed and a dresser. You’re paralyzed by indifference while yellow sunlight leaks through the cracks of your closed blinds, meshing with a rectangle of scrolling blue light. Day and night fuse together into an ambiguous crimson haze. Your eardrums vibrate with high frequency blips and dings echoing at 3:00 AM, 3:02 AM. A sonar interruption of black atmospheric nothingness.

You can hear every detail of today’s news on the flatscreen of the remodeled home next door. Whooshes of skateboard wheels on hot pavement and the frothy slobber of a Doberman contaminate your sterile silence; they seep underneath the front door like an amalgamation of toxic vapors:


Outside, the corners of flat concrete sidewalks are marked with green and white and steel street signs. The four-way intersection is usually mute and unmoving except for the 7AM rumble of Cadillacs cruising through purple fog. They roll out, lines of Bluetooth headsets and voice- command technology, journeying to prismatic boxes stacked up to the clouds.

Soft black circles feather your vision as your pupils shrink down to tiny holes, temporarily limiting your internal visual processors. Your body is still but the beige blur of cookie-cutter facades says you’re in transit. The windshield catches rolling fragments of transparent stock photographs in its reflection, reaffirming your only notion of what trees and air and houses look like.

—The syntax of infrastructural signage tells you that you’ve reached civilization.
—A labyrinth of highways and exits feeds into a grey desert of white-gridded parking spaces.
—Repeating sequences of cafes and supermarkets and auto repair shops send waves of relief through your body.
—Motion sensors split steel and glass panels to grant you entry.
—Aisles of multicolor electrons bounce on plastic packaging.
—The groans of industrial freezers leak cold air onto your skin.
—Long fluorescent light bulbs beat down onto your throbbing angler fish eyes.
—Rings of red lasers scatter across the tiled floor, reading cryptic lines of black and white.

You return through the blur of air and trees and houses. Wrinkled pleather that creaks at every shift has absorbed you back into its surface. Upholstery is spilling from a tear on one armrest, growing out like fuzzy mold. Your skin looks jaundiced under the orange glowing rectangle projecting from the microwave. You watch through the window as heat floods your pre-made, plastic-wrapped, GMO-filled space food. It’s 4:00 PM and the sun won’t set for five hours. This is irrelevant when the shades are down and you’re living in a self-fabricated ecosystem. Tomorrow will look the same as yesterday and the day after tomorrow and today. 

Nora Mayer is fueled by vending machine snacks to make furniture and write words.