Relax Shadeans - 2018

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Relax Shadeans
Riley O’Neill

DEPART Foundation
3822 Cross Creek Rd, Suite 3844
Malibu, CA 90265

“I am a sea-gull. No, that’s not it… Do you remember you shot a sea-gull? A man came by chance, saw it and, just to pass the time, destroyed it… A subject for a short story… That’s not it, though.” -Nina to Treplev from The Sea Gull by Anton Chekov

When a wasp is trapped in sap, how will she know that she’ll be sold in a gas station off the highway to Truth-or-Consequences?

The stage is set and the house is filled with guests and anticipation. It is the debut of a young playwright’s first production and his name has been plastered across tabloids for the past month. He was caught up in the a drug deal gone bad and his girlfriend, the daughter of a shipping tycoon, fell victim to a stray bullet. The lights go down and a thumping bass line is coerced out of a standup bass that has been lugged up and down the five-story walk up five too many times. Hopefully the trumpet player hits her first note on time, the playwright thinks, as the curtain slowly pulls apart and he takes another sip of his rye.

This little piece of amber, encapsulating a large female wasp, was a great keepsake for his sad trip across the state. OSP was the cause of grief, there was no blame to be thrown. A lamentful son felt a moment of relief as he contemplated the condition of constant stasis that captured the wasp.

In these objects there was motion, but it seems to have stalled or slowly evaporated on a hot and smoggy day. Fingerprints of an operator are smeared about chaotically, but he has vanished, tossed in le sabot perhaps. The detail and construction reveal a logic that can be aligned with a subway map, how the second-hand store owner particularly stacks each belonging inside every night, and the staccato of dog’s wagging docked tail. The relationships between the works are not quite forensic because there are intentional material and formal conversations that aren’t as hasty as the remnants of a crime scene. Connotations of “the West” are sprinkled throughout the works which may reflect Riley O’Neill’s internal struggle with edited histories of settler colonization, attachment to place, and masculinity. In Relax Shadeans, the stage is set, the lights are lit, and the band plays, but where have all the characters gone?

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