A large, well-lit, white-walled room. You walk to a red line painted on the floor.
An eight-by-eight-foot wooden box, twelve inches deep, sits in the center of the room.
Gazing upward, you notice an enormous cutout hole, nearly the size of the ceiling itself. Clouds drift, far, fary away. A bright black bird darts by.
Fortunately the weather is nice. Since this installation opened, the weather has been dry and mild.
The box is filled with eight inches of rich, dark soil. You reach your hand toward the soil. Your hand comes back wet. The soil looks fecund, nearly obscenely so.
You peer into the box and notice three human-size lumps. These are human beings, you think, lying under the soil. You look closer, assume that the lumps are static. But you notice the figuresbarely perceptibly, as if in muted conversationgesturing toward each other. One head nods gently toward another head; as if in a dream a mouth moves. The soil, though moist, is caked tightly, securing the figures snugly in a home of brown.
You lean in. The words are impossible. The words are muffled (of course!) but that's not the problem. You hear whole words, sentences, exclamations. Guttural sounds, lyric sounds, sounds of crying and sounds of ardor from dark currents in soil.
And if it were to rain? To where would the conversation be swept?
Above, the sun dips behind clouds and a brief shadow of abeyance sweeps gracefully across the three figures. You stand and stare, listening to their conversation, a conversation you swear latertearing the program into tiny stripsnever occurred. You exit the instillation. You feel you have entered a different world.
For days afterward, you speak in a strange tongue of loam and beetle, darkness and cake, root and worm.