Apartment Collage

By Mike Corrao

All of the tenants woke up at once. The sun glided across the horizon like dawn or armageddon. Light pouring from each window, flooding through every gate. Lunging across the face, penetrating the eye slit. Something dense and loud shook the building. Colliding with the top floor, a meteor or a missile.

At its incipit, a collective of ambitious architects had organized the building into a maze of studio apartments. Rooms connected by disjointed hallways and corridors, rendering each space partially communal, where the path to the elevator or the lobby or the balcony was taken through neighboring apartments. The vocabulary of the collective drawing references from Deleuze and Borges. They liken their creation to the Library of Babel. Tenants are nourished by the processes of their habitat. Entering the homes of strangers becomes familiar / common. Neighbors become apparitions, distant and obfuscated bodies moving through doors and hallways.

Performance artists recreate their paths, writers and filmmakers document their encounters. The population shifts into a state of becoming. Simultaneously the subject and object of their fascination. Themselves the same strangers that they see at the ends of hallways and looking out windows. Tenants become suspicious of one another. Pursuing and avoiding. Each a part of the larger apparatus of the building. Because of this, when something loud and dense crashes into the building, into the top floor, there is no investigation.

 

Tenants assemble their theories about the loud crashing of the top floor, “It was without cause or purpose.” … “The installation of a new floor.” … “An extension of the landlord’s will.” … “We are without overseer.” … “There are no more consequences.” … “The visitation of a talented artist.” … “One that we have, as a group, defined as being consistent in their aesthetic and praxis.” … “The performance of their ritual.” … “Equating the building to a body.” … “Each of us a cell.” … “Every cluster of rooms an organ.” … “Each floor a system.” … “It is a break or malfunction in the veins connecting systems.” … “Blood cannot travel.” … “The collective has departed.” … “They have left us without an understanding of our environment.” … “Space is of a poetic nature, it cannot be understood haptically.” … “This is nonsense.” … “And yet it afflicts us.” … “Or we are afflicted with a hypochondriac perception of ourselves.” … “Or there is no difference.” … “Or there was no sound at all.” … “But this is not true.” … “Something has happened.”

 

Red light illuminates windowless hallways. Fragmented pathways connecting barren or cramped studios. Silhouettes pass one another, clinging to the edges of the wall. Circumnavigating other bodies. The floors creak at the hint of movement. Tampered wallpaper absorbs pockets of light. Someone says that they have been waking up in the middle of the night, seeing images of their mother. The void reconstructs vague memories of her complexion. It feels as if certain pathways have begun to disappear, they say, certain doors aren’t where I remember. Some hallways don’t lead to where they used to.

A tenant who pretends to associate with the collective of ambitious architects, lists the semiotic qualities of the hallway. Speculates why the lights are red, why people won’t talk to one another, why the floor creaks so much. The neighbor who saw their mother in the middle of the night says that symbols must be placed, they do not happen naturally, or as the byproduct of a degradation. If there is a signifier being signified, in this circumstance, it is the aesthetic elements of Buñuel’s Exterminating Angel, in which none of us can bear to leave, but there is no reason we should stay.

Someone says that Buñuel might live here, but it is not true. Another tenant says that this could not be true, it would be anachronistic. The layout of the floor changes. Since the sound of the initial impact, the building has felt much more lively. As if awoken. Landlines are severed by tectonic shifts. Wires stretch and unthread. Fires start between walls. Red light crawls into the connecting studios, engulfing the door frame and absorbing the natural fill.

 

One of the tenants takes on the facade of a performance artist. They perform the movements of the building. When they flex their leg, the floor shakes. When they extend their bicep, the walls bend. When they tense their neck, the ceiling explodes in noise and static.

 

Further hysterias begin to develop. Each tenant finding their own methods of converting paranoia into a tactile art. The collective of ambitious architects respond cryptically by writing a map of the text, in which each floor’s changing shape is dynamically rendered. But regardless of this, there are no departures and no changes to the migration of the tenants.

 

apt. no. 4006 - apt. no. 9096 - apt. no. 3619 - apt. no. 2299 - apt. no. 3584 - apt. no. 1345 - apt. no. 3436 - apt. no. 4370 - apt. no. 3813 - apt. no. 2786 - apt. no. 4735 - apt. no. 8562 - apt. no. 7263 - apt. no. 8253 - apt. no. 5782 - apt. no. 1702 - apt. no. 5257 - apt. no. 4474 - apt. no. 826 - apt. no. 4322 - apt. no. 1915 - apt. no. 1765 - apt. no. 8850 - apt. no. 1924 - apt. no. 7211 - apt. no. 1160 - apt. no. 197 - apt. no. 6382 - apt. no. 7860 - apt. no. 5286 - apt. no. 7792 - apt. no. 7394 - apt. no. 6277 - apt. no. 1158 - apt. no. 7493 - apt. no. 9853 - apt. no. 5196 - apt. no. 9277 - apt. no. 2524 - apt. no. 6494 - apt. no. 5820 - apt. no. 6129 - apt. no. 914 - apt. no. 7276 - apt. no. 2714

apt. no. 8858 - apt. no.2659 - apt. no. 4276 - apt. no. 2535 - apt. no. 2851 - apt. no. 2888 - apt. no. 828 - apt. no. 2031 - apt. no. 7303 - apt. no. 3046 - apt. no. 4210 - apt. no. 2325 - apt. no.5803 - apt. no. 9826 - apt. no. 3676 - apt. no. 2103 - apt. no. 2382 - apt. no. 3282 - apt. no. 2720 - apt. no. 1513 - apt. no. 3593 - apt. no. 8575 - apt. no. 8965 - apt. no.6969 - apt. no. 6867 - apt. no. 292 - apt. no. 108 - apt. no. 1408 - apt. no. 1631 - apt. no. 5327 - apt. no. 7254 - apt. no. 2643 - apt. no. 1188 - apt. no. 5182 - apt. no.4163 - apt. no. 9021 - apt. no. 6777 - apt. no. 8203 - apt. no. 2747 - apt. no. 9892 - apt. no. 1915 - apt. no. 1668 - apt. no. 3581 - apt. no. 7846 - apt. no. 4432

apt. no. 4006 - apt. no. 9096 - apt. no. 3619 - apt. no. 2299 - apt. no. 3584 - apt. no. 1345 - apt. no. 3436 - apt. no. 4370 - apt. no. 3813 - apt. no. 2786 - apt. no. 4735 - apt. no. 8562 - apt. no. 7263 - apt. no. 8253 - apt. no. 5782 - apt. no. 1702 - apt. no. 5257 - apt. no. 4474 - apt. no. 826 - apt. no. 4322 - apt. no. 1915 - apt. no. 1765 - apt. no. 8850 - apt. no. 1924 - apt. no. 7211 - apt. no. 1160 - apt. no. 197 - apt. no. 6382 - apt. no. 7860 - apt. no. 5286 - apt. no. 7792 - apt. no. 7394 - apt. no. 6277 - apt. no. 1158 - apt. no. 7493 - apt. no. 9853 - apt. no. 5196 - apt. no. 9277 - apt. no. 2524 - apt. no. 6494 - apt. no. 5820 - apt. no. 6129 - apt. no. 914 - apt. no. 7276 - apt. no. 2714

Mike Corrao is the author of two novels, Man, Oh Man (Orson's Publishing) and Gut Text (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, Two Novels (Orson's Publishing); two plays, Smut-Maker (Inside the Castle) and AndromedUSA (Forthcoming - Plays Inverse); and two chapbooks, Avian Funeral March (Self-Fuck) and Spelunker (Schism - Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. His work often explores the haptic, architectural, and organismal qualities of the text-object. He lives in Minneapolis.