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Screaming Alley smelled like fresh laundry: an entry on Tran’s A Way to Go

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Screaming Alley smelled like fresh laundry: an entry on Tran’s A Way to Go

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Hello dear CAG Blog readers,

My name is Kevin Day. I am one of the new curatorial interns who just joined the Contemporary Art Gallery this month. Today I had the privilege of taking Ron Tran’s A Way to Go, an off-site project involving a guided tour of the artist’s earlier experience of walking through the downtown area. The following are some thoughts I had while taking the tour.

As I came to Emery Barnes Park and listened to the interview with the caretaker of the fountain, there was an uncanny doubling as I was confronted with the feeling that the caretaker was right there talking beside me, yet concurrently, with the realization that he is at that very moment, elsewhere, operating the fountain’s machinery.

At numerous times, I made mental notes to myself that what the artist saw and experienced contrasted with what I was experiencing, such as the realization that the section between Richards and Seymour at Drake was closed off today for construction, relieving myself of the dread and danger of crossing the street that was most likely faced by Tran. Other difference included the fact that “Screaming Alley,” for me, exuded not so much screaming as its most evident trait but a strong waft of fresh laundry, and how in that same alley I did not find five dollars like Tran did but instead a red suitcase.

At Davie and Red Scarf Alley where the artist directed us towards the Found Balloon, I followed Tran’s exact point of view and movements as I watched the video of the balloon traversing the streets.

A constant sentiment that occurred to me throughout the walk was how the two distinct times/experiences (between the artist’s idiosyncratic journey and my own) forcefully merge together, simultaneously and paradoxically, even as their distinction is made evident.

The tour came to an end with an accompanying song, highlighting the common contemporary condition of not just looking at one’s phone all the time (as made evident and necessary throughout the tour), but listening to music everywhere as well, giving the semblance of having a perpetual personal soundtrack.

Here is an audio sample of A Way to Go.

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