Waiting Piece

by | Sep 26, 2018 | Artwork #1: Score, Projects



Buy ice cream. Wait for it to melt before you eat it.

Mix paint. Wait for it to dry before you use it.

Call someone. Wait for them to hang up before you speak.



Ice cream:


Took 4.5 hours to melt.



Took 6 hours to dry to tacky and over 24 hours to dry the white paint completely. I was able to peel off the thick dried pieces (photo 3).

Phone call:

Took 27 seconds to hang up. (Audio starts at 00:08).


Artist Statement:

This piece was inspired by my reading of Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, specifically her exploration of burning things and if they retain their object-ness after being burned or destroyed (“when you burn a chair, you suddenly realize that the chair in your mind did not burn or disappear”). I was also inspired by her HIDE-AND-SEEK PIECE, which is essentially hiding or waiting until “everyone goes home… forgets about you… [and] dies.” This got me thinking about objects that have an “expiration time” before they lose their original purpose, especially those in my everyday life — tea, paint, phone calls. I constructed my score with this in mind and ordered the three parts so that each was more out of the ordinary than the one before.

I performed the score by myself over the course of a day. I tried to be as present as possible during the waiting process, to contrast how I normally do this waiting passively and unconsciously.

The ice cream melting took much longer than I anticipated. I tried to wait with it, without doing anything, but it took almost 5 hours so I ended up doing homework while it sat next to me on my desk. I found myself getting impatient, and my roommate even commented that she was invested in how well this ice cream melted, even though she wouldn’t get any reward (my reward was eating it). The “prize” at the end of the waiting meant that I was more impatient for this part of my score and was very conscious of how long it was taking.

During the paint mixing, I laid out my palette and mixed paint with an image in mind that, because I let the paint dry, I couldn’t paint. While waiting for the paint to dry, I ended up bringing it with me to the store and back; this was interesting in that no one seemed to notice, but I was very self-conscious about carrying around palette paper. This waiting period was pretty passive because I knew there was not much to do with the paint afterward. After it dried, however, I realized I could peel the paint off in pieces. Waiting turned the liquid paint into a different object. (I might glue these pieces to paper and make a multimedia piece of art later.)

I called my mom for the phone call. I actually wanted to talk with her, and keeping myself from doing so was hard. Once she had hung up, I talked to her. For some reason, it was easier to say nice things when she couldn’t actually hear and respond to them. This waiting period was more difficult than the other two because by not speaking I was preventing an interaction with someone else, instead of changing or preventing a solitary action. It felt disingenuous to my mom to pretend that I couldn’t hear her, but the experience was also cathartic.

In the end, my score became more of a self-reflection or meditation than a contemplation of the objects themselves. It helped me focus on impatience, my mental painting process, interpersonal relationships, conversation, slowing down in daily life, the things we let happen unconsciously, and invisible deadlines, among other things. I’m happy with the way it turned out as I feel it was meaningful, at least to me. Hopefully, if anyone else were to attempt this score it would also help bring them to a self-reflective place.



Draft 1:

Mix paint. Wait for it to dry. Use it.
Buy ice cream. Wait for it to melt. Eat it.
Make tea. Wait for the tea to be cold. Drink it.

Draft 2:

Buy ice cream. Wait for it to melt before you eat it.
Mix paint. Wait for it to dry before you use it.
Boil water. Wait for it to evaporate before you make tea with it.
Call someone. Wait for them to hang up before you speak.


I changed the language to be more of a suggestion than a command, and later removed the tea line to make it more clear (and because of technical difficulties).