Dylan Klein
October, 1990

Carol has once again introduced me to new methods of analysis and perception. Her sudden changes in the past have already created a new spirit inside of me, making me cast off childish things and shift my understanding away from a foolish complacency. But this is a complete paradigm shift, and not in the way that horrible businessmen use the word. It's a philosophical shift of paradigms, a new burgeoning of an intellectual and spiritual world that I haven't witnessed in the past. For a few months now, we have been venting to each other our frustration that in capitalist society, there is no means of divergence from the path of labor and consumption. You work for people who don't have the same goals as you do, and then you take in what you're addicted to: food, drink, and possessions. Then you go out and do it again. It's a cycle which we seem doomed to based on our consumption of resources, but Carol has been trying to find a way outside of that pattern. She says that it's impossible to truly create art in this kind of environment, always waiting for someone to give you what you desire in terms of sustenance or satisfaction, and that there must be some way out of it. She says we can live off of the waste of capitalism in the same way that people recycle plastics to make new items.

I agree with Carol on this and have decided to take up the small amount of money I've saved from work and put it towards survival without joining into this constant grab for material things in search of something immaterial, the way to create art that is able to change the way society operates if only for a moment in one person's mind and then cause a dramatic shift 50 or 100 years down the line. I am obsessed with the fact that people continue to prolong their lives when oftentimes all they are truly prolonging is their own search for things to keep them alive. What do you do with life that makes it worth your while? How can you keep your earthly body existing and at the same time create things that are unearthly, that showcase a world of ideals and revolutions in terms of thought and behavior?

When we decided to venture on this quest together, Carol suggested that the first piece was getting out of the constant loop of paying for a small space to exist in. To me, this was an enormous step and impractical, as I felt we needed some place to be able to escape from the rest of the world to sit down and plan. But Carol insisted that paying the money we were to the landlord was actually taking away from this quest and required most of our time just to subsist in our current living conditions. I eventually agreed, particularly since we were already behind in rent payments, and we decided to find some unoccupied space that we could call our own.

Carol researched different locations in the city for buildings that have recently gone unoccupied or properties that have been foreclosed on to start this experiment. Part of her moral philosophy is that the concept of private property is, in and of itself, a crime. It is the control over and taking of people's right to live on this planet in an unadulterated way and forcing them to labor for your own purpose. Carol said that she believes both of us are capable of doing well in this sort of structure, but that it would be immoral to participate in it considering what would happen if we did.

Last month, after doing our research, we found an abandoned warehouse off of State Highway 28 in Des Moines. Carol told me this would be the opportunity I needed to cast off all of the burdens that had been hanging like the Sword of Damocles over my head. The debts, the unpaid parking tickets and warrants mailed out to me that I ignored, the audit letters from the IRS, and throwing them away heedlessly into my "forgetting box." Every time I would hear a siren, I was afraid of being taken away, being handcuffed with the stubble on my face rubbing against the pavement grotesquely. Now that I didn't have to rely on what my mom told me my lifestyle should be, I can truly be free and begin work on art, what my life was designed for in the first place. Everyone thinks that what they can eventually do is free themselves from shuffling paper in an office for years. The people who cannot tolerate that kind of life will escape. Those who don't mind it as long as they can get their 2 hour fix of whatever their current opiate is will continue sitting in the same chair, surrounded by the same grim walls.

The walls of the warehouse are grim, too, but freeing, because the madness that used to be their mission statement is over. This place used to manufacture common, trite, and unnecessary household items like automatic electric apple slicers, because the manual kind were too hard to push without the force of that extra electricity. Now, the equipment has been half-heartedly cleaned out, remnants of wires sticking out of the wall, only the edges clipped off. Pipes which used to attach to the machinery just leak. But Carol tells me, and she is right, that because of the transformation of this place from a cast-off of capitalistic society into somewhere that people can live and grow together in their extended knowledge, this place on earth is better than what it once was.

And that is Carol's plan. We hunt through church giveaways, pretending to praise the Lord God Almighty and then loudly curse his name as we leave after we're given this day our daily bread. We leap across rooftops scouring the premises inside that roof door for garbage, climbing down the long spiraling stairways looking for blackened bananas or stale crackers past their expiration dates. And it was freeing, to know that it is not necessary to contribute in the way that society expects you to. You must contribute in the way that gives you fulfillment and others in this world fulfillment. Look at the birds of the air. They do not sew or reap. And yet the Heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not just as valuable as they?

And after we get home, home in the sense of where we put our bodies, not any kind of American dream home, we gorge on our scraps and then begin work on renovation of the warehouse. Carol has incredible plans for the space, makeshift blueprints which point out exactly where the rooms will increase in their expression of the Sublime, where the art pieces that haven't been completed yet will go on the walls or on the ceiling or in the doorway. Even if these dreams never come to fruition, isn't it better to wrap our troubles in them? And so we have begun work on a reincarnation of a space which nature has given us. We have chosen not to give up all desire, but only the harmful desires, which are the only root of suffering. And we revel in our beautiful desires and await the reckoning for all those who hold on to the damning, the untrue, the unbeautiful.