Butterflies on a Cruise Ship (group exhibition)
Sam Anderson, Jake Cruzen, Nicolette Polek, John Sandroni
organized by Milo Conroy and Caleb Dunham
July 7th - August 11th
Opening Reception: Sunday, July 7th, 7pm — 9pm

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Nearby Places

A girl is pushing an old man down the hallway, and they pass many windows out of which the old man cannot see. 

The place she’s taking him, she says, is bright and at a perfect temperature and humidity level. There will be towels and a toothbrush and a bowl of the candied dates he especially likes. There are newly added massage chairs and a cabinet filled with hand warmers, markers, and AA batteries, and when he gets there, he can write whatever he likes on his nametag. 

A woman approaches them and hands the old man a clipboard with forms to fill out. She says that the place “is entirely covered in a blue-ish light,” that there are trees to sit under if he wants to be alone and small animals that will protect him. There is a black porcelain swimming pool filled with many beautiful people who are excited to meet him, and he will be given elegant gray stockings to wear.

Where he is being taken, wires are obsolete, and at night there is a hidden table for him to eat cookies and gaze upon the moon. The man gives the woman back the clipboard, and she blows him a kiss before disappearing behind a door.

The girl and the old man stop in a small restaurant and split a strawberry pie. “We’re almost there,” she says, and the waitress tells the old man that he will be able to see the whole place at once, and in the distance, there will be a house from which his mother looks out at him fondly.

After they finish eating, the girl pushes faster down the hallways, turning left and right, so the windows pass quickly when the old man stretches his neck toward them. She tells him that he deserves to live in this place, that this is the place just for him.

The hallways slowly start to dim. The trip to where the old man is being taken has been long, so the girl pauses to use the restroom, leaving him behind. Many people are walking down the hallway, in a hurry to get to their homes, and must move around the old man, causing them to occasionally bump into each other 

One person drops her coffee and file folder. As she picks up her things, the old man tells her where he is going, to which she says, “I know a few people there, and they are all very happy.” She has a dog with her, who makes a cheerful sound when hearing about the place. The old man wants to pet the dog’s head, but the person leaves.

A couple, who the old man does not recognize, moves the old man to the side of the hallway, puts him in an elevator, then wheels him into a small room. When he tries to tell them where he is going, they furrow their brows and tell the old man that the place does not exist. They turn off the light and close the door, so the people no longer have to walk around him.

The room is empty and clean. There is a crack from under the door, which is how the light gets in 

He waits there, and folds his hands in his lap.

He waits there, remembering the things that the girl told him, imagining the tropical trees 

He thinks about the many seagulls to count as he goes to sleep. 

     Almost a hundred seagulls, she’d said. 



            -Nicolette Polek