It’s alive!


Tim Hamilton, untitled

The zombie was sprinting toward me through the thick crowd, his moldy head bobbing closer and closer each time I saw him. I dashed around bike racks, a tree, a planter. The door to Lawrence Hall was thirty feet away, twenty feet away…

Remember those zombies in old movies that moan, drag their feet, and are only really good for blocking traffic? In the UO’s Humans vs. Zombies, a giant game of decaying-cat-and-mouse that I’m currently playing, zombies are more of the 28 Days Later ZOMBIE RAGE VIRUS variety.

It’s a pretty simple game. Humans wear green armbands and carry Nerf guns to stun zombies for short periods of time. Zombies wear green headbands and tag the humans to infect them. Buildings are safe zones.

I rushed into Lawrence and turned around to peer through the glass door. The zombie had completely vanished.

Approaching the Laverne Krause gallery, which I’ve been visiting every day to check on live-in performance artist Garrett Royce Kovaks (the last post on him is here), I turned the corner to find ANOTHER ZOMBIE. It made eerie squeaks and mysterious rattles, it had twitching fingers and stiff mechanical movements, it was… art.

The Krause’s current exhibition is called “Work in Relation to the Body,” or at least that’s what Kovaks has scribbled in marker on the wall. I wondered if Hamilton had been inspired by living, dead or undead bodies when he created his piece out of wood planks and bike gears. Metallic hands connected to great masses of wire reach out or hang down from the planks, slowly moving their fingers as the gears turn. The effect is truly creepy, and the piece is a little sculptural marvel. How did Hamilton design such a thing on paper, let alone actually bring it to creaking life?

I asked Kovaks what it’s like to have such a monstrous, noisy roommate. “I actually kind of like it,” he said. “It’s better to have some sound than no sound.”

“EEEEaaaaaEEEEEE,” the monster agreed.



On the other side of the room, Kovaks had set up a lean-to and begun to sort the various objects gallery visitors have given him into different sections of floor. The food section had peanut butter, canned goods, and granola bars. The clothing area included Kovaks’ first clothing acquisition, a purple bathrobe. There was an art supplies section with paper and a giant pile of leaves. The library was furnished with at least a dozen books, but Kovaks said he might not get much reading done. “I don’t have my glasses,” he said. When you start out naked, even your spectacles are a no-no.

Just as I was leaving, someone brought Kovaks a giant metal toilet to replace his little bucket.

“If I were in here for days, I would want something I could sit on,” said the gentleman, who is clearly a bathroom reader.

Poor Kovaks. He’s got the pot, but he sure doesn’t have the privacy!

BONUS LINK: I bumped into Hamilton he other day and learned all about bringing machines to life. Read it on the Talkback page!


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