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– Ben Livne Weitzman

I opened the box. You never know what’s in it until you cut through the tape and spread the wings. A scent of mould and time ran up my nose. I looked inside. Again, records. So many records. Some sheets, some notes. But mostly records. What am I to do with all of these? I need to open a record shop. I see it already— Today’s Records! But really, there must be hundreds of them here. I knew I shouldn’t have bet on these.

But it’s always the boxes that get to me. The endless possibilities a closed box presents. Once I even got a box full of old used sneakers. Imagine that. Why would someone keep so many worn-out shoes?

My mind always wanders to the person who sealed these boxes. They would have never imagined that I would be the one to unpack them. Peeking into their dirty laundry. No, they must have thought it was just temporary. A temporary safehold keeping these things while moving or from wandering away by themselves. But like all things, they get lost or forgotten. Piling dust in darkened corners beyond memory only to be excavated by a person who knows not what they are or where they came from. A salesperson evaluating the possible turnover, for whom the patina is but a stain to be removed.

Packing is, in a way, an act of prayer – a prayer for a safe journey through time or space and for an eventual reunion. A good bit of masking tape and off we go, like a frail Noah’s Ark setting sail towards the future, folding within it the history we wish to save or keep well hidden. If you live or have lived near a port, you’ll know what I mean. So many things that fail to follow their keepers or vice versa. They set sail and let go or are forced to depart. You see them, each day, arriving, parting, waving handkerchiefs. Moving is a dangerous business. If you don’t keep your shoes, there’s no knowing where they might be swept off to.

And then all these records. Yet another strategy to challenge the decay of time. Capturing a momentary intervention and concealing it forever in sound-bearing concentric spiral grooves. The index finger, a vibrating stylus that reads not writes, translates fine variations in the edges of the grooves into Wagner’s Valkyries, Baby Dodds’ spooky drums, a collection of birdcalls from the Atacama Desert, or a contemplative piano composition. So many of them here, in this container of boxes concealing records of memories. Encrypted testimonies fading into each other in a dust-collecting repository. Who even listens to records today, anyways?

Photo documentation on this website by:
John Forest, Natasha Lebedeva, Lúa Oliver, Ivan Murzin, Iain Emaline, Juan David Cortés, Paul Levack, Jiyoon Chung, Augustine Paredes, Juande Jarillo, Eva Carasol, Sebastiano Luciano, Nick Ash
© Ian Waelder, 2024