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CLAY 

Jonathan Ehrenberg + Maria Rapoport
April 3-25, 2021

Jonathan Ehrenberg and Maria Rapoport, Clay, 2021, single-channel video, 5:27 min.

We wanted to spend the night. We were displaced. The city was blinking and winking. In restaurants, in the street, illuminated bodies carried unseen heads. The house suited our needs: it was free, the rooms were large—a red kitchen, down the hall rooms, rooms we went exploring until.

Was I the one who found the room, or another of us? If not I, then I was at least soon summoned to look. In the hall, a telephone lay on the floor, its cord stretched toward the door like the stalk of a plant seeking a light source. I stood in the doorway with some few of my companions. The door was open. The phone began to ring. On the floor, someone had drawn outlines of men that were filling now, slowly, with red—red meat rising like a soufflé, red muscles thickening and rising.

Golems! One of us screamed, and before I understood what was happening we all bolted. Jostling. My breath ragged. Yet part of me had always known that if I picked up the ringing phone I’d hear a voice say, Golems are soulless men.

We scattered through the maze of rooms, all the rooms empty, the Golems behind empty like the rooms. But we felt them, overtaking, overpowering the space we vacated, sealing the rooms forever against our return.

After we escaped our curiosity still tethered us to the house. We lingered outside trying to peek through the widows. Under the overpass there was a spot where the shadow of the bridge fell over the pane of a first floor vitrine and seemed to create a dark opening in the glass, and through this opening—we all crowded together to see—was clearly visible a mannequin-like man, dapper in a soft wool suit and wig of thick, blond hair. We swayed this way and that trying to get a better view. And his face followed us, aware.

The Golem, Maria Rapoport

--
Maria Rapoport is a New York–based writer who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her work has appeared in publications including the Brooklyn Rail, The Iowa Review, and Bomb Magazine, and been awarded residencies by the Edward Albee Foundation and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program. She is currently working on a collection of experimental short fiction.

Jonathan Ehrenberg’s work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, SculptureCenter, The Drawing Center, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery (New York), Futura Center (Prague), The B3 Biennial (Frankfurt), Temnikova & Kasela (Tallinn), and Nara Roesler (São Paulo). He received a BA from Brown University, and an MFA from Yale, and residencies include LMCC, Harvestworks, Triangle, Skowhegan, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Glenfiddich in Scotland. He was born in New York, NY, where he currently lives and works.


Clay (excerpt) from jonathan ehrenberg on Vimeo.