Day 6: Endless Plates or Plates without End?

James pointed out that there were plates on the wall.

I guess these plates are kind of follies. They weren’t made for eating, but they’re made to look that way. Because doubtless they were commissioned specifically as decor for Olive Garden restaurants.

I’ve always been interested in the idea of ruins: what is it about a ruined building that means more than a building still in use? Is it because any structure left to fall apart on its own without being cleared away and built over must be a building that has more worth than anything you could build over it?

But then what happens if we build a structure to appear as a ruin, to pretend to be a ruin. It’s like these plates; it’s an object without purpose, it’s merely aesthetic–but a medium that wasn’t originally intended to be aesthetic. It’s a kind of repurposing that makes these things endless.

And then if a folly is ruined? Or if I take one of these show plates from the wall–ripping it free of the paint and dumping my noodles and tomato sauce on it and scrape away until the host asks me to leave–am I defeating the aesthetic goal of the piece? Am I giving it new life and new purpose?

Maybe show plates were meant to someday, in extremis, provide for our needs. Maybe sham ruins, when the rest of the world runs down, can do the same.

Dish 1: linguini, meat sauce, grilled chicken

Dish 2: linguini, vegetables

Breadstick count: 1.5

Weight: heaviness of folly