Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I had no idea how this could work back in Brooklyn, until, on a river hike, I met an artist named Alex Branch. We got tangled in a bramble while hunting seed pods; we counted a flock of cedar waxwings; she talked about her work with sea gulls and urban gardens. On another walk, through the the traffic and fishy runoff of Canal Street, she mentioned her Mouse Zoetropes. Alex lives in a mouse-ridden building, but instead of getting embattled and obsessive, she’s installing zoetropes, made of exercise wheels, in her basement. The wild mice can run on them, playing little movies in the dark. The beauty and humor of the Mouse Zoetropes, turning a Bed-Stuy infestation into a spectacle of wonder and mercy, light, play and life, astonished me.
It also shamed me.
I think this woman doesn't quite grasp the fact that these critters, great and small, either don't give a damn about her or are tyring to eat her. That's where the St. Francis stuff falls down.