In the subsoil
of Covent Garden is found the Museum of Automata. In its collection there’s a tiny room in which a sleeping woman’s dream takes the shape of an enormous pale snake springing from a
wardrobe under the terrified gaze of the man who shares her bed. The jaundiced cast of the latter foreshadows the great likelihood of approaching death. The furnishings themselves are characterized by their nondescript appearance, a most respectable and permanent arrangement without qualities. They represent the succor of a functional state in a universe thick with mystery — a life raft located smack dab in the middle of the gap between time and meaning.
There’s a Kleenex box set on the night table. Sole concession to a modern metropolis’s pop and swing, it prefigures a return to domestic hygiene after rubbing mucous membranes and the
exchange of fluids. Disturbing weirdness of gears and levers that activate these low-tech marvels — they play an integral part of dream’s slot machine.
© translated by Gian Lombardo