I Woke Up Screaming

Derick Dupre


I'd helped midwife a moneyed squalor that swept the zip code brick by brick. Prior to that, I was a lawyer specializing in acquiring damages in St. Pete. I represented those immune to the fear of dreams, with lives like lost reels of nondescript actors. I rarely won, but the lady bailiffs loved me.

But the zip code, it began with a one or a nine or somewhere in between. I was living in a converted tortilla factory and shooting a photo essay on spotty buffering. I shot the various manipulations and stages of buffering content. The shots were fine as a blade, and I used that fineness to illustrate several trenchant points about our society, like a pixelated Marker.

I described my career in terms of buffering. Preventable lag. Slowed performance. Holding area. It wasn't especially exciting boudoir talk. But the gallerists went for it, and then the collectors. If there's one thing I've learned from the art world, it's that if you have a stupid fucking idea, go for it.

But over the next few months, I felt things true to my heart escape me, dissolving like artifacts in a dream sequence one is streaming with bad broadband. It was a face and then a hand and then a claw and then a void. The value of the squalor rose while my heart things fled. This was unsettling. It was like being unsure if you want to sit down or stand up and being trapped in that state of lumbar discomfort for a while. Pleistocene, Holocene, The Next Few Months.

My things all smelled like mortared corn. I broke my work, kicked and thrashed my frames. The hands of my beloved things were collapsing into the abyssal plain. And there there is no heart.