Christian Holstad


In this photo, I am thinking of moth eggs. I once had a job where a woman named Roxanna and I had to clean out the basement of a vintage clothing shop. It was damp and lit with two flickering fluorescent bulbs. Every day, after hours, we would carry up a dozen trash bags stuffed with old wool coats. We eventually had to deal with the huge mound of furs, which were rotten, damp, and reeked of mothballs. My memory is of a pyramid of depressed sasquatches. When I would pick one up to put in a bag, half of the fur would float into the air. In an attempt to lessen our lung intake, we tied '40s souvenir scarves over our mouths. While shoving the fur shreds into bags, I noticed a lot of black sand. The walls of the room were crumbling, so I didn't think much of it. We got through half the job and hit an air pocket from which moths poured out, like blinding sunlight. I am not sure why, but at that point we realized that the black sand was actually eggs. We were standing in four inches of eggs and stray fur. It was under my nails, filling my ears, and coating my scalp. Roxanna looked like she was wearing thick, black glitter eyeliner. It was as if we had been sweaty and rolling around on a beach of poppy seeds. Except the poppy seeds were unborn moths.

When I am installing, I often think of past jobs I hated. I actually hate installing and find it helpful to remember other jobs that are much worse, in the hope that I will find some gratitude. In this photo, I am thankful for ashtray sand.