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exhibit baby: coney island convergence


a project in process involving the convergence of a seaside home for children, babies abandoned in the sand, and an incubator baby sideshow (+ more) all in turn of the century coney island

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5/31/12

Agnes died two days before Nietzsche, and I’m not sure of the significance of that yet. Also two days before the word television is first used.

5/28/12

The teacher refers to a blog post featuring microscopic images of sand from around the world.  I’ve seen it.  Each grain a surprising cosmos with colors and textures that cannot be seen with a naked glance. *

A baby went missing in Gloucester, MA.  A walk with her mom, older sister, and dog— a ball bounced, her’s? Her sister’s? Someone else completely? The mother went to get the ball.  She had to go under a footbridge.  She had to go over a footbridge.  She returned and the baby was not there.  While she was walking away, while she passed under or over the bridge, while she ducked under to go back to her daughters, something had happened.  The baby was not where she was before.  The mother could not see the baby.  They were on the beach.  That night, and the next day, people searched for the baby.  Specialists were brought in to question the sister.  The specialists were special because they could ask a four year old questions “with sensitivity in mind.” Who couldn’t do this? On the second day since the baby disappeared, it began to rain.  The searchers who dove and the searchers who combed sand and bramble could not search in the rain.  The rain continued for three days.  An Amber Alert was considered.  It was dismissed because no one saw her disappear.  There was no license plate number and vehicle description to flash over the highway.  

An inquest will be made tomorrow.  

An investigation is underway in Ankeny, IA.  A man could not contact his son for three days.  He went to his son’s house.  His four year old grandson answered the door and told him his father was sleeping.  The father had been dead for a few days, in his armchair.  Our friend lives in the neighborhood.  He’s seen a cop parked on the street all week.  

The girl from the fifth floor’s baby died somewhere between getting in the elevator and reaching her apartment door.  Shifting him in her arms to get her keys she realized he wasn’t sleeping. There were screams and yelling and an ambulance.  From my sixth floor bedroom window I saw women from the building falling over themselves crying.  An empty gurney went in and came out with the girl holding her baby close to her chest. The way she holds him, it’s impossible for the EMTs to work.  It was with the greatest difficulty.  

A shrine grew in the lobby.  On the floor next to the elevator were devotional candles wrapped in the images of saints, stiff new teddy bears, blue dyed carnations.  A piece of cardboard taped low on the wall above the shrine held messages of sympathy and promised strength to the girl from the whole building.  

1900 Census, The Sexton Family
Agnes Sexton - Death Certificate

05/22/12

Today the library.  Called it the Factory when I told a friend about it on gchat.  Put in a few hours at the Factory this afternoon.  Someone aggressively shh-ed a pair of teenagers as I advanced from the graphic design section to the painters’ biographies.  I selected seven design books.  Stroked the spine of a Dover Edition.

Searched for Agnes on the internet.  She only had two years to leave a paper trail, and didn’t leave much.  I think I found her family, living on E. 120th St in 1900.  Mother Mary, Father Patrick, Brother George, Sister Mary, Baby Agnes.   George cleans carpets.  Her death certificate is disappointingly digitalized.  It does not add any new information besides her certificate number.  I don’t know what I can do with this information.