“The Installation” by Terence Hannum (2835 words)
No Spoilers: The narrator of this piece specializes in installing art in the homes of the well to do. And this day their assignment is to put in a famous piece in the house of a venture capitalist who’s just made a whole lot of money. From the start, though, things don’t seem quite...right, and the narrator slowly finds that the situation in the house might be a reflection of what’s going on inside the mind and body of the man he’s been sent to work for. It’s a story that pulls with a surprising current of horror and tragedy, showing the price that greed can bring at times and the nightmare left behind when money is prized more than people.
Keywords: Art, Corporations, CW- Death of a Child, Trauma, Rot, Gore
Review: I do like the way this piece layers the rot going on. Not just how the house that this incredibly wealthy man lives in is infested, unable to support the art and beauty that the man tries to hang over his grief. Not just how the man himself is coming apart, rotting inside himself, flaying himself in perhaps an attempt to exorcise his feelings and guilt and pain. But also the rot that both reflect in the system as a whole, with the capitalist system that prioritizes only profit when what should be important is helping people. And this man comes into an abrupt confrontation with that when his (successful, mind you) business decisions make him an even richer man but force a company working on medical research to re-prioritize (which sounds like focus on something more profit-driven) and so don’t continue a treatment that his son needs. It’s a dark piece, and I like the gothic feel of it, the isolation and the brooding, barely restrained feelings of the man, which the narrator must navigate in order to try and do their job. More and more, though, it becomes clear that the art doesn’t matter, and no amount of money and wash away the rot and decay of the place or the man. By extension, it’s not exactly a hopeful piece, rather a sharp critique of a culture that would promote profit above everything, that would glory the dollar about human well being. And it’s a creepy, unsettling story that just might make your skin crawl a bit. A great read!