Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Museum of Broken Relationships

There is beauty in sorrow.

Museum of Broken Relationships is heartbreak in its rawest form.

Presented as a museum for healing, it is more a way to peer into the sorrow of strangers. It's like getting a free pass to stare at the car crash on the highway.

I'm instantly attracted. I could spend hours in this museum, days even. An intrinsically happy person (American's Funniest Home Videos is my drug), I am inexplicably drawn by the sorrow of others. Even as I write this, B is groaning about my choice of topic for this post.

My bookshelves are lined with novels by Salinger, Chbosky, Foer, Krauss, and Eggers. I love them because their words make pain beautiful. They have made loneliness a poem, and given heartbreak a taste.

This museum does the same thing by making pain tangible. A glass horse, a prosthetic foot, a pair of pink, fuzzy handcuffs. They are other people's pain on display as art.

And just like I'm drawn to the words of those authors, I'm drawn to the beauty of the objects, not for the objects themselves (pink, fuzzy handcuffs?) but for what they represent.

Maybe this museum is another step in the evolution of our desire to feel connected. In a time called out for being increasingly disconnected, we are in fact finding new ways to know others.

Peering into their sadness reminds us that when we are sad, we're not alone. Even when our hearts are broken, there is an entire museum filled with others who understand our pain. Words and objects only make it more appealing.

"What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? When you skateboarded down the street at night you could hear everyone's heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. One weird thing is, I wonder if everyone's hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which I know about, but don't really want to know about. That would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn't have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. And at the finish line at the end of the New York City Marathon it would sound like war." [Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Johnathon Safron Foer]

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin