Hardware Heart Of Darkness

  • I'm with my dad, step-mom and friend, Mario, on a car trip to an outdoor festival of some sort. We arrive at our destination: a wilderness/wetlands area. My dad temporarily parks the car in a field while he finds out where the gathering is taking place. Mario and I find an amplifier and microphone in the field so Mario brings out his bass and we jam a little. I make strange noises with the mic and feedback while Mario lays down the bassline. After a while my dad returns and tells us the meeting is out on a rocky hill we can see nearby. We get in the car and drive over there to discover that the hill has become an island due to recent flooding. My dad is determined, however, and makes an attempt at fording the moat. The attempt fails, of course, and we abandon the car for our own sturdy feet. The other attendees greet us and explain that the meeting will continue several miles deep inside the forest. Since the whole area is flooded, my dad hires a man with a boat to take us down the newly-formed river to our destination.

    From this point onwards, the dreamscape takes on a more fantastic appearance, melding images from two different realities into one composite surreality. Our trip down the dark, winding river adopts the exact same emotional color as the jungle river journey in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness or Coppola's Apocalypse Now. We are surrounded on all sides by impenetrable mystery, unknown dangers and the calls of wild animals. But most mysterious is the scene itself: a river flows six feet wide between two banks lined not with drooping vines and lush jungle foliage but with home improvement hardware, garden tools, paint cans, plumbing mechanisms and a million other objects you would expect to find lining the aisles of a warehouse hardware store like Home Depot--certainly not something you would expect to see in the deep jungle, but just the kind of misplaced landscape you might expect in an average dream, conjured up by the mad subconscious. Perhaps I'm not an average dreamer since this kind of imagery is less common for me; thus I make note of this phenomenon as being an exceptional case. Our river journey through the jungle garage proceeds as we pass through a never-ending series of turnstiles--gate after elaborate gate made of rotating band saws, stacked vises and a host of other industrial sculptures which slowly mark off our progress. Suddenly we are set upon by a pack of wraith-like savages who attack us with blow darts, killing most of our group. The wild animal noises amplify in the dangerous heat of the encounter and when I awaken in my bed I'm left unsure whether I'd survived the journey or not.