MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL WHO’S THE BRIGHTEST OF THEM ALL


The room: The man

We recently found a room in our university; it was deep, dark and eerie. We took permissions from the administration and as a part of the visual art display kept it open for viewing. It belonged to an obsessive man, a retired lab assistant and self taught cosmetologist. 

As soon as you enter the room you will see a mirror staring back at you. It smells cold, musty, ominous and dingy, you can feel the dust settle and seep into your skin; it crinkles between your teeth, making you uncomfortable and deeply unsettled. On to the right of the door you can see a shelf with an aquarium tank. There is a jellyfish looking creature floating inside it, a polyethene. Underneath it, an encyclopaedia of animals from his childhood. He loved animals and how they lived and breathed. There’s a table on the left with a dried out kerosene lamp.There are forceps and blades kept hastily with flakes of skin that you can still see on it and a surgical glove beside it. On the right you’ll see and index of the extracts . Three test-tubes on the table labelled 4, 3 and 1, each containing a differently coloured liquid along with a green vial with a label saying dried poison arrow frog and a red that says camouflage .  Three other test-tubes, Number 2, number 5 and number 6 with a holder are kept to the far right. Each of these test-tubes serves a purpose. The first three are genetic extracts from a tardigrade, an axolotl and a condor, for extreme resistance and tolerance, faster cell regeneration and the ability to develop wings and fly, respectively. The other three test-tubes contain extracts that would help him develop temporary characteristic gills, camouflage and stamina when injected. The vial is for security. So he can become a lethal dose of poison just by touch when he needs to. After all he was a lanky, little man who wouldn’t sustain a fight otherwise although he seemed to have unnaturally grown because of reasons yet unknown.In the middle of the table there is also a little injection labelled chromatophores . He used this to turn his skin white and fair in order to look and become more desirable. A few animals and plants are seen preserved in clear resin, next to a moulted snake skin pinned between two pins. Some photographs are scattered around as well of the things he previously preserved in resin. To the left, a box sits cosy, with different microscope slides containing giant cell tumour bone, chonoroma. Hordes of his photographs are kept on the table as a record of the effects of everything he has injected and tried on himself. He used himself as a lab rat for experimentation, which explains the beaker placed there as well. The beaker has a small polythene piece with a dropper by its side. This is probably to find a way of digesting plastic; this would help him survive the apocalypse the world is going in for. The table also has a sketchbook with different imagined animals drawn. The words “Adapt” and “Better” are sprawled across the table.
He also owns a copy of the 12th chapter of Dr. Moreau’s Island.
There are four cyanotypes on the wall adjacent to the table. These cyanotypes are made from posters of an Orang-utan and a strange little girl addressed as a wildling( a transient species between man and animal).Stuck on the wall over the table are negatives of these same posters.  On the mirror, a picture of his lover is placed(it is an underexposed polaroid) and next to the mirror, on the right are photographs of himself with the results of all his trial experiments on his body. Further right, we can see a large jumpsuit with an X-ray of ribs stuck to it, It has impression of a tiny paw in the middle of the X-ray plate; also there’s something that looks like flesh right next to it. Underneath that there is an empty cupboard with documents and random papers on it. You’re in the middle of  the room. You need to sit down and go through his belongings to see. 

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