Catalog for the Museum of Dioramas Made to Look Like Life
by Sam Ramos
Diorama 1: The Girl
It is her room. The walls are crowded with posters and pictures of friends. The girl sits at a computer. She is smoking. The screen is making her face glow blue. Her hair is unbrushed. There are bags under her eyes. A cat is curled up at her feet. The carpet has curled up pieces of paper and lost cigarette butts and ashes sunk into its gray fibers. The shades behind the computer are drawn closed. There are three pillows shaped like animals on the couch. They have big eyes. They are an owl, a cat and a giraffe.
Diorama 2: The Boy
The boy is watching T.V from a couch. He has a bong in front of him. It is half full of water. He is wearing only boxer shorts. His feet have pieces of lint and dust stuck to them. It is night outside. The door to the balcony is open but the screen is closed. His walls are bare. There is a rumpled bed sheet and a flattened pillow. An overflowing ashtray is next to the bong.
Diorama 3: Walking
The girl is walking with her bag over her shoulder. It is a sunny day. Her right foot hangs over the sidewalk. Her skirt is billowing behind her. A man with a dog on a leash passes her in the opposite direction. A girl on a bike rides by. The bike is blue steel. The walking girl is wearing a blue dress. She has a pink bow in her hair. The bushes behind her are shining green and the sky above is a brilliant blue, like the blue steel bicycle. Tiny pebbles are gathered between the curb and the pavement of the street.
Diorama 4: Riding 1
He is riding his bike down a busy street. His jacket is waving in the air behind him and his fingers are white from gripping the handles. He is standing up in the pedals. His mouth is open. The wheels spin electronically, as though it was a real street. An old woman with white hair and a gruff expression sits at a bus stop. She is not watching him. The trees are blowing in a breeze in the park beyond, and the sun is beating down. He should have left his coat at home.
Diorama 5: Groceries
He stands in an aisle alone. Blue signs with white text hang above him, pointing out cleaning products. He is holding a tube of toothpaste. He is concentrating on the contents of the label. The tile is gray, the lights above are fluorescent, and an empty red dolly faces him from the far end of the aisle, near the milk and eggs.
Diorama 6: Movie
She is sitting in the couch at her apartment. She is holding the owl to her chest. A pack of cigarettes and an ashtray are on the arm of the couch, next to her head. There is a plastic soda cup at her feet. The room is dark except for the blue light of the T.V. in front of her. A half empty pizza box sits on the kitchen counter, just visible in the background.
Diorama 7: Meeting
She is wearing the same blue dress she had on earlier, and the same pink ribbon. They are facing each other on a brightly lit deck. They are the only people outside, everyone else is inside, smiling through the windows. She and he are smoking and smiling but their smiles are secret smiles. They are quiet smiles. Not literally. Literally, yes, but more than that. They are another kind of quiet smile.
Diorama 8: Love
They are standing and facing each other and Christmas lights decorate the room but it isn't Christmas. They are facing each other. She is bare foot and he is not. She has white legs. She has white feet. She hasn't combed her hair and it is going in all directions. She has her eyes closed. He has his eyes open. They are not yet touching. There is a desk with a computer on it. Music is coming out of the speakers but the music is silent because this is a silent world. Literally, yes, but more than that. It is a different kind of silent world.
Diorama 9: Together 1
They are walking through a field. The grass around them is tall and yellow. The summer has come and they are wearing t-shirts. They are far away and their backs are to us. The figures are small. The scenery bends away. In the distance there is a cluster of trees with brown leaves and they get closer and closer to these. By modeling seven inch versions of him and her in perfect proportion and then placing them in a bed of tiny artificial grass blades, the effect is made complete.
Diorama 10: Together 2
She is at the computer and he lies on the floor. He is reading. The clock is not visible. There is no clock here. Maybe on the computer but we can't see there. It is not a real screen. There is no clock there.
Diorama 11: Listening
She sits at the computer and looks into the screen. He kneels next to her with a cigarette in his right hand and his eyes closed. He is listening. She is playing and he is listening.
Diorama 12: Dancing
They are at a show. There are three hundred and ten dancing people. She and he are dancing side by side and they are still. If you look closely you can see a cigarette peaking between his forefinger, his thumb and the palm of his hand.
Diorama 13: Bed
He is climbing out of the bed and she looks after him. Her eyes are hurt and her mouth is closed. His face can't be seen. She is visible, in the lamp light, beginning to sit up. She is under the sheets.
Diorama 14: Riding 2
He rides his bike. It is night time. The air smells like rain. There are no cars but a sound of traffic from a tin speaker, placed over the viewer's head, to the right.
About the author:
Sam Ramos was born and raised in Austin, Texas and is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently reading Gertrude Stein.