We’ve memorized so thoroughly the worlds from which we come. With a lifelong obsession, we’ve catalogued and internalized the apparently permanent fixtures of a cherished locality until our bodies have in fact become either physical extensions or microcosmic containers of these landscapes: arms kinking in unbroken strip-mall chains, gaping mouths mimicking the enormous vacancy of an evacuated sports dome. The chief business of Frontier Ruckus is the collection and organization of these solid, unmoving markers. We spool the vast confusion and depth of existence around fast-food restaurants in anchoring tethers; we use the vacuous space of the abandoned 90s mall, now dead and tomb-like, as leaky reservoirs of overflowing memory. We turn to these devices to render memory and its innumerable landmarks somehow less crippling in their abundance—to seek some agency, some proprietorship over a world as heavy and unwieldy with contents of the past as a backyard filling with nightfall. In the 1990s my mother worked at Summit Place Mall, on the borderline between Pontiac and Waterford, Michigan. So much met at that nexus. Day met dusk and a drive home. Now it is where memory meets the present tense and struggles to recognize it. My grandfather taught me how to stand a quarter on its side in the food court there. I studied the quarter intently. I noticed the thin black line, the feeble definition separating one thing from all other objects in the world. From that perception on, I broke free from those borders and blended my body into the entire landscape of my experience. A large part of me has lived in a world of its own rearrangements and lovely eternities ever since. What I’ve found in this expansive nighttime of blurred place, age, and pure memory is hopefully some of what Deadmalls and Nightfalls reflects. -Matthew Milia April 2010
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