Clam in the Wild

Allie Linn & Margo Malter, curated by Ginevra Shay
Brown’s Arcade
326 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Maryland

June 2016

What does it mean for a clam to be in the wild? Countnecks, littlenecks, topnecks, cherrystones — quahog. You said in a txt msg, there are some very beautiful videos of clams floating along in the ocean. I’m thinking about how the Narragansett used quahog as wampum; decorative beads of purple and white carved and made precious through human touch.

I keep thinking about a clam drifting in sea foam, becoming a symbol, a gesture, a memory aid, a tool in spoken language — only to be monetized. Is it possible to be in the wild? Is the wildness only present internally, in the hidden activity of the clam, unknowable until split apart?

Work on the pearl begins as defense against an irritant. Every pearl comes into being as the activity of the clam’s work against death. The pearl is the accretion of a time of persistence. An incidental aesthetic work of survival.

Clusters, masses, cornices, tooths, modillions, a bed of clams blurring into architectural space. The arcade is a bivalve space, a hinged space, which is interior and exterior. Forms jutting out into one another, tiny crevices, pathways, and support systems. 

The last arcade space. How can I talk more about the ornamentation when I walked indoors to an outside space only to be standing next to a ping-pong table, now looking into a restaurant? I can't stop thinking about the fact that objects and language pearl into being through time and concentration making the intangible legible through action. 

Pearling. What is an exchange of material? Of language? There is a floating point that exists within language where a word becomes fluid. It wiggles. Echoes of earlier and other senses of a term, the incidental lives of syllables formed and reforming, making language move.

You can't consciously put yourself in wildness, but you can push towards it. How a discarded bag of chips blowing down the street is also a pearl.