mood Welcome to my Ted Talk

by Jason Ly

Published in Issue No. 261 ~ February, 2019

Hi! Welcome to my Ted Talk. My name is around, embedded in your seat.


Today I will be talking about therapeutic mass entropies in amnesiac systems of solitude.


I was walking down the street one day when…


It hit me.

It hit me.

It hit me.


*The screen shows an image of a duck crossing the street. A bat is brought onto the stage and is swung at an aluminum trash can every time the word “hit” is said.*


There aren’t any anonymous entity enclosures fore-stalling permit regulations, and I thought…


I can change.

I can change.

I can change.


With this one simple rule, with this one simple step, with this one simple sect, with this one simple symbol, with this one simple idea, with this one simple system, with this one simple action, with this one simple plan, with this one simple image, with this one simple vision, with this one simple philosophy, with this one simple product, ((with this one simple )), with this one simple drive, with this one simple thought, with this one simple energy, with this one simple space, with this one simple list, with this one simple core, with this one simple line, with this one simple brand, with this one simple diet, with this one simple item, with this one simple down payment of $24.99:


Something will change.

It will change.

You will change.


I happen to be here near a pole light system measuring a bus signal, resting at a rest stop sign. I always had trouble. I could never get it right. I turned a switch in my mind.


The switch is smooth, cool, gray and 17 inches wide, the outwards edges are low and condescending and rising and smoothing out into a flat handle vertically in the middle.

The switch has a nonreflective coating but shimmers and reflects light in my head.

The switch is floating in a black spacial void.


I turn it.


I turn it a quarter of the way. (It is cool to the touch.)


I turn it again.


Again a quarter.


Again it turns.


Around and around. The switch keeps turning. I keep turning the switch in my mind.


I keep it there, I predicate and envelope it.


In a shroud a mist forms. The audience is clapping; everyone knows its not pre-recorded cause then it wouldn’t be real.


There’s always a pause.


Please, gain from my failure, please, think. I’m nothing inside. You’re loud. An economy of noises and dust flutter all about -okay just fine and dandy- and pile and drive around an air circulator till the dust sneezes a bubble of convulsing nerves and it becomes a ticking clock.







I drink from a water bottle. Sipping and slurping around an indefinite statement. I’m really nailing this presentation I think to myself.


*Coughs loudly*


I’m sorry. There’s something in my body and it has to get out. It won’t leave, its been there for a while, it’s not me that’s not me.


But just listen!


I’m better, I could be better, you could be better.


Please change slides, skip this slide, I put this here on accident, I’m sorry it’s not working, I’m having technical difficulties, it’ll be just a moment, I don’t normally use powerpoint or this computer, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m all transitions, fading away through dissolving squares into another idea pointing toward a whole summation of why I’m here. Grainy slices of photometric light cascades along this wall behind me, projected, my shadow takes up the space covering information, dancing jauntily to a tune, fracturing light. The audience is myself, I invited everyone I knew. Family and friends have reserved seating in the splash zone.


A buzz in my ears is telling me to stop talking.


My voice is going through syrup, and lights begin to dim, the microphone is jerked from my hand sliding across my fingers, its reeled away from the stage, strung out of the door, caught on the frame before disappearing. No one is staying for the post-credits scene.


I’m sitting in the room, listening to the sound of my own speaking voice.


I’m alone in the room and the room is dark and no one is there and the room is dark and I’m alone in the room and no one is there.


“Thanks for listening to my Ted Talk, you’ve been great.”


I start to head home.

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Jason Ly is a Virginia based artist who works in installation, drawing, and performance. He received his BFA in Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University and was awarded the VMFA Fellowship in New Media in 2017.