A mini-essay by Rasmus Wright
I can say without shame or irony that The Mall is a comforting place for me. It connects me to my origins as a middle-class, suburban American and provides innumerable sensory stimuli that excite, surprise, and fascinate. Problematization of my complicity in the horrors of global capitalism aside, I cannot deny that on a deep-seated emotional level The Mall is a safe place for me. As an adult, my experience there has been one of ease, tinged with a sweet nostalgia as I reflect upon the ever-constant Mall as a source of continuity in the unremitting, uncertain churning of time. That was my experience...until Wednesday, July 11, 2018 around noon. I went to The Mall to return some suit pants at one of the anchor department stores. While there, I took advantage of the opportunity to take a lap around the promenades to exhale mightily the accumulated tensions of the week and return to my hum-drum life refreshed. What I stepped into was not the familiar warm place insulated from the world outside but rather a cold place, fully permeated by the callousness, cynicism, and indifference I was hoping to escape for a brief time. Store after store, kiosk after kiosk, I was struck by a profound sense of emptiness, dread, and mounting anxiety, not the pleasant bemusement to which I was accustomed. Had The Mall changed? Had I? Likely, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Regardless, I'm not ready to love again and won't be for some time. But, in the meantime, where will I go?
A collage of images encountered and captured by RW at Boise Towne Square mall on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 around noon.