y i

December 2020
Steel, digital photography

Nearly six years ago, I was sitting in the front passenger seat of my parents’ car. We’d been on the road for hours now, and I hadn’t even noticed being zoned out. This was our last journey out of the country, a road trip back to Lithuania, closing the chapter of our family’s time in Italy.

Lost in memories, I no longer noticed the cars burnt up in the heat along the side of the highway, the quaint names of the towns we passed in a constant flow of cars trying to just get further north. Yet as the road took us around a bend, the view ahead captivated me. A straight stretch of highways, dotted with cars going up-and down. On both sides of the highway, barely visible above the walls meant to keep us out of what we’re passing – a city sprawled across the landscape, filled with industry and shopping centers, with sleeping neighborhoods visible just behind. And above, on the horizon – there was no more horizon. Instead, rising out of the Italian flatlands into the sky- the Alps.

My gaze just kept searching for more – past the alps and the sky, past the Solar System or even our galaxy. Billions of years of physical and chemical reactions, that in that moment culminated in my consciousness. And just as quickly as I was overcome by the wonder of our world, I felt an unbearable weight. Suddenly, I felt that to be significant in all of that, to be
more than just the billionth part of a tiny speck in an infinitely large universe – it was impossible.

Now, as the plastic keys rattle under my fingers, as the chair underneath me squeaks and creaks – my body keeps adjusting and getting more and more accustomed to being slouched over the makeshift desk. Next to me – a stack of books, some read, others only thereas an idea. To my right – an orange-peel, a microphone, my work computer, a coffee-cupwaiting to be refilled. And in front of me, just under the words I write – there lies a ‘y’ and an
‘i’. Cold, shimmering steel. Not part of any construction, but a construct. “But why?” To simplify, reduce, deconstruct, and minimize. While in no way are the letters themselves tiny, they’re just the right size – manageable, holdable, but big enough to be noticed, to take up space, and sometimes be in the way.