Jason Benson
September 12 - October 25, 2015

press release

Chapter 1

"You should always check with local authorities to ensure that any DIY project abides by local codes and regulations." reads the "DIY Industrial Lamp: Cool Desk Lamp Made From Pipe" article on the home depot blog, posted by an anonymous staff member.

I'm pretty certain that the local authorities wouldn't care about a lamp made out of store-bought steel pipes, or I mean, they shouldn't care about low-wattage lighting devices in general. There are usually more important things to worry about, like actual human crime.
I didn't think I would need to contact the authorities, but I did.

'Building the Lamp Base,' easy enough.
With the blog's instructions open on my phone for reference at my studio desk, I read on. 'Building the Lamp Body and Wiring It,' I knew I had to process this part a few times. I'm afraid of getting electrocuted and get really OCD about turning switches on and off. It's a wonder I've gotten into home projects. I followed each step meticulously and found that the lamp was easier to make than I thought. I switched it on and off a few times. It worked, but it looked plain.

Over a few months I assembled dozens of lamps. Sometimes I'd work only by the light of the last lamp I built, but despite leaving the bulbs exposed, it always seemed to get darker in my studio. Sometimes I went out for more materials from the hardware store, other times I would just use things from around the house.

I thought about how darkness masks the dangerous figures in horror movies. I would worry about what they really were or how they actually moved. But you can't hold up a lamp in a horror movie, you just wait. I guess I was obscuring my own fears by building these lamps.

Midnight, one-fifty, three-thirty, six-o-six. I'd stay up fitting sockets and burning imprints into my retinas of luminous filaments, ensuring that they'd hum actively when I pressed on one side and dead silent for the other.

Eventually, I wasn't sure if I was dreaming in the studio, seeing the just-dimmed glass of a bulb or the face of a cesspool-born monster. I'd miss work sitting watch over the lamps, daylight thinning and counting down until the first light switch would be pressed in.

-Brook Sinkinson Withrow


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