For some reason, at this very late hour, I’m drawn to thoughts of these Bright Plastic Coelacanths. I first saw this picture several years ago, while I was studying sculpture at RISD. (The installation took place somewhere in Japan, if memory serves, though I’ve forgotten the name of the artist.)
The first real coelacanth – of the previously alive, non-fluorescent variety – I saw was in a museum in East London, South Africa. It was the first coelacanth, as in, the first coelacanth found and stuffed and mounted in Modern History. I remember it being propped up on metal rods, forever hovering in a large glass case; the skin looked brown and stale and brittle – it was, after all, a big, dead fish. More vivid in my mind are the memories of going to the concession shop and, specifically, the drinking of Cream Soda which, for other unexplainable reasons, was bright neon green – quite similar, in tone and hue, to the Coelacanth in the far corner of the bright room above.
But there’s something fascinating behind the thought of Bright Plastic Coelacanths: A school of coelacanths, something that hasn’t existed for very many years, yet somehow made possible by molds and melted plastic. They swim in a circle, why? Dark room? Light room? Pinks? Teals? Vermillion? The questions linger, but the resolve shines through the murky undercurrents:
May a school of Bright Plastic Coelacanths swim through my dreams. May they guide me through the darkness of shut eye-lids, beyond the sounds of the traffic outside, transcending the boundaries of possibility; we need not worry about such earthly concerns in the presence of Bright Plastic Coelacanths, for they teach us that through advancements in human expression and artistry and plasticization, we may one day all become a series of Bright Plastic Coelacanths, and shall cherish the days thereafter.