Angel Garcia
First-year, U-M Dearborn


Clock mechanism, clear plastic, liquid fabric glue, paper, acrylic, watercolor, and pen found on canvas


Unpredictability challenges human behavior, whether through making the most out of our surroundings or counting our days; uncertainty fuels our atmosphere and way of life. How prepared are we for unpredictable challenges? Chaos, even? This piece presents new questions regarding how we use our time and react when it is up. The backward canvas withholds an active clock mechanism, with its hands painted to resemble a compass. The hand drawn illustrations depict San’ya, Tokyo, a slum known by many as the neighborhood to disappear.

Does this piece confuse you? Overwhelm you? But, at the same time, make you feel empty? I want this piece to challenge you and your assumptions. Visually, this piece looks simple. But, take some time to dissect its features: the red and blue hands of the clock, the backward oval-shaped canvas, the tally marks. Visually simplistic yet symbolically perplexing. How long does it take you to decipher this piece? What does this overload of information ignite within you–feelings of confusion? Has this explanation made you feel even more confused? Is everything about this piece unpredictable? 

In the face of unpredictability, how would one react? Set in the slums of San’ya, Japan—Japan’s poorest neighborhood, known by many as the place to go to “disappear”—a woman is sat in the empty void that is her life. Outside the window, a man stands upright, trudging the inner alley of the abandoned city. Amidst the chaos of the city, the man can reach far distances because of his stability—he has everything he needs to survive. The woman, who appears to have nothing, is waiting for time to stop and continues to tally her days. Yet, will it mean anything in the end despite our differences in lifestyle and status? We all share the same air, after all. 

When people are uncertain about what will happen in time or how far they may go, they spiral. For a few reasons, we might mentally spiral because unpredictability is dooming—and when we are faced with what seems like the end of the world, we react due to our persistent craving for longevity, control, and answers. But what if one were not to care for immortality? Or what if one were to have power and answers to these questions already? Should fate just be accepted? 

The concept of unpredictability regarding time, distance, and the world’s future lead human behavior to display fear and fascination. And such fear and fascination can be shown in retrieving the answers to our assumptions and questions. But “MM/DD/YY” presents a piece to challenge the audience’s scientific and artistic assumptions. People want answers. But through “MM/DD/YY,” I raise more questions.