Kristi Rae Wilson
Deconstruction of the Automobile: timing chain
Photograph from Project
I spent this summer taking my 97” Nissan Sentra apart with a socket wrench and a painter’s tool. Below is an excerpt from a journal I kept during the process.

August 17, 2009

After a month of deconstruction, and prior months of preparation, Mack’s Recycling, a local recycling company, took the car today.

I can honestly say to the best of my ability I took the car apart as much as I physically and mentally was able for 1 month. Once I opened the cover to expose the timing chain I knew the project was complete. This was the moment that I associated the car with the body. For I had found the heart and it was done ticking. Somehow, the surgeon I had become was not what I wanted. I was finished dissecting the object.

Fluids burst and poured by the bucket fulls. My apron covered in grease and antifreeze. The car seemed to moan and hiss. I was not interested in detaching the parts aggressively or innovatively. Rather, I went about it simply and directly. I listened, paid attention, found difficulties, read my way through it, and felt my way through the rest of it.

On the last day a mouse got caught in the garage door track and was hurt bad. He had a deep cut to the belly. I knew I had to put it out of its misery. It was unfortunate. With the help of another, we tried to put it out of its misery and failed on the first attempt. The final blow came from myself. A brick lay shattered on its poor little body. I felt horrible. It was so hard to do. But I knew it was for the best.

The car will be crushed like the brick upon the mouse. And the parts will be salvaged as will the limbs and insides of the mouse be taken. It is a hard truth. It is a difficult reality. But in the end, all must pass. The things left behind are difficult to settle on a place to reside. The nuts and bolts are all that is left.
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