The Whale
(2008), video, 3:32 min. (rough draft)

A woman arrives to house-sit and finds a note asking her to feed the whale and telling her she'll find what she needs (in order to feed the whale {?}) in the small chest of drawers. She stays for eleven days, for some reason failing to feed the whale. When it's nearly time to leave, she finally goes to the small chest of drawers. There she finds slips of paper bearing a series of texts, some of which are as follows (in order):


3:00 P.M. [T]he mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god . . . . But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. [From the Book of Jonah, the Bible]

4:00 P.M. [A]t last he loses his identity [and] takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature . . . . [From Moby Dick, Herman Melville]

8:00 P.M. [M]ark me./ I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated/ To closeness and the bettering of my mind . . . , in my false brother/ Awaked an evil nature . . . . [From Shakespeare's The Tempest]

9:00 P.M. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, . . . slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. . . . with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise forever. [From Moby Dick]

10:00 P.M. All but mariners/ Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel . . . the king's son, . . . / With hair up-staring, . . . / Was the first man that leap'd; cried, 'Hell is empty/ And all the devils are here!' [From The Tempest]

11:00 P.M. Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. [From the Book of Jonah]

In the bottom drawer, she finds a blue-gray substance and a tool with which she is to form pellets for food for the whale. She finds the whale and pours the pellets into its tub, but the whale is inert; it's not clear whether it's still alive.


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