Most of my apartment is messy. I leave projects strewn about, and stack papers, books, and assorted objects in precarious piles. Cups, boxes, bags, and tins contain small items that would get lost or cause avalanches within the heaps. While this clutter does not bother me, I am absolutely disgusted by the grime that collects in the corners and cracks of my living space. Dust, dirt, crumbles of toast, hair, stray feathers from my down comforter, and lint are the result of (and the bane of) my existence. No matter how many times I sweep, scrub, or vacuum, this detrital mix continues to accumulate in nooks and crannies. It is almost as if the crud is a living organism emerging out of the floors and walls.
How would my contempt for this infiltration change if resulting accretions were more fascinating than grotesque? Would I cultivate the growths or would I still suppress them in hopes of obtaining some semblance of cleanliness?
Infestation explores how nature and consumer waste mingle and take shape under the attempted authority of humans. Such painstaking control often appears futile. Our efforts to manicure our yards, clean our homes, and rid ourselves of debris only accomplish so much: gunk accrues, weeds proliferate, and trash becomes more and more abundant. However, the same kind of human imposition can also result in beauty; flowers like the tulip and calla lily are commonly seen in the Midwest only because people relocated and propagated their bulbs.
If the grime in my apartment undermined my cleaning attempts but succumbed to my aesthetic requests, I would be faced with a gross, yet intriguing, invasion. The duplex’s intrusion is just that; it lies somewhere between a termite problem, a garbage dump, and a field of blooms. Infestation permeates walls and sprawls in inconvenient locations while also providing visual interest and tactile pleasure. Revulsion and appeal coalesce.