This week’s cover, by Roz Chast, presents a familiar Thanksgiving tableau, though it replaces friends and family with what’s even closer to the heart: our technology. Technology is also the theme of this week’s issue, which includes Patricia Marx on personal robots, Sam Knight on the burgeoning field of proteomics, and Raffi Khatchadourian on a new, astonishing link between mind and machine.
The cover, for its part, is classic Chast, an image that draws both on home life and the objects that permeate it. Recently, we asked the artist a few questions about her work.
So much of your work deals with interiors, domestic life. Did that begin early on?
Absolutely. I grew up in an apartment in Brooklyn. My mental image bank is basically lamps, sofas, wallpaper, dishware, TVs and accessories, an infinite number of tchotchkes, books, household appliances. My nightmare is having to draw something like “the woods” from memory. Not enough tchotchkes.
You’ve spoken about “the conspiracy of inanimate objects.” What does that mean, for you? How do you try to capture it?
I’m not sure who originated the phrase. My mother used to use it when she’d be vacuuming and the vacuum would hit a table leg, and something—maybe a mug of coffee—would fall on the floor. She’d bend down to get the mug and smack her head on the table getting up. Then the vacuum would die. I also tend to anthropomorphize inanimate objects. Sometimes they seem to have little personalities. Let’s not analyze that.
What do you usually do for Thanksgiving?
We’re cooking. Some friends are coming over. My son and his new wife are also coming. We will eat, drink, and hopefully be, if not merry, then not un-merry.
For more Thanksgiving covers, see below:
“’December 1, 1975,’ by George Booth”
“’November 29, 1976,’ by Saul Steinberg”
“’Thanksgiving.com,’ by Chris Ware”
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