Tao Lin’s Apartment: A Review, by Megan Boyle
Last October Tao Lin, my ex-husband, put up a post on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to sublet his studio apartment in Murray Hill while he visited family in Taiwan. I responded and PayPal-ed him the significantly discounted friend-rate. I would be staying around four weeks. I had visited Tao’s apartment maybe four times prior and had seen photos on Instagram—darkly lit areas, occult-looking décor, some Buddhist imagery, Adderall taped to the ceiling as a form of rehab, and curiously frequent “smoothie disasters.” I was excited to live alone in Manhattan. I was also excited to hopefully gain insight into the private life of a person I’ve admired both up close and at a distance for years—the kind of insight that can only come from sleeping in their bed and looking at their things every day for around four weeks when they’re not there. That sounds kind of creepy. Here is my review of Tao Lin’s apartment.
The Hanging Thing
When I moved in the giant structure formerly hanging above Tao’s bed was gone. I’d previously seen it in person twice, at sort-of parties, at which I felt surprised by how little attention it was getting. People seemed to treat it like any other passive obstruction. I don’t have memories of asking what it was or why it was there. I’m guessing its materials (Christmas lights, tinsel, black and white cobwebby stuff) were bought or stolen by Tao and his friend* Katie DeMoss from NutHouse, which is across the street and calls itself “New York’s Only 24-Hour Hardware Store.” Sometimes in conversational lulls at a party this December my eyes would wander around the room and land on the hanging thing. The ease at which I could allow such an overwhelmingly insane-looking thing to blend into my idea of “normal party surroundings” combined with knowing it was among the only other not-talking things in the room seemed funny. I’m not sure I’m glad it was gone when I arrived.
- Only one out of four light switches work.
- Two out of three bulbs in his main lamp are white. One is red.
- There is one light in the bathroom. It is red but glows pink and affects the color of your pee.