Paintbucket - United States Capitol, East Capitol St SE & First St SE Washington, DC 20004

United States Capitol, East Capitol St SE & First St SE Washington, DC 20004

Zack Haber

Not appropriate! a woman says loudly to a baby in a stroller, look, you wanna be good or you want to just sit there? This place is filled with light and fresh air. It feels like I just got out the shower on a bright and pretty day to fill out health insurance forms. Sir, sir, you need to keep moving. We have to keep getting everyone scooted. The ticket sellers/line monitors/cops—they show an urgency I have trouble relating to and they seem to resent my blaséness. I feel like a marionette controlled by their anxiety. Two men holding big guns in cop uniforms stand in front of a door. People look excited to visit the capitol but in a contained and mundane way, like a shook up soda. Little kid wearing a Trump hat makes me puke up in my mouth a little bit.
Our tour starts out in a movie theater in the capitol. It smells like carpet cleaner and it’s so strong that I feel I’m drinking it. The film we see feels like an infomercial but people still tear up. It says a freedom hard earned it says this is the core, the center of our freedom, it says these walls have been tested and their strength does not crack. When the film speaks of slavery ending hopeful sports sounding montage music plays.
The tour guides seem like flight attendants as they start us out robotically repeating orders. This is the only time we’ll be in this room so yeah go ahead take your photos now. Our tour guide sounds annoyed like all the words she has to say annoy her. I bet she’d like to say less words. Every word she says sounds like a question where she's asking for something she doesn’t want to want but needs, maybe it’s money. Creepy guy in brown suit and brown pants keeps looking at a form, keeps looking round the room, keeps saying things into his walkie talkie.
Hard and clean reflective floor. Fake candle lights all around the room. Big brown statues of white judges. Cacophony! The place sounds like confetti. The dome above us has fractal patterns like a mosque on its ceiling. A woman keeps asking about Reagan. Is he in this room?! No I’ll tell you when we get there. In the rotunda a painting of people shooting and stabbing each other and in one part an indigenous person scalps a white man. A sign outside one of the doors says official business only and I wonder if people ever approach it with unofficial business and get turned away. When the tour ends, I say to the Reagan lady as I smile big in a super friendly tone I just wanted to say since you seemed so excited about Reagan: before Reagan there weren’t too many homeless people in this country, but since Reagan, there’s been so much homelessness!

bird ig website