Aki Sasamoto’s Coffee/Tea, a maze-like structure that is part of this year’s Frieze Projects at Frieze New York, had a constant stream of people on the first day of the fair. Queued up in a snaking line at the entrance, many, including myself, had no idea what they were getting into. All I was told as I entered the work was that I would have to start by choosing between coffee or tea, and then I would be faced with more choices.
I chose coffee. That was a no-brainer—I have two cups a day and rarely ever drink tea. So I walked over to the door on the right, which had a basin filled with coffee beans attached to a white, handleless door. The next choice was less obvious. A door with a circle of wispy cotton attached to it or one with a plainer white circle? I chose the cotton.
Once inside, I went into a square room with two planners, each with an arrow inscribed in their leather case. There was no door to the right, so I opened the right planner. Suddenly, a Siri-esque voice said, “Four.” I looked to my left and saw another handleless door marked “4,” so I went through it.
In the next room there were four low, swiveling stools and an instructional image, crudely drawn in chalk, that told me to sit down and listen for instructions. I did, noticing that two doors—one with a cryptic “ding” written on it, the other with “ding dong”—were on either side of me. I heard a “ding dong,” so I went through that door.
In the next and final room were two white spheres—one with women’s underwear on it, the other without it. The underwear one looked like a Nancy Davidson sculpture, which also looked like women’s underwear fitted around a ball. It was familiar, so I picked that. Somehow, I ended up back in the “Four” room. Another visitor poked his head through the door and then, seeing that he had accidentally found someone else in the maze, retreated. I chose “2” this time, and somehow ended up outside the maze.
Outside the last door, a beaming man greeted me with a maroon pin that read “into vague.” How did I end up with this button, and why? I’m not sure, but I guess I’m not into knowing all the answers to everything.