Life after Death

From Guardian:

David Foster Wallace, the most gifted and original American novelist of his generation, took his own life in 2008. His widow, the artist Karen Green, talks of the struggle to deal her loss and her decision to publish his unfinished work, The Pale King

Karen-005 The first piece of art that Karen Green made after her husband, David Foster Wallace, took his own life on 12 September 2008, was a forgiveness machine. She is standing in the neat, white studio at her house at Petaluma, north of San Francisco, explaining to me how the machine worked and how it didn't. “Before David died,” she says, “I had been working on some machines, with a five-year old – the son of a friend who had a gallery down the road from mine.” There had been a recreating-a-pig-from-bacon machine, and a prototype for a machine that cleverly pitted dates. The day that her husband hanged himself she had been working on a political machine that involved a bright-coloured circus tent, elephants and donkeys. For a long while after that, she says, she couldn't make any art at all, wondered if she ever would again, but eventually, tentatively, she developed the idea for her conciliatory Heath-Robinson. “The forgiveness machine was seven-feet long,” she says, “with lots of weird plastic bits and pieces. Heavy as hell.” The idea was that you wrote down the thing that you wanted to forgive, or to be forgiven for, and a vacuum sucked your piece of paper in one end. At the other it was shredded, and hey presto. Green put the machine on display at a gallery in Pasadena near the Los Angeles suburb, Claremont, where she and Wallace had lived in the four years they had been married. She was fascinated by the effect that it had on people who used it. “It was strange,” she suggests, “it all looked like fun, but then when the moment came for people to put their message actually in it, they became anxious. It was like: what if it works and I really have to forgive my terrible parent or whoever.”

More here.