Margot Kelley (cambridge, ma)

N 36 ° 14.381 W 115 ° 18.746, 2002, C-print mounted on aluminum, 16 x 20 inches, Courtesy of the artist

My husband Rob gave me a small wooden pin, years ago, when I was a hip cultural studies chick, that said “she works in the margins/margins/she works in the margins.” Louise Erdrich has one by the same maker that says “she just wants to play Bingo.” Her husband gave it to her when she finished writing Bingo Palace. The only time we met, Ms. Erdrich and I were both wearing our strange pins. Charmed by the coincidence, I was eager to make something auspicious of it; but it was to be several years, when I was on my first geocaching foray, before portent condensed into something like sense.

The first cache Rob and I looked for was at Lone Mountain, Nevada, on the border between Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert. It’s about to be a subdivision; but until construction is complete, this land is absolutely liminal—no longer wilderness, not yet absorbed into one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States.

Finding the cache wasn’t easy. We fumbled to interpret the GPS readings. We disagreed about the circle of confusion. We needed the extra clues provided on the Website. Even with the clues, it took us an hour to scour thirty feet. Finally, Rob found it—a length of PVC tubing filled with toys. We left a disposable camera, took a refrigerator magnet, added our names to a long list of visitors. But the whole while, I felt uneasy, imagined the people playing on the patch of green below were watching us, suspicious. We left just as the cops arrived, and our frustrations fueled a vague guilt that perhaps we’d been trespassing that whole time.

In the margins of the Bingo Palaces, it began.

In such margins, all begins.

Copyright © 2002, Photographic Resource Center, Inc.