There was an unearthly quality to the atmosphere inside the Frieze New York art fair, like the air in a plane—still but pressurized, with an unsettling hum—when the fiction writer Ottessa Moshfegh visited to speak about her work one afternoon in May. “I hate this fair already,” she said when she walked in, handing her ticket to a very tall, very pale man dressed entirely in black lace. Almost immediately, she was lost in the labyrinth of works for sale: Takashi Murakami’s lurid blond plastic milkmaids with long legs and erect nipples; the words “any messages?” spelled out in neon tubing. It was like an enactment of the world inhabited by the protagonist of Moshfegh’s forthcoming novel, “My Year of Rest and Relaxation,” who works at a gallery in Chelsea, amid objects like a quarter-million-dollar “pair of toy monkeys made using human pubic hair,” with camera penises poking out from their fur. “Did I do this?” Moshfegh said, only half kidding. She sometimes gets the sense that she has the power to conjure reality through her writing.

Firstly Who is saying this sentence? The writer of this text? Or Moshfegh? (I did not think so) or a vague voice from neon tubing?

Secondly spell out is different form spell? Does it mean a n y m a s s a g e s ?

Spelling alphabet by robot inside the tube?

Thirdly, is there any connection between this and the next sentence when it is talking about “enactment” If yes can you paraphrase it please?

  • Part of your questions can be answered by looking up "spell out" in a dictionary, and part of it by Googling Murakami's work (don't know for sure but probably NSFW) and "neon tubing". I'm not sure what remains points out a real issue regarding parsing the sentences so you should edit your post to clarify what your main concern is. – M.A.R. Jan 8 '19 at 1:07

Except for the part in quotes, no one is speaking the text. The writer simply describes what this character is observing and experiencing.

To "spell out" something can mean out loud, or it can be figurative. In this case the neon tubing is a work of art that has been shaped into letters, that together spell out the words "any messages".

Another example:

The infatuated young man hired a pilot to go up and spell out his love's name in skywriting.

There is little difference between "spell" and "spell out", although adding "out" suggests spelling more slowly and carefully.

"Listen, Dolores," the young man said with obvious ardor. "I'm crazy about you. I always have been, and always will be. Do you need me to spell it out for you? Because I will," he added, pointing up to where the words "I love you Dolores" were clearly written against the clear blue sky.

The sentence describing the neon tubing has nothing to do with the next sentence. The writer is simply remarking on some of the unusual artworks that were at the exhibition.

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