Performing a temp job that is anything but routine

One display in Tim Devin’s performance art piece, “The Everyday Exchange (A Celebration of Daily Routines),” resulted in a book of poems about dust. (Photos: Marc Levy)
Devin awaits visitors to the Meme Gallery in Central Square, where he performs “The Everyday Exchange (A Celebration of Daily Routines)” through Saturday night.

Tim Devin has a great job. Pass by 55 Norfolk St. in Cambridge’s Central Square and you’ll see him at his desk, sipping coffee and reading graphic novels amid blissful silence and pure white, sparsely decorated walls.

He does that from 1 to 8 p.m. through Friday, and from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Step inside and he might talk to you — this is part of his work — and make you a gift.

But this is not Devin’s office, actually. It’s the Meme Gallery, and what he’s doing inside is his art, for which he is using vacation time from his day job as a librarian.

“It’s performance art, so you have to be here,” Devin said.

On a recent day, he was there for about dozen passers-by over eight hours, and he interviewed three or four of them.

The performance art piece he is doing is called “The Everyday Exchange
(A Celebration of Daily Routines),” which is why the panels pinned to the walls, and the gifts below them, are all about such routine things as dusting, shopping and doing laundry.

“I don’t clean [my apartment] that much. I guess every week and a half, two weeks. More in the winter, because it’s more dusty in the winter because of my forced-air heat. Dust is weird,” says a card quoting Bruno, whom Devin gifted with a book of custom poems called “Dust.”

Paul got a timeline of his morning routine of smoking, drinking coffee and doing push-ups.

Karen got a play … about laundry.

Devin is appreciative of the chance to do his art in Meme, which has been open for about a year and has hosted such pieces as “The World Famous Secretary In For You,” in which Jessica Gath took dictation from visitors and sent letters for them. “Everyday Encounters” is one of the first shows to even have materials on the walls, Devin said.

“Meme is really unique that way,” he said. “They do things more traditional galleries wouldn’t let you do — for so long or so short a time.”

Meaning “The Everyday Exchange” ends Saturday at 10 p.m.

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