Signs* form a language but not the one you think you know.
My performance has been over for 9 days now and it feels like it continues. I feel like I am being watched still, but in a more spiritual sense. Of the 14 days, I was only able to actively dream and recall some dreams a third of the time. I was only about to astral project on two nights. I probably dreamed more but it felt like regular or monotonous scenes or a little too similar to regular life. I wish I had limited my access to technology more but if I were to do this performance again, I would not be working and have more strict rules and a different space. I plan to continue this body of work. The entries are long and I recommend skipping to Night 2, Day 8, and Day 10. I have edited some names, omitted more personal entries, and added some more notes to clarify some thoughts and ideas.
My process was this:
1. Begin around midnight, start with my pendulum asking for guidance.
2. Do a tarot reading for myself.
3. Begin to read.
4. Once I cannot stay awake anymore, fall asleep.
5. Wake up at 7AM (this interestingly happened naturally)
6. At 7AM, I would either try to create a new installation on my wall or write down any dreams I had, or begin to practice my astral projection exercise.
7. At 11AM, I would wake up and journal my experience.
8. At Noon, I begin my regular day in my “non-performative” state.
I’ll highlight some dates from beginning to end:
Before night before the performance begins: November 29, 2015 9:50AM
I woke up in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep. I was able to imagine myself astral projecting. It could have been me dreaming of a dream if that makes sense. I remember seeing many colors on the brighter, pastel range of colors, many shapes, and squiggles. I saw I prep for the Big Show. A bunch of people had put it too high. It was funny because I was just observing; I wasn’t physically present. The room, Pozen was also broken up, kind of like a scene from the Labyrinth or more like an M.C. Escher print.
I drifted out of that room and ended up back in a variation of my restaurant. I waited on a family: a son and their parents. The family was religious and praying on an overturned trashcan. I watched and critiqued the way they prayed, I wanted to make sure everything was okay, in the sense of being a server. My alarm went off at 9AM.
Gallery Install/Night 1: November 30, 2015 (no time specified)
This is a modified entry.
The last 24 hours have seemed productive. I had a slow start heading to the gallery. I did laundry first. I tested the camera. I was actually quite lazy and tried to stay on the Internet longer. Thankfully, I’ll be limiting my time on social media during the next couple of weeks. I also need to limit how often I check my phone and the notifications.
Let me create my ideal schedule:
o Sleep 6AM-11AM
o Get ready for work/workout 12-2:30PM (Internet access 1-3PM)
o Work (3-11PM)
o Guitar (11PM-Midnight)
o Crystal/Tarot reading Midnight-1AM
o If sleepy, take a nap but set an alarm
o Read/installation change
o Astral Project/Lucid Dream
o Wake up and Journal.
I forgot to incorporate eating. I’ll eat healthier for the next couple of weeks, hopefully vegan.
I saw Marilyn Arsem at the MFA, yesterday after running into some friends at MassArt and nearby. At the MFA, I checked in my things and had a really soggy Caprese sandwich; I wish I drank water. By the time I got to Marilyn, I sat down and felt like I was going to throw up. That feeling passed thankfully. I had arrived around 3PM and stayed with Marilyn until the end. I didn’t recognize anyone, which I think was nice. At around 3:30PM, I got up closer to investigate. It’s so funny with intimate performances how people, general audience, don’t know how to interact with the artist. I love Marilyn’s work that asked for participation and conversation. Before I went up, I thought, “Are those small quail eggs?” Eventually, I deduced they were acorns, but from far away, it was hard to tell. It’s so funny that at an encyclopedic museum, it’s tough to get people to carefully investigate smaller objects let alone in a performance. I also appreciate that with Marilyn’s pieces, there isn’t a museum guide who will tell you how to experience the performance.
When I finally got up, I sheepishly waved to Marilyn and said “hi.” Marilyn then opened up and said, “Which seed will sprout first?” I pointed to the one on the far left of Marilyn because it was upright. She agreed because it had a crack. So there were three subjects of observation: one acorn with a special plant light, one with water, and one with dirt. Marilyn was creating dirt by crushing up the leaves. The top of this acorn was special because it had a crack with a clock-like image, 4 o’clock.
In the last 45 minutes, people began to frantically try to experience and walk through the museum. I felt the gaze of the security guard. I saw one older woman who smiled at me when coming into the space and she sat down next to me. I told her, “you can go up to Marilyn, and she will talk to you.” So this woman did just that, and in effect it created a chain reaction where everyone came up to Marilyn with closer observation and questions. This lasted for about 15 minutes. I giggled because I totally intervened and Marilyn smiled at me.
At 4 o’clock, I filmed Marilyn; we had a moment thinking about that marking on that acorn top. Something bothered me about this Day 20 piece: I always associate and think of Bob Raymond in all of her work such as referencing the empty chair, lone black shawl, and her rings. The 3 subjects: Past, Present, and Future. Sometimes, I feel so much death around her work and I feel native to fully understand Marilyn’s process and concepts. I think that Marilyn has accepted the idea of life/death in such profound ways. Her performances reflect that more than any other performance work that I’ve seen anyone else do. There’s timelessness and a no boundary-ness. So Gestalt. I love her so much!
Back at home, I was tired. The lighting in the gallery at the MFA makes me sleepy. I put in my application for a performance festival. I highly doubt it will be accepted but if it is, I’ll be grateful and I can continue to share this new piece that will become a series.
I began this performance around 8PM. I created a chart from this Ken Wilber text called “No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth,” Fig. 1 SPECTRUM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. I did my crystal and tarot reading and began to read No Boundary. Of course, I fell asleep. Several times, I woke up throughout the night and would begin to read again.
Here are my notes for the text when I woke up fully the next day:
1. Who am I? Sense of Identity
2. “Reality is a union of opposites or ‘nondualities”
3. “Everything and every event is interdependent but also interrelated.”
4. No boundary real world = unity consciousness
5. Present ≠ infinity.
Day 2: December 1, 2015 12:34PM
I worked last night, and I went out last night. I had one beer. I broke my rule. I came home and did my routine: I played guitar, I talked with my pendulum, and I studied my tarot and did a love reading for myself. I will not share this reading on here.
I began my readings with “Cities and Signs,” a loose leaf that I procured from a friend. I read it out loud. It’s really beautiful and cryptic. The line “Crabs were biting the eyes of the suicides,” is so morbidly beautiful. I ultimately chose to use a line from this short text as part of the installation:
SIGNS FORM A LANGUAGE, BUT NOT THE ONE YOU THINK YOU KNOW.
I believe this line has been resonating with me for some time now. Especially when it comes to seeking guidance through divination. I’m still feeling skeptical though because I know deep down, I already knew the answers to certain things already.
Any ways, I also read “So Much Wasted” by Patrick Anderson; an old text from my contemporary art history class I took a couple of years ago. It was nice because I got to revisit the piece that inspired me to begin this performance based on Adrian Piper’s pieces “Food for Spirit” and the “indexical present.” I also read Linda Montano’s piece “Endurance then and now,” so beautiful and inspirational. I had to capture this piece by reminding myself to ENDURE, which is also part of the installation now. I need to find a better way for writing on the wall. I also quickly read John Cage’s “Experimental Music.” I’ll have to reread that when the time comes in a more thorough manner. I’m also happy to reread “DOUBLE EXPOSURE,” a text about nudity versus nakedness. I actually just spent a lot of time ruminating on what Sandrine Schaefer has taught me over the years in all the classes I had with her. I am so sad to miss the final performance event of her class tomorrow.
Did I dream today?
I did but I can’t clearly remember. When I attempted to lucid dream, I was able to see images of people. I remember I. I think K was there. I was at MassArt, then at work. And then it gets fuzzy. It felt like I was going up a memory ladder. I wonder if I’ll have a sense of déjà vu later.
I’m excited about the prospect of future shows for the coming months. I’m hoping this piece will create a fruitful body of work.
Night 2: December 1, 2015 7:55AM
I had a nightmare, but before that I spoke to my mother. I heard her voice and she told me, “Things will be okay.” In my dream I was crying and asking for forgiveness, and I woke up in tears, sobbing. I went back to sleep still feeling sad about all of these things I kept inside. I was upset and went to a bar that was a cross between Lord Hobo and CBC. I ran into M. He only tried to briefly console me. He was trying to meet up with his friends and not me. I walked to work crying. Somehow M was there before me and I accidently called him by another name and specially said, “Or whatever your name is.” Then I ran into Y who asked me to work Sunday, which was special because we apparently were going to have a karaoke party. C was there as well. We were collectively trying to help Y pick a song and he drew a spiral, like one would do in playing M.A.S.H., to help pick this song.
Then somehow, I was transported to a bedroom, but not my own, perhaps what I sensed was my young brother’s room, or wherever I was staying. It was a cross between my sister’s new home and another familiar apartment.
I was in a bed looking at a mirror. I smudged through autowriting the word “UNSURE” and then wrote in gold paint a name that I can’t clearly remember nor want to repeat.
All of a sudden, after uttering that name to a person who was also in that space, I was transported to a movie-like scene. I saw a family through security footage. A young father was holding a young girl who was about 4 years old and had been crying before. Behind him was his older daughter who was about 6 or 7 years old. There was an aggressive banging at the door. The father opened the door and a young boy also about the age or 6 or 7 charges at the family. The boy was wild and rabid like a zombie almost, punching and biting everyone in sight. Everyone was screaming. I woke up in a panicked state and feeling like he had bit my lower back and behind.
Day 4: December 3, 2015 11:09AM (personal parts omitted)
I can’t remember any dreams from last night. I tried to practice asking, “What kind of art should I make for January?” I’ll have to re-phrase it. On a cool note, I pulled some cards for myself last night after asking about my art.
Past: Queen of Cups
Present: The Fool
Near Present: The Moon
I was overjoyed. I feel really good about what I’m doing even though my sleep pattern hasn’t drastically altered like I intended. I’ve been reading so much. My roommate Caitlin has been detrimental in helping me understand the meanings and various theories around dreams. I really do feel like I’m spiritually growing day to day and I’m not sure if I’ll actually be able to astral project but practicing writing down my dreams has been so helpful to understanding my subconscious.
I spent some time researching on dreams yesterday and I learned that hitting REM allows us to problem-solve in that dream-state, which would help during waking life for when the actual scenario occurs. I’ve been telling people about that crazy moment where I had an impeccable déjà vu about a table that would be difficult. When I got to that present moment, I recognized that they were in my dream and I was prepped for that moment for it to go smoothly and to take extra care with that situation. Dreams are powerful. I’ve been pretty sensitive to déjà vu as early as I could remember; another example is dreaming about taking tests and seeing the answers, and then the following week I would take that test and be confident in my answers. Perhaps dreams are an internal mechanism to help us cope with stress and survival.
I’ll try to analyze that dream from yesterday. The scary nightmare one.
What area of life do I need help in?
I think I needed healing from my family relationships and dynamics. Even thinking about my mother, in my subconscious I cannot forgive myself for not seeing her on good terms before she passed away. My emotional well-being in relation to trust is something I want to work on; I want to be able to communicate clearly while still genuine to my emotions and sense of morality. Currently, I’m trying to re-connect with my blood family. I feel guilt but relief about my ex’s family as well.
Setting of dream:
This familiar bedroom, but not my own room; it was a cross between my old room, what I imagine to be my sister’s new place in her guest room, and oddly a place I’ve never been to before. There was only a bed, one wall had a giant vanity or mirror, no windows. I heard a woman’s voice (I could not see this woman); she seemed to be guiding me. I felt weary, cautious, and curious.
Qualities of each person, place, thing:
- The voice: guidance, conversational, leading
- The little 4 year old girl: crying, passive, upset, scared, confused
- The father: stressed, consoling, protective, sacrificial
- The 7 year old girl: left behind, unprepared, scared
- The little boy: rapid, wild, violent, uncontrollable, possessed, scary, super human strength
- The mirror: “unsure” smear, I didn’t see my reflection, it was unsettling but I wasn’t scared after writing it
- The gold text/name: this was scary and very unsettling; triggering for the next scene
- The bed: like my own; real/dream working space
- The perspective: like I was observing through security camera but possibly a mother’s view
It happened so quickly and I was shocked from such a scene. I’d like to go back but I’m not quite sure what it means to go back.
I was autowriting with spiritual guidance and possibly conjured something. I could have been clairvoyant where I time-traveled to witness a horrific scene. It sounds like a bad movie.
In my performance, I’m trying to seek spiritual guidance and consolation. This is an attempt at dealing with emotional distraught with calm solution.
Waking life feelings:
Uncertainty, unknown, projection (psychology), in between/ transitional, skepticism, surviving sorrow and depression, feeling incompetent, looking for protection.
Gestalt: getting the bigger picture by imagining yourself as each part in conversation.
Voice: I was instigating a bit. I sort of knew what would happen. But I wanted you to try it out for yourself. I was just the incubator, something that came a little before you.
Me: I’m glad you showed me. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have tried. I didn’t feel tricked at all… more like opened to new information. Even it was scary.
Voice: I represent the clairvoyance in you. Like your Queen of Cups, I’ve got valuable information and wealth but it comes with time and not all at once.
Me: I’m not as naïve and I want to practice active listening. I’ll hear you out and we can learn together.
Father: I was trying to console the youngest daughter and multi-task. I heard the door and opened it without a thought. Actually, I thought it might be someone I knew or someone I was expecting.
Me: You were holding your 4 year old daughter who was upset. She seemed to be mostly comforted but still in your arms. Am I jealous?
Father: I’m just being a responsible parent. It’s what I know, what I’ve been doing. Protecting my little girls. There’s no sexual tension, but I may represent your daddy issues.
Me: Ouch. I just figured that out today. Now that I’m thinking about it, you remind me a bit of E.
Father: I don’t think that I’m a representation of E. But I’m that adult who was forced to grow up early and represent the masculine side of you: the absence of a true male figure that was positive and morally good.
Me: I could talk to you for hours. Thank you for protecting all of us. You’re strong.
7 year old Girl: I’m curious, even a bit bold. Is that my friend knocking at the door?
Me: I’m not sure, who would be your friend if they came over?
7 year old Girl: A boy that I like.
Me: Oh my goodness, you’re too young to like boys.
7 year old Girl: Well, I think he’s cool. But really, I just wanted to open the door, but dad had to open it. I don’t have permission yet.
Me: Yeah, it seems like you should stand back. Why did that little boy attack you?
7 year old Girl: I don’t know. But it hurt, and I was scared and sad. I didn’t want him to, but it happened.
Me: Are you okay?
7 year old Girl: I don’t know. I’m worried about the little boy. He seems to be more hurt than me.
Me: That’s okay. It’s really nice that you’re empathetic even though you got hurt.
7 year old Girl: I’m a little strong.
Me: You’re a lot strong!
7 year old Girl: Thank you!
4 year old Girl: I was crying before, not sure why, but I felt a little better. But then this happened.
Me: Do you like being held?
4 year old Girl: Yes, daddy is kind and strong.
Me: Can you walk on your own?
4 year old Girl: Yes, but I was upset and daddy picked me up. I was sad and then I was happy. But then I was scared because of the boy.
Me: Do you know that boy?
4 year old Girl: A little, he’s friends with my sister.
Me: Do you love your sister?
4 year old Girl: I do. She’s bigger and nicer and smarter.
Me: That’s really nice.
7 year old Boy: I’m scary, violent, aggressive, and uncontrollable. I should be foaming at the mouth.
Me: What happened? What’s wrong?
7 year old Boy: I don’t know but I have to get this out of my system. It hurts. I’m mad.
Me: Who did this to you?
7 year old Boy: You did. You called me over.
Me: Who are you?
7 year old Boy: I’m your aggression, your impatience, and your fear.
Me: How do I help you?
7 year old Boy: You really can’t. I’m not really all there. But I know what I want and I will take it.
Me: That’s not nice.
7 year old Boy: I’m not nice. But I can taught to be, just not right now.
Me: Why did you hurt/ attack everyone?
7 year old Boy: I don’t know. I just did it.
Me: Who hurt you? Who taught you to hurt others?
7 year old Boy: I just wanted to. I don’t know why.
Me: Can you stop hurting others?
7 year old Boy: Finish the dream.
Day 6: December 5, 2015 11:55AM
I’ve been having a hard time remembering my dreams. It’s not that I’m not having them. They’re just not as vivid as that other night. Perhaps, I’m not focusing enough or concentrating on the question I want resolved. Between my pendulum, tarot, and my research, I wonder where my dreams will take me. I’ve been asking a lot about love and art. I also wish I was in Miami right now.
I saw Marilyn yesterday. She was trying to crochet a mile for 6 hours. She was asking for jokes and ideas for her performance. I guess we don’t know things until it the right time, on the present, when we should experience, if that makes sense.
Experience: forms subject to perception.
Day 8: December 7, 2015 11:12AM
It feels like I’m not making art, but practicing art. I love my pendulum so much and I think they know it. Although like anyone, I feel like it may be sick of giving me love advice. My tarot readings have been very intriguing. Even when I thoroughly shuffle, the same cards keep showing up, which is absolutely beautiful. I respect the advice and guidance tarot gives. Sometimes my gut reaction to a card just doesn’t seem like enough though.
I also feel like haven’t been able to grasp any art content. I get inspired. I read about process, philosophy, and practice, but I almost find it unrelatable. I spend so much time at work that I find it difficult to focus on performance. I worry so much that I’m not actually creating. I’m just “well-rested.” I know I’m making something happen.
Perhaps, I’m not utilizing my learned exercises enough. I will try to actively perform tonight.
Day 9: December 8, 2015 11AM
Still can’t remember my dreams. I tried to remember the rope exercise I tried counting. I’m going to keep working. I’m going to start drawing on my sheets and cover perhaps. I’ve probably been working too much. When I do this again, I need to just perform and not work in a restaurant.
I’m going to finish “Journeys Out of the Body.” Tonight I plan on starting some Merleau-Ponty or perhaps Dewey.
Thursday and Friday are my last days. My pendulum told me I would be able to astral project.
Day 10: December 9, 2015 10:39AM
I had gone out last night. Came home at about 1:30AM. Skipped my rituals because earlier that day I gone to a friend’s place and we did tarot readings and had lunch.
Any ways, I’ve been waking up at about 7AM every day to force myself to practice astral projection, and today was a success in a form. I practiced my counting and visualized a rope. The rope was that you could find in a hardware store, a pale yellow rope about an inch thick. I imagined and saw my Second Body hands climb and pull on this rope. I counted over 100 and began to feel the vibrations, which were actually quite comforting. What was scary was this sensation of leaving my physical body.
I saw a giant red orb near the wall and it felt like looking inside others and myself. I was laying down sideways facing the wall. I felt afraid of the energy, so I wet back into my body. I came back and pushed myself to try again.
The second time was quicker. I tried to visualize going into the gallery, I don’t think I got too far. I saw some gray shadows and again became fearful. I went back to my body and feel into sleep. I want to try again for the next couple of days. The Monroe book was very helpful.
I just remembered I had a dream about watching a band play with some performance art nuances. There was cake. Z was there. The band was older and strangers. I remember staring at the guitarist who saw me looking at his guitars and pedals. I asked if he had a Rainbow Machine because the guitar he was playing was making strange noises. He said “no.” He then started to put bright orange sales stickers on his guitars, some of which did not have strings, for $25 each. I remember hanging out with friends and then seeing them off because they were playing a show elsewhere later that night farther away.