Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Dream Spaces

I haven't tried incorporating content from my dream analysis archive into my artwork since the attempt I made in 2011 with See You In My Dreams, but I have been thinking a lot lately about the idealized spaces of our dreams, both in the context of the constructions we experience via our subconscious mind, and in the spaces we create for ourselves in waking life.

I'm thinking in terms of safe spaces, of the utopic, ideal spaces that function as an escape from the forces that plague us socially and politically (misogyny/ patriarchy, racism/colonialism/xenophobia, classism/capitalism, etc.).  I don't think I am alone in craving an escape from systems and constructs that seek to limit my capacities as a human being in the world, but what's been troubling me lately is the knowledge that anything we create for ourselves exists as a product of our existence within the context of those structures.  The struggle to actualize an uncompromised self free of the impositions and dictates of the oppressive prevailing hegemony is a struggle because it is fundamentally impossible to be totally free of those impositions and dictates.  Who we are is shaped and informed by the systems within which we attempt to function.  Creations seeking to break away from the dynamics making us miserable are still functionally reactionary.  Maybe that is OK, but it feels burdensome.

This relates to thoughts I'm having about the dreams we experience at night while we sleep--even within the spaces, scenarios, narratives created solely by and for me/ my mind/ my unconscious, the fact is that they are ultimately shaped/ informed by the experiences I have in my waking life. The seemingly limitless/ boundless space of my own mind are in fact neither limitless nor boundless; the experiences I have within my dreams are shaped by those I have without.

This is not a surprise--it makes sense, and I acknowledge that the limitations of our experience/ the filter of our perception is what provides the foundation for the capacity to dream at all.  But it is frustrating to imagine what would be better, but only within the confines of what is.

What would a completely free space look like?  How would we establish the notion of Who We Are if everything were completely new and free from the context of history or connotational perception?  I don't know, but I'd like to experience that for a change.  I am pretty sick of things as they are--of observing fucked up realities with only the hope of slow progress toward an adjusted version, years down the line.  I want to encounter the world anew, without all of the misguided impositions that obscure and contaminate what is possible.  Why do we continue to abide by structures that make zero sense/ make us miserable/ doom us all on a fundamental level?  Why were these structures conceived of and enacted in the first place? By and for whom?  Not me.  Not the vast majority of the people I know, love, and respect.

I suppose the solution lies in continuing to dream--in creating and advocate for better spaces and narratives, until those become the foundational reality from which new dreams are formed.  Maybe I'm just too impatient, but it feels so urgent, and the urgency is the direct result of how taxing so many aspects of daily existence can be.  I've been thinking lately that my drawings might be an outlet for/ direct representation of that process.  The absurdly labor-intensive/ time-consuming effort to reconstruct the existing surface, bit by bit--mining that surface for facets that can be incorporated into a new and altered structure, functioning within my own system.  I think my digital projects probably adhere to the same general motivation--functioning within existing structures/ incorporating the signifiers of existing structures, but attempting to subvert them/ use them in ways that serve my own process of discovery.  Maybe I would like to try to construct another dream space, but I don't think direct content from my dream narratives are necessary anymore.  I'd like to try building a space made out of a drawing system.  That was the initial impulse for Creep Along--to be able to stand inside of one of my drawings, but that piece became kind of muddled toward the end--the materials were wrong I think.

Anyway, art-making is my best shot/ the outlet that has brought me closest to achieving some sense of satisfaction within the murky struggles with what sucks about reality.  I'll just keep repeating the Cesar A. Cruz paraphrase "art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable," as a mantra...

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