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ISOLATION PROJECT / FOOTPRINTS
An immersive conversation with solitude.
Living alone for two weeks and a half at a Chapel in a town called Ojós (EYES) south of Spain.
Thinking, dreaming, remembering and feeling with the Valley of the Sierra del Ricote.
Disorientation might be one of the most uncomfortable sensations we can feel. It trigger our awareness in regards to safety, worth and personal agency. I enter at the Sankt Gertrauden hospital at the eye care section, for an appointment I had book three months ago. It took me a while to find my way to where I had to be, after waiting for my turn at the secretary desk, I stumble into one detail. I miss a paper from my eye doctor where he asks for an evaluation in regards to my polar cataracts development.
I had been waiting for this evaluation with some expectation for so long, and the mix feelings that raise, from me probably having lost this paper, triggers me to a remind of the inadequacy I had felt so present growing up trying to see as a “normal” person. I try to call my doctor, that is busy on an operation room, the vision frontier meets my language barrier with German. I feel helpless, I sit at the corridor, around me all the folks are probably in their 70s + years, I get overwhelmed and start crying. I have a very strong image in my mind of wanting to have company, but knowing that no one can step with me into this fog that my vision is turning into. The sensation of isolation the image gives me touch so many deep places that dialog with disconnection, the fear of loosing bearings and being lost and ultimately loosing the ability of being resourceful towards life. Of giving it up.
When I arrive to the metro station, I recall a thought I had while in Spain, for my isolation residency. The though was: Ground your loss of sight, as you ground on earth. Earth is ultimately dark as a substance, but endless powerful and creative.
Even though I felt defeated, to remind myself of the creative ground and the possibility of turning loss of vision into a process of connection rather then isolation, helped me to take few deep breaths and get a new evaluation appointment for months to come. My eye sight has its time, and Im not rushing, willing to follow new rhythms… I gotta take my sight for beyond myself… Im trying, stumbling metaphorically and also in real life, but figuring it out…
At the Isolation residency at AADK Spain, I wanted to place research attention to study about the hippocampus, a brain structure that participate in our ability to imagine, remember and is involved in our orientation/navigation system. During the research I came across a theory of anthropology that addresses to our ability of navigation, the evolutionary success of homo sapiens, mostly because it allowed us to establish and cultivate large social networks. We could track locations and share information about food, shelter, possible danger, look for support and potential mates. Most of us won’t ever live extreme situations where our lives can be threatened if we aren’t able to navigate properly, but nevertheless to know ones placement and having a sense of direction to where to go next, can deeply inform not just our sense of safety, but also our sense of purpose. Being lost is also cognitively stressful, and metaphorically being lost in life can bring daunting and overwhelming feelings. As more I study about the visual process and our skill of being guide by light, more I notice that our whole anatomy is a continuation of its surroundings on a persistent willingness of finding connection and interaction. The thoughts of integration of oneself in an environment is sooting to the adaptive process of being with the world regardless of visual accuracy. The residency made me reflect on loving kinships, phototropism (the way plants guide themselves towards the light, where branches and trunks become a documentation of solar motion), geological time, emotional geography and how its a cultural loss to stop or lessen the chances of interaction with a landscape. Our process of meaning making is so intertwine with the land that does not come as a surprise how our psychological states are influenced by where we find ourselves. New correlations and metaphors are born out of observations of our surroundings, for example, I realise that my urge of working with stones and rocks was reflecting the process of light diffraction in the development of my cataracts, Im crystallising the lenses of my both eyes. The mineral universe is also responsible for all our technologies of connection, from microchips and satellites to the process of exchange involving the cytoplasm and the extracellular environment at the cell membrane. I had expose few of my sensorial thinking process on a performance lecture at the very last day I spend in Isolation. The video above is a compilation of images, notes and some of the motion presented in this very last day to an audience that came to the Ermita del Campillo Mayes chapel where I was living, for a visit.
ISOLATION PROJECT / FOOTPRINTS, was a wish to research the ability of sensing by an immersive residency on solitude, living isolated for 20 days, and on darkness by exploring the landscape through night walks. Isolation and darkness connects us with the unknown that births simultaneously fears and hopes.
This residency is part of a quest to disassociate visual impairment with disability, and connect to a mode of sensing the world, that can bring expertise and isights to the social body.
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