“My eyes are shut. I am pure unconsciousness. They already cut the umbilical cord: I am unattached in the universe. I don’t think but feel the it. With my eyes I blindly seek the breast: I want thick milk. No one taught me to want. But I already want. I’m lying with my eyes open looking at the ceiling. Inside is the darkness. An I that pulses already forms. There are sunflowers. There is tall wheat. I is.”1
Your hands are holding this book, feeling its weight pressing down on your palms. Your fingers glide over the paper of its pages, you feel their texture tickle the skin of your fingertips.
Your eyes are closed, you hear a droning humming sound, a rhythm you recognise from somewhere, you heard it before. You feel the pressure of your clothes and shoes, the blood running through your arteries, the air you exhale as it is warming your hands, your tongue heavy in your mouth, a habitual taste as you swallow.2
Through closed lids, your retinas perceive a change in light. When you open your eyes, your gaze meets a wafting shape, an orange rhombus, the contours of which flicker away as the entity shifts shape ever so slowly. You blink. Again. A form reminiscent of a plant appears, an organic structure with leaves, only to fade again.
In the centre of your field of vision, a vertical slit is widening until it gapes wide open, giving way like a portal to another sphere. It slowly grows only to recede and give room to another image, like a hypnotic tunnel sucking you in. A chill, a swelling of the limb. A hormone is released in your body, oxytocin forming trust. Background becomes foreground. Vibrrrrrate, ziggg zaggg, before you slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to…
You try to figure out if the visions flow from an echo before or a reverb after they occur. Is the pane opening up or closing down? Fast forward, rewind, where did you leave the keys? The sequence of occurrences turns blurry; chronology has no room in this place.
You close your eyes to encounter darkness. Black, soothing.
Open up, wide, bright.
Now pixels are shimmering as if moved by heat, like a fata morgana making the air melt and jiggle its liquid dance. A landscape appears, still, and yet in constant movement, like the alpha waves of your brain when in a relaxed state.
Eyes closed, open now.
The sequence takes on the shape of a score, rigid on paper and organic when made to sound. You see the music unfold optically before your eyes. The intensity grows, like a Sufi drumming away into trance, like electronic beats, bpm, repeat, repeat.
– Stefanie Hessler
1 Clarice Lispector (1973/2012), “Água Viva”, New York: New Directions, p. 30.
2 This section is inspired by William James (1890/1931), “The Principles of Psychology”, New York: Henry Holt & Company, p. 455.