• Alan Smith ACA

After meeting the satellites

Updated: Jun 1

Waking this morning I found echoes of my dreams in the notes on my desk that helped me realise that the words that have been in my head for the last 3 months were real, the feelings in my stomach tangible and my movement between actions have been mostly purposeful.


Today I travelled to Hexham for the first time in 3 months and the helmet and leather clad therapy proved successful. While there I confronted the risk of contamination for the reward of petrol and the Monster was dully filled and well exercised.

Speed and Information: Should I calculate how fast I was travelling by assessing the condition of an insect that has collided with me, or is a needle pointing at a number a more reliable way to be informed, but should I trust that information? Speed is a funny thing, apparently how we experience it is relative. Relative to what? I walk every day, the distance and time walking can vary a lot but strangely my recollection of the time and details of the walk don’t always reflect the duration of the walk. It is often the case that I recall more from a short walk than a long one. And while riding a speeding motorcycle my thinking doesn’t stop or slow, even though things around me are happening faster I am sure that I am not thinking faster, although reactions have to correspond with the speed - thinking faster at higher speeds… I guess that would make sense?


My trip out felt experientially very fresh. Over the last 3 months my awake time has felt like it's been involuntarily shifting between parallel zones of varying pace. It’s unclear what causes this state but, hour’s minutes and seconds are experienced in very different ways and over very contrarily realised periods. This makes for an uncomfortable understanding of where I exist in time and space and without the security blanket of a constant rhythm my ‘normal’ is disrupted and I struggle to understand what’s happened with time and space. Day by day and hour by hour there is an erratic swinging between the slowing down and speeding up of time and without a regular tempo I can find myself lost and less able to function or plan, this contributes to increased anxiety which can prevent me from performing positive actions.


This prompts questions like, should I resist my desire for a regular routine and embrace this experience of confinement by complying with my seemingly shrinking, physical, domestic space? While outside and beyond my horizon view, civilisation is apparently shape shifting, with many of the locked down humans dreaming of new ecologies and life styles.


I’m experiencing mood swings that weave between joyous and profoundly dark with all the shades in between I'm not sliding along a comfortable gradient, it’s more like playing Russian roulette with an emotional six shooter, each barrel loaded with a different sensitive state. It’s not easy to prepare for these random variants, they can suddenly sneak up with a bang or creep with rumblings boiling up through my intestines before reaching up and behind my eyes to filter my perception of the world in front of me. This can make understanding what my cognitive and physical experience of being is - and what it means to me even more difficult to unpick.

It’s unclear if this was the case before COVID-19 or if my more recent experience combined with listening to the experiences and feelings of others is fuelling my awake and dream time which is increasingly difficult to separate.


Or is it that I have more time to think and consider these otherwise ‘normal’ elements?

© 2018 Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 9HR

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