In Arundhati Roy’s article “The Pandemic is a Portal” published on April, 3 2020 she says,
Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
During this residency I will attempt to think about her statement by using the process of dream journaling, especially using drawing. I’m on a lot of chronic medication for mental illness and one of the many side effects is vivid dreaming. What is interesting to me is the way dreams open up another type of world, even though this world often times tortures me … I’m trapped, I can’t run or swim, whatever path I take leads me into a worse state and I keep thinking if I just do this one more thing it will get better, but it doesn’t… it gets worse and I’m deeper in it than before. This sense of there being no choice is the same as the anxiety provoking way capitalism functions. That said, when I make my drawings a world appears on the paper and I realize that there is something else at play… I see portals. There are holes in rocks, and pools of water, mirrors and doorways.
Portalling is a common mystical experience whereby one moves from one reality to another via an opening; a gate, an aperture or a tunnel. I am thinking about these portals in my dream world and the holes that appear, and that there maybe some solace and solutions found there… that they might help to, as Roy says “imagine (a) world anew”.