Article published in cafleurebon.com.
New York (sleep masks) by DAIDO MORIYAMA
When you’re awake, you’re awake.
When you’re asleep and you dream, the brain shuts off the wiring that makes you act out your dreams so that, you know, you don’t act out your dreams (thank you, brain). But when that valve is lazy and only shuts down half way, you’re one step closer to getting burned at the stake…because, my friends, that’s where sleepwalking happens.
Many witch-trial records and other early-modern documentations of witchcraft speak of this in-between space where knowledge is blurred to the point of irrelevance, while feelings are amplified as through a looking glass to appeal not only to our dreaming sensitivities, but our physiology – and so we sweat, we tickle, we arouse, we panic.
The first image of a black hole. BBC
Is this some sensorial purgatory? Some conceptual void? Some black hole of consciousness that not even Dr. Katie Bouman can photograph? Where there’s no self but a monumental, dense, immeasurably heavy mass of feelings? In my people’s folklore, the other side is a suspension state where some souls are awake but unable to move, and some, who are asleep, carry on acts the awake won’t even utter. Traveling there is relatively fluid: sometimes you gotta stop eating garlic and start frequenting cemeteries in the beautiful Transylvanian countryside; other times it involves the lively participation of a few very, very unfortunate chickens; other times still you kind of just cross the Styx assisted by a three-headed dog, and- bam!- you’re on the other side, awake and—in some cases—very much alive.
Tree tenants do not sleep – tree tenants wide awake by Friedensreich Hundertwasser
But what happens when you are the one building your own other side? When non-awakedness is not some myth and good marketing, but your own, perfectly custom-to-your-measure, mental black-but-kaleidoscopic hole? Apart from pleasure, it is only fear, from all other sensations, that we can create within ourselves within the span of seconds (amusement, sadness, even hunger take longer to develop and embrace). We generate adrenaline to stay out of trouble- but on the other side, trouble is what we make for ourselves when we’re dreaming what we don’t dare to live; dreams create fear and fear amplifies dreams and each feeds into the other until the cycle is complete and already overlapping the next REM. We so circle within our other side until, exhausted, we reach the depths of despair.
.She Came to Stay collage art—5 portraits—was created by Kirtland Ash
Timothy Han She Came to Stay is when you wake up. The relief is as tangible as the fear, borne not of some extraneous force but our own black holes of understanding, at once known and unfamiliar like some Capgras world. Seemingly simple, it opens with cloud of spice so intense it’s both mentholated and hot, supported by an herbal element built of delicate, sweet greenery: lavender; basil; marjoram; clover; hay. As it dissipates, you’re pulled with incredible force into a dense vortex of wood, so pure it causes organic reactions of recognition: cedar, birch, patchouli, vetiver, bitter tonka, potted geranium, pepper, and oakmoss blend seamlessly to paint a raw, clean, true fougere. Labdanum and what feels like styrax support the back, giving this a melty, smoky, hot-coal quality which imposes over the dreamy coolness of intent and pushes it, well, to the other side.
NOTE: the whole Timothy Han line (from which I first met, loved, and wore The Decay of the Angel), has the same supernova quality of density and wealth concentrated within a small breath of 100% vegetal ingredients.
Disclaimer: Sample of Timothy Han She Came To Stay kindly provided to review by Twisted Lily. My opinions are my own.
–dana sandu, Contributor