Child-like wonder, Einstein and the dream space

During summer seminar Anders Ruhwald spoke on materiality; about how materials hold agency within themselves, in site and in place and how materials can be both at the same time local and global connecting artists practices around the world.  Anders also commented that he perceived I was interested in the dream-space.  Both of these observations have provoked further reflection and analysis of my work.

When reflecting on the kinds of objects and materials I am using in my art-making there is a predilection of things (objects or materials) that are sparkly, shiny, silky and soft.    While I came up with several possible reasons for this trend, the most compelling idea to surface related to an inner awareness or ‘state of being’  which surfaces from time to time of child-like wonder.  The space of child-like wonder in apprehending the world also connects for me, to the dream space.  After a little searching I found I am in very good company!

“People like you and me never grow old,” he wrote a friend later in life. “We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

– Albert Einstein

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”

– Albert Einstein

The following text also strongly resonates due to similar flights of fancy as a child, points of entry into a dream-space.

“When I was small, I never wanted to step in puddles. Not because of any fear of drowned worms or wet stockings; I was by and large a grubby child, with a blissful disregard for filth of any kind.

It was because I couldn’t bring myself believe that, that perfect smooth expanse was no more than a thin-film of water over solid earth. I believed it was an opening into some fathomless space. Sometimes, seeing the tiny ripples caused by my approach, I thought the puddle impossibly deep, a bottomless sea in which the lazy coil of a tentacle and gleam of scale lay hidden, with the threat of huge bodies and sharp teeth adrift and silent in the far-down depths.

And then, looking down into reflection, I would see my own round face and frizzled hair against a featureless blue sweep, and think instead that the puddle was the entrance to another sky. If I stepped in there, I would drop at once, and keep on falling, on and on, into blue space.

The only time I would dare walk though a puddle was at twilight, when the evening stars came out. If I looked in the water and saw one lighted pinprick there, I could slash through unafraid–for if I should fall into the puddle and on into space, I could grab hold of the star as I passed, and be safe.

Even now, when I see a puddle in my path, my mind half-halts–though my feet do not–then hurries on, with only the echo of the though left behind.

What if, this time, you fall?

Diana Gabaldon, Voyager


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