Idiosyncratic Rituals and Places we Sleep

Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison are a husband-wife team of fine art photographers. They began collaborating on photographs shortly after graduate school, when they began constructing and choreographing scenarios about mans affect on the landscape. Robert ParkeHarrison says: “My photographs tell stories of loss, human struggle, and personal exploration within landscapes scarred by technology and over-use…. [I] strive to metaphorically and poetically link laborious actions, idiosyncratic rituals and strangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience.”

Of course, having spent almost a year laboring on a sci-fi series whose underlying theme was, “in the future, technology affects the human spirit,” I am a sucker for their work.  And having spent the better part of last year laboring on another sci-fi series – which takes place in the horribly overcrowded and overpopulated Afterlife – images like this one make me smile —

Sleeping quarters

I don’t know where my own obsession with beds and sleeping comes from. It predates my reading of “A la recherche du temps perdu“, Marcel Proust’s classic which begins with the words, “Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure…”  For a long time, I went to bed early.  I think back to some of the beds I slept in in my own childhood, one bed in particular which conjures up vivid images, tiny details, shadows and cracks in the plaster of the ceiling above me that appeared one night to be animals, another night to be the silhouette of a mysterious lurker.  There’s something about the places we lay ourselves down in, to sleep and, as the bard says, perchance to dream.

I think some of my best thinking – certainly my most twisted – has come near sleep.  In bed, thinking.  Or just free associating.  Loosening the fetters of rationality and letting my so-called mind run free.  Minds are like gardens in a way: they need to be watered, and given nourishment and perhaps sushine – the cerebral version of photosynthesis – for ideas, stories and other creative forms of communication – to grow.  And the things that grow,  sometimes, are not what you expected…

     Maybe it’s the fertilizer….or the minerals in the seed bed…maybe it’s layers of mental compost….but something is stirring in the soil….growing….

That tiny green head, emerging from the dark moist earth… and those tiny glowing green eyes.  They’re looking at me.  This can’t be happening….I must be asleep…..I’m dreaming…..I need to wake up.

Someone turn the lights on.  Please.  Do it now.  Before it….they….

too late

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