Breath Pulse Thread
This has been such a preoccupation for me over the last months.
When we lose our ability to communicate and to understand the communication of others do we lose our selves? What makes us who we are? Do we need to have coherent thoughts and self reflection to be human or are random flickers of cognition enough for us to be human?
I had always thought of dementia as a slow un knitting of a human and the soul would be released when the unravelling meets the tight knot at the start of the thread. A quick tug to release the knot would dislodge the soul to continue its journey. But if a soul is knitted around then what is the fibre made of?
For some months I have been living with souls at both ends of the yarn. Two who came too early and needed to develop some stuffing and one who had stayed so long she didn’t know how to let go. Patterns of communication had become a preoccupation for me, watching for signs, feeling for changes, listening for changes of breath, involuntary body responses which could signal progress or decline. It has been like looking for signs of autumn and spring in the same place and time.
Only the new ones are staying to make the most of the spring. Faint weak mewings are becoming hearty cries and eyes that seemed unfocussed and unseeing are following movement and voices with emerging sureness. Where before machines communicated all their bodily functions, their voices are subtly training our minds to focus on new codes. Rhythm and routine are providing for them a faith in life, reinforced by soft caresses and kisses and soothing murmuring and songs that accompany every little interaction.
The anxious energy has been channelled into scribblings that I have finally been able to pick over and organise into a story of sorts. These will be available for viewing in an exhibition at 69 Smith st Gallery in Fitzroy beginning Sept 30th, my first solo exhibition and quite a surprise to me. The exhibition will run for 3 weeks until October 18th. See 69 Smith St Gallery on Facebook.