Helen Chang

I N S O M N I A

The Epitome of Waiting

Those dreadful nights in which you close your eyes, restfully lying in the comfort of your bed, only to find your hyperactive brain entering its own world without regards to your need for sleep. Your body grows desperate to reach that REM sleep where it could finally dissociate from this abominable rouge brain and cease to obey all incoming commands. It wants to be autonomous, be motionless, be rested. The longing turns seconds into minutes, and the relativity of time has never been so conspicuous.

“Shhhhh,” the body says to the brain.

But, of course, the egocentric brain eludes all sleep-related desires as it continues to dance away in its wonderland, deserting the body to its own aggravation. So, the body waits. It waits as its breathing becomes sighs, as its muscles crawl with a numbing tingle, and as its heat transforms the inside of the blanket into a disagreeable sauna.

Meanwhile, in the brain, it untimely ponders the identity of its host, the meaning of life, the vastness of the universe, and that one thing it forgot to put on the to-do list earlier in the day. Where is this lucidity and efficiency in the day time, Brain?

So the waiting continues, slowly and seemingly indefinitely as the self-perpetuating anxiety disseminates through all the neural pathways. Then, in a snippet of a moment, through an abrupt disengagement of time and context, the unconsciousness pulls the shades over the consciousness, suppressing the wonderland into the dreams, and containing the dreadfulness in a cage. But all is not lost: for the next night, they will be released all over again.

 

 

Insomnia, 2020. Video.

"https://youtu.be/qFvuo649bTU"

So you think you can relax? Try again.

 

L ———- I —— N —————E———-S

Repetition of

Lines                Lines                Lines                Lines

Lines                Lines                Lines                Lines

Lines                Lines                Lines                Lines

Lines                Lines                Lines                Lines

 

Spacetime Continuum, 2019. Yarn, digital print.

We travel down points in time

of the space-time continuum,

but what actually passes?

Our consciousness does not linger, but time does.

If we warp time,

do we meet ourselves in the past? in the future? in the present?

Reality is a construction of our mind,

so where does the physical nature of time exist?

 

 

………………..A Line is tiny dots extremely close to each other

 

 

       

Time’s Up, 2019. Vinyl print installation.

 

Our brain is not as smart

or as clear-sighted as it seems.

Senses can be played on,

quite easily.

Elements form elements,

but just in our mind.

Labels are arbitrary,

LINES are arbitrary.

We make them form shapes, numbers,

bigger numbers,

and still, at the microscopic level,

they are electrons and protons.

So where does time fit in?

The philosophy of 11:59

is the construct conditioned by the rule setter.

We are the receiver of the message

and the bearer of the stress.

All of which

derived from our own perceptions.

 

I N T E N T I O N S

Messy
Interruptive

Emotive

+  whichever attitude I feel like sprinkling on my work.

 

 

Oober Life, 2020. Video.

"https://youtu.be/EtafSES99Pw"

Quarantine days,

how’s your appetite?

We submit to the convenience of online platforms while we sacrifice the livelihood of small restaurant owners. Perhaps understandably: we barely have our own lives together; grasping our sanity on one hand and a whole lot of emptiness on the other, all while trying to move on with our lives. Our mind is attacked constantly and so is our body. So hello, anything that makes my life easier!

But, how do we take other people into consideration?      ?????          ?????????????

J     UST I   FI  E  D               SE   LFI    SH N E   SS

 

VS./IS              H    U    MAN      I     T Y

 

 

           
You’ve Missed The Point, 2019. Photography, wire.

 

How can we justify the society and the reality?

 

We are nudged into a system based on collective agreement and historical progress (“progress”).

 

What are we ultimately aiming for? — Before we all burn out from exhaustion—

 

Some may call this the existential crisis,
but labels,
it doesn’t justify feelings.

 

R E S O L U T I O N

 

In the midst of trying to fall asleep, pulsating recollections float to the surface of the brain.

“How did I come to be?”

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, grew up in Shanghai, studied in a Singaporean international school, attended university in the US, and currently parked back in the Taipei retreating from COVID. So where do I belong? (which supposedly underlies who I am) I’m convinced I desire the drift and embrace the chaos; the changes and the heterogeneity, they fuel my motivation. The dopamine reward pathway lights up like it propels my aliveness into the future. A high intensity of stimulation is enticing. In reality, any stimulus all around you, regardless of intensity, have the potential to implant ideas in your mind, yet your attention might not capture exactly what they are. So, I observe, and I contemplate, and I embrace.

Emotions: they reside in Brain and Body, yet still are as mysterious as sounds are to a newborn baby. And now it haunts my thoughts and mocks my physiology as I attempted to lay perfectly still.

“Stop!”, we yelled, but efforts as such are always futile.

Give in then. Give in to how Brain operates, how Body responds, how everything is arbitrary, how the sounds slowly fade and the thoughts gradually recede… … … … Good Night, for now. Until tomorrow, you shall be left in peace.

 

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Helen Chang by Timea Tihanyi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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