In 2022, during the Yume.Digital Dreams project, my collaborative partner Jon Sasaki sent me a photograph that he took in a hotel in Wakayama, Japan. “The room only had one little window and it opened to a 1 foot gap between my hotel and the adjacent building,” he said, “so the decorator installed a lightbox with a beautiful beach and mountain scene … it felt like a cheesy but effective workaround.” Then he asked, “if you had to spend 2 weeks in a room with no windows, what would your lightbox scene be?” 1
The first image that came to mind was a photograph of Takakkaw Falls — which has always felt like a powerful, spiritual place to me. But it was the second image that I knew was the one I’d want to have in a room with me. What I imagined was actually a composite of two images that I’ve worked with separately in the past — a photograph of melting glacial ice that I took at Athabasca Glacier, when I was there to work on my project a frail history: thirteen poems disguised as a passage, and an old photograph from the Meiji Era of a young woman riding a stuffed crane, which I worked with initially in my project until my body says sleep (Kokyo). In response to Jon’s question, I saw these two images in my mind as one . . . as a lingering . . . as something still in me, unfinished.
Many years ago, in Montréal, I woke from a dream of kanji characters inked down the side of my left hand. Since I couldn’t read kanji, I wasn’t able to truly understand what was written. And in getting out of bed, searching for a pencil to jot down their shapes, some of what I saw was lost. The sense I got from those kanji characters however and the feelings that surfaced, seemed to say something about the act of writing. There is something about this dream that continues to haunt me. ‘Haunt’ doesn’t quite describe the feeling, but I can’t seem to find a more accurate word. There is something about this dream that has been nagging at my mind for decades.
Now, in my seventies, I feel I need to give myself space and time to really be with the things that continue to linger in me, and that I sense are unfinished. And so, I am steeping myself into this still, not still project.
(Thursday, November 16th, 2023)