Wednesday, December 19, 2018

THE EMBRYO BETWEEN REAL AND ONEIRIC

There was a place, strongly linked to my existence, in which the reality I was living in day by day reflected the cohesion between the real and the imaginary, hallucinatingly exposing my own fears. A

There was a place, strongly linked to my existence, in which the reality I was living in day by day reflected the cohesion between the real and the imaginary, hallucinatingly exposing my own fears. A place where the ordinary became in fact the seed of a tense state, through the strange mixture of objects, smells and shapes, defining the existence of a hidden breath. I can’t, after all I have lived in that place, stop questioning myself regarding the reality we perceive and the role that the imaginary has in shaping it.

I remember that place, my grandparent’s house, so ramshackle and dark that any wind blow made the walls vibrate in a strange hissing. The mountain home let itself be surrounded in its numerous rooms by strange sensations, given by old objects, all too dusted, by the uncertain sound of the worn wooden floor and the cold air in which a dark vibration hovered. The door of the ground floor summer kitchen, where there was also a sofa, stood always open, leaving the smell of red roses to mingle with that of the food. I could feel yourself hit by a sleepiness sensation, and then you would fell into an abyssal, dreamless sleep.

The dark breath of the house could be felt once you went up the 3 stairs towards the intimate area where you could find a huge bedroom, connected to a kitchen, and after several more steps, 3 bedrooms lined up along a hallway.

The night would set heavily each time, waking up every fear a person holds deep inside them. Including mine.

The path to the bathroom seemed to get lost in the depth of the darkness. Every window in the hall was always covered by a heavy dark green curtain, which blocked any light from outside. In both ends of the hallway, the shadow sank into an abyss which could have been hiding my greatest fear: the Wolf.

Each room of the house had its contribution to my nightmares, becoming so well defined, that I could name each place by the feeling it gave me.

The dark breath of the house could be felt once you went up the 3 stairs towards the intimate area where you could find a huge bedroom, connected to a kitchen, and after several more steps, 3 bedrooms lined up along a hallway.

The night would set heavily each time, waking up every fear a person holds deep inside them. Including mine.

The path to the bathroom seemed to get lost in the depth of the darkness. Every window in the hall was always covered by a heavy dark green curtain, which blocked any light from outside. In both ends of the hallway, the shadow sank into an abyss which could have been hiding my greatest fear: the Wolf.

Each room of the house had its contribution to my nightmares, becoming so well defined, that I could name each place by the feeling it gave me.

The summer kitchen was the place where we would always gather, laugh and play games. It was intoxicating to see how the time seemed to stop under the soothing sound of crickets in the yard. Through its harmony, everything seemed to predict, the terror of the night.

I can tell now that the feeling I had in that house is similar to the one that Magritte’s painting, The Birth of the Idol, gives me. The balance and the domestic seem well anchored in a tumultuous sea against the night sky, but always under the imminent danger of disintegration. The symbol of the mirror reflecting the violence of waves, highlights the idea of a dark force inside the protected space.

In a bedroom, heated by the fireplace as the mountain frostiness would envelope the nature like a claw, I would lay in the cold bed, obsessively staring at a painting. It was a replication of The Last Supper, hanging on the wall, which I would stare at under the diffuse light of a distant glow-lamp, until the walls in the painting became a red sky with white clouds violently carried by a non-existent wind. Clouds had a hypnotic movement that would make me daydream. I wonder what that bloody sky meant and which one of my nightmares was the reason for the verisimilitude with which it had shown itself before my eyes?

Like in that painting, in which the walls were dissolving gradually towards being confused with the red, limitless, sky, the walls of my bedroom seemed immersed in shadow, which, as the dim light of the light bulb let itself be covered by the darkness, made the space seem infinite, intermingling with the night sky.

The mysterious dialogue between the room, as a shelter-space, and the unknown, is showed in the painting The childhood of Icarus, by René Magritte, by the opening of the inner space to the infinity of the outer world. Motives such as the window, the opening towards the nature and the way the sky is included in the frame, show the latent danger surrounding the domestic. I see the rush of the rider towards the unknown, as a thirst for knowledge, but, at the same time, as a vain attempt of escaping from fear and uncertainty, as they find a nook both in human nature and in the world around it.

The meat used to be stored in the narrow, claustrophobic pantry, soaking the walls of the entire house with a heavy smell. The white walls, covered in grease, were the background of the meat hung in hooks and of old objects, crowded on cracked wooden shelves and in eternally closed cabinets.

This way, the strange sensation converted bit by bit into fear, from the dizzying courtyard of roses, into the rooms that were always carrying their own load, up to the enclosed space inside the cabinets. The impression of an unknown life, hidden in the forgotten cabinets and into the dark attic, gave me chills at night when I was walking along to hallway, guiding myself by the diffuse silhouette of those green curtains, while the heavy smell of meat hung in the humid air.

The impression of a strange presence, amplified precisely by its absence, can be felt in this picture of the Savoye Villa. The meat, food that goes into putrefaction, is left on the kitchen table as if it was to be consummated or was left behind on purpose. The open door gives the impression of an invisible movement, of a hidden presence calling the viewer to discover the rest of the habitable space.

The attic was a place no one ever went in anymore. The staircase taking to that strange place was defined as a mean of initiation before entering a forgotten space, that somehow belonged to an unknown entity. The furniture that was tossed there, the holes in the roof through which water was leaking and the smell of mothball were actually highlighting the absence of a human presence, defining a lost, unwanted space. It seemed as the attic was yet another room of the house, with its own vibration, but which belonged, however, to a spirit which should not be invaded.

One night, my grandpa forbidden me to go in one of the rooms upstairs, because there, he said, was a wolf. There were nights when I expected to hear it howl from the gnawed wooden room, which was on the verge of collapsing over the repository below. Sometimes, I would look between the cracks in the planks in order to see the beast, but all I could see was an empty room, inclined, oriented towards the pine forest. But at night I could feel the beast breathing, more and more with each step I took towards the end of the hallway. I knew it was there. I could not run because the weight of my steps would have crushed the planks of the floor and I would have fallen into a darkness on the cold ground. I couldn’t go quietly, because fear would have caught me so hard that it would have frozen me in the claws of a night beast. I would walk fast, following the silhouette of the curtains, breathing heavily into the air full with the smell of meat and listening to the tense silence which made my eyes tremble in search of a sound. Suddenly, the image of a wolf is reflected in the glass of a window. I froze gazing into the beast’s eyes shining like two starts on a night sky. I screamed horrified and my scream wiped away the bloody and hungry figure of a living nightmare.

In shaping my dark visions from that house, every smell, texture and configurations of a real space, scene of scarring vibration, have contributed. The hall which seemed endless, covered in darkness in both ends and where you could always fell the strange feeling of «something» indefinite, the day – night rhythm and the succession of spatial and inner experiences imposed by it, have accentuated primal fears, such as those related to darkness or claustrophobia.

Deeply rooted in our minds and always covered in mystery, the irrational shapes the scene of a reality meant to explore both the universe of human interiority, and that of the infinite possibilities of the world we live. Any space becomes, through the man’s attempt of taking it as a shelter against the unknown, the reflexion of his own inner thoughts, becoming, at the same time, a space of manifestation for primary fears. The path to both knowledge of the world, and to the understanding of our own being is gravelled in a reality where the rational and irrational stop opposing each other, and rather intertwine.

 

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