Romeo & Julia #5 raised many questions for me. Aleksander Väljamäe, representing science in the project, said right in the beginning of the show that the performance had been devised for my brain. Meaning that the performance was supposed to affect my subconscious mind in a way which I might not be able to grasp consciously. Okay, then again the piece had been dedicated to the functioning of my brain only partially, the rest of it was just art targeting a coherent and consciously reflective spectator (the latter being an assumption). However, how to write about a piece targeting my brain and not me personally? How to analyse the unconscious processes generated in my brain by an encounter with this piece?
I decided that the most accessible method, available to me at home, was dreaming. This “survey” here has in no way any aspiration to be scientific. I have no means to discern clearly nor make any claims about whether and to what extent my dreams were influenced by the series of images shown in the experiments conducted during the performance, by the piece as a whole streamed on-line / seen on stage, by the artist talk later on, or by any other experience, knowledge, memory, physical condition etc.
Premiere of “Romeo & Julia #5” at Baltoscandal, 1st of July
I was taking the festival bus back home after the show and I was feeling really nauseous. Usually, I don’t get sick on buses, but I did that night. The strawberry cake and the freshly made pickles I had eaten that day might have got into a fight in my stomach. The heavy nausea didn’t allow me to forget, even for a moment, the physical reality and my subsequent sleep was strongly influenced by that condition as well. I couldn’t recall any of my dreams.
“Romeo & Julia #5” live streamed via the elektron.live platform, 12th of October
I went to bed with great expectations, but for some reason woke up at 2 am already. Had I seen a bad dream? I couldn’t tell. Anyhow, for some inexplicable reason I was feeling very anxious. I made myself a cup of soothing herbal tea in order to get quickly back to dreaming, but I couldn't fall asleep again at all. I stayed up until the morning.
“Romeo & Julia #5” at Kanuti Gildi SAAL, 16th of October
I was watching the performance in the venue and I also stayed on for the subsequent artist talk.
That evening I no longer wanted to take any chances with the dreaming. I set my alarm clock for 2.30 am, 4.30 am, and 6.30 am, thus hoping to capture the endings of REM sleep cycles. Each time I woke up, I wrote down the dream and went back to sleep.
Alarm I at 2.30 am
I was walking around in a shabby factory building. It was a cloudy autumn day, but it wasn’t raining. I was climbing on piles of rubble mixed with rubbish, I was looking for something. I felt hopeful, I was not frightened. In some parts of the building there were huge holes in the floor, so I could see the lower levels. There were a lot of people moving around in the ruins alongside me, some of them were simply standing there, we were led by a tour guide. We were all wearing long black coats. I couldn’t hear much of what the guide was saying.
Alarm II at 4.30 am
My cat came back to the house, its back was covered with fallen leaves and clinging burs. I was caressing absentmindedly its yellow fur, plucking out the leaves. Plucking and plucking, there were a lot of leaves there. At some point I gazed down on it and noticed its bare pink skin appearing. I had plucked out its fur along with the leaves. The cat, now bald, was running merrily around the room and didn’t mind at all what had just happened.
Alarm III at 6.30 am
The Bad Guys entered my house to steal a secret weapon which looked like a box full of green marbles. I escaped through the back door and hid the box under the staircase. Then I jumped over a wire fence - it was so easy that I was surprised by it even in my sleep - then I ran on all fours down through the dark streets in Tartu with the aim to gain as much distance as possible between myself and the Bad Guys. I thought they were pursuing me, at least for a while, but I didn’t see them once. I reached Annelinn, entered a house. I was hoping to hide myself into the nearest apartment accessible. There were 7 well-dressed and friendly maidens and women busying about in the apartment. They offered me some tea and food. I was not worried anymore about the weapon. I stayed there chatting with them until I woke up.