Holding Our Nerves—Experiments in Dispersed Collective Silence, Waking Sleep and Autotheoretical Confession

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Abstract

As part of my practice-based research, I host a monthly radio show based on the principle of ‘waking sleep’, resulting in a largely silent experiment in dispersed communion with an audience. Silence—though frowned upon in standard broadcasting—has long been a feature of artworks from Marina Abramović (1973–present), to John Cage’s 4′33 (1952), to Gillian Wearing’s Sixty MinutesSilence (1996). The power of collective silence is harnessed by many doctrines: in Quaker meetings for worship, in the practice of Zen Buddhism, and in the Memorial observance of a minute’s silence. The practice of ‘waking sleep’ was coined by Ned Hallowell M.D. as a means of refreshing the brain and combatting the effects of ADHD. It is simply the act of letting the mind wander, without feeding it the next dopamine hit from a stimulant like a conversation or screen-scroll. Holding My Nerve is a radio show, and an ongoing autotheoretical artwork. It is part-field recording, part-endurance performance, and tracks my research process as it evolves. Using transcripts of the show, diaristic writing, and reflections on art history and my past works, this article explores the often-fraught relationships between autotheory, visual art, neurodivergence, and practice-based research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number75
Number of pages18
JournalArts
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022

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