BEYOND Residency. Allenheads Contemporary Art Centre. 2018.
OUTSTATION #1 : A participatory event held between sunset and nightfall on the summer solstice 2018. Coleman and Hodges imagined an alternative history of the Soviet Space Program using the well-established Soviet technique of rewriting history to suit prevailing narratives. A fictional department was inserted into The Yuri A. Gagarin State Scientific Research-and-Testing Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City near Moscow during the early years of the first Space Programme. From 1962 – 1967, led by the enigmatic Dr Gregor Kormarov, The Department of Deep Navigation researched the psychological aspects of space flight. From novel forms of navigation and experiments with theta brainwaves to the analysis of Cosmonauts dreams, the department explored the internal journeys that Cosmonauts were making and looked for the deeper drives beneath the human need to explore beyond the horizon.There was extensive experimentation and research into altered states of consciousness and physical and philosophical exploration into the nature of time and space and the Jungian concept of the Collective Unconscious.
OUTSTATION #2 : 21 July 2018. A night time road trip through collapsing time zones, alternate histories and possible futures. This participatory journey deploys methods developed by the Department of Deep Navigation, a fictional body within the Soviet Space Programme. The Field Trip was accompanied by an Exhibition at The School House Gallery.
OUTSTATION #3 : A JOURNEY THROUGH INNER SPACE – From 23rd July 2018. Using ideas and concepts developed during OUTSTATION #1 & #2, Coleman and Hodges invited audiences into the closest experience to floating in outer space as is possible on Earth; a flotation tank deep in the middle of a city. Flotation tanks are small rooms or tanks filled with shallow supersaturated salt water at the same temperature as human skin. The room is sound-proofed and light fast. Once inside, the user floats in the silent darkness. All sensory stimulation is removed, even the sense of gravity. In the absence of external stimulation the brain very quickly stops seeking external clues and looks inward and the user sinks into a deep relaxed state; the hypnagogic state, the condition between wakefulness and dreaming. A float session can be used for a profound interior journey; the isolation tank creating a state of ultra deep relaxation and lucid thinking – a place for re-thinking self. As part of the experience, the artists have created The New Compass, a set of divination cards used before starting the float that act as visual cues to guide participants on their journey.
Examples from the set of ‘The New Compass’ Cards. Wet plate photography by Kyna Hodges