Dream: The Crazy Artist's House

Dream 20021202, 5:00 AM:

The dream begins with me taking a tour of a huge house. It seems like it isn’t on the market – I think the realtor is a friend of mine and has just let me in to look at it. It feels almost like we’ve snuck in. We’re looking around, and the house is really huge and beautiful. I see a bunch of cool art supplies and drafting supplies; I remember some long sticks that remind me of automatic pencil leads in purple and pale grey. I know that the person who is putting the house on the market is not the artist… he’s another person who’s owned the house after the artist. The art supplies aren’t his – they belonged to the artist who owned the house before. There are also drafting supplies, and I know that these *do* belong to the owner of the house. I’m telling the guy who’s taking me through the house that if they do a sale of any sort, that I want to get some of the art supplies, because some of this stuff is hard to find. I am pointing at the long pencil leads, which are shades of pewter and gray and purple, and organized by color in bins.

We continue walking around the house, and as we tour, there are more and more people here. Someone approaches me and starts to ask me about doing an art project. He says that he knows I would be able to do this. It has to do with suspending some sort of a construct from the ceiling. I ask him if he has any images of how it was installed before; he says yes, and finds one to show me.

There is a large sloping hillside inside the house; it almost seems like a building within a building. The hillside is black, like it’s covered with a fabric or coating, and has a switchbacking path going up (or down) it. Along the pathway are different art objects – I remember vaguely that there were both pictures and sculptures, and I remember some wicker balls that were colored gold, but I don’t remember more details about the artwork. The path seems sort of tortuous – you have to walk a long way to get down, it doesn’t go directly. The guy is trying to find the pieces of the construct that he wants me to put together. I finally figure out that the construct is like a giant mask, a portrait of the artist’s face in profile; there is a picture of it wrapped around a huge self-portrait sculpture, and it looks like a mask, shaped like a plus sign, on her face. When it was hanging from the ceiling, however, it’s almost the shape of a bird or bat, sort of abstract. It’s black pieces of stuff, they remind me of cork board or wetsuit material. It’s very large, like it would fill a room. There is a photo of the finished installation from before, and I am asking the guy if he knows what they hung it up with; I find a clear photo showing the detail, and it’s hung from the ceiling with these plastic pieces that look like striped soda straws (yellow and red stripes on white) and there are helium balloons hung up with the same plastic strings, so that the balloons disguise where the hanging mounts for the sculpture are. He’s excited; he says “Great, go ahead and get started on doing that!”

There are about 20 – 30 people in the house now, on tour looking at the artwork. Things begin to get strange – a huge painting that seems almost like a metal mural, all reds and coppers like a sunset, crashes into the outside of the house (like it was outside on display, and slammed against the house by a strong wind.) It seems like a hurricane, with things flying at the house, but there’s no wind, just the artwork attacking. The house is shaking and seems like it might fall; we start to leave through the doors, and there are huge staircases going down the outside. They are rectangular like a tall building’s stairwell, and have big brass or copper bannister rails. Someone tells us to slide down the bannisters, and I realize that they’re connected all the way down. People start sliding down them to get out. I get on one, and go down and around. When I get outside, I am running from the building, and run through an area that seems like a service entrance, with dumpsters and chain link fencing, and then across the street to the school. Everybody has gathered here for safety.

Then, we are watching the house from inside the school. The house is in horrible shape, the artwork is still striking the house from the outside, and it seems like it’s the spirit of the artist attacking the building. Then, a black woman who is there with us at the school runs back over to the house, and opens the door and screams, as if she’s seeing something horrific inside, but I don’t have any idea what. Then, another black woman goes over, and without apparent change I’m back in the house watching her. She is going through this pattern running along the floor in circles, along what appear to be completely unconnected ramps along the floor. But as she runs along them, I realize that from above, it would be a spiral path like a labyrinth. There are a bunch of short walls, about six inches wide and two feet tall that break up the room, and once I realize that she’s following the pattern, it falls on the outlines of parts of it. She goes through a whole set that rises upward as it narrows, then another spiral that goes down as it widens back out. She has recognized the pattern, and realizes the story that the artwork is telling as she travels along the path, viewing the different pieces of artwork. It seems that in the correct sequence, they make sense. She points to a purple chair at the bottom of one of the paths, and says something about how the artist comes back down to her vagina.

Somehow the woman figuring out the puzzle has released the story somehow, and the attack from the artwork suddenly stops. She goes all the way up one side, and all the way down the opposite side, going in and then back out of the spiral.

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