A travel to a sensuous world on the dark side.
I am feeling scared, unsafe and disoriented after entering this other world. The gloomy surroundings with very little ligth, dark heavy curtains from floor to ceiling is between me and the outside world.
The space is indeed very sensuous but in a completely other way than I expected. When I first heard and read about Gry Worre Hallberg’s vision of creating a more sensuous society, it resonated within me. Yes! Using the aestetics to create a better world, with more play and joy underlined by beautiful surroundings. I was in for a surprise, when I last week entered Sisters Hope Home as a researcher/artist/educator. I knew it would probably be a quite extreme experience but the atmosphere of the place was so different, than I expected. I was guidet blindfoldet by the poetic self members of the staff through ‘my new home’, where I was to spend 4 cycles (5 days) doing research on how to make a more sensuous society, contributing with my artistic perspectives.
What I found was a place with super strict guidelines. I was told what to do and when. I was blindfoldet and had very little opportunity to move around freely. There were little or no talking. Little or no eye contact. No sight of what was outside. No information on what was going to happen. No sight of time, since no electronics were allowed in the home. It was a complete loss of control. Together with the other visitors I took part in sessions made by the poetic self staff members. I didn’t know who the others were, and they didn’t know me. There were a lot of physical interactions, but since I did not feel safe in theese surroundings it felt very transgressive.
Alongside the other visitors I followed the rituals of the day. It had a very slow pace: looking, eating, waiting, sessions, sleeping. Carpets everywhere, soft ground under naked feet. Everybody moved very slowly in the gloomy surroundings. In every room sound came from loudspeakers with music or voices, also underlining the spooky atmosphere. Who were they the poetic self creatures living in this house? Dressed in other ways than one would normaly in the outside world. Moving in another way and using another language and number system. Who where they?
Sister. The whole organisation of: Sister – Octopus – staff members – researcher – visitor seemed like a hierarchical system. I as a researcher had to ask for permission for everything. So that it wouldn’t go against the Sisters Hope Home set of guidelines. For going outside I had to be blindfoldet and escorted by a staffmember. I thought I was entering a place which would encourage a more democratic exploration of the sensuous, instead I found myself at a place with strong vibes of being in a sect.
After 26 hours of not knowing what, when, how and who, finaly we as researchers were welcomed into the Sisters Hope Home by (half of) the Octopus. Our presence was recognised and we could ask quetions on how to make sessions where, when and with who. We would be able to move around more freely and less blindfoldet. Still every lunch we as researchers were parted from the rest of the staff to eat with only one of the staffmembers. I had decidet to leave, since I really didn’t like it there. This opened up for conversations with both staff, researchers and visitors. After the talks I decidet to stay and to do the sessions I had prepared for. Doing sessions in the Sisters Hope Home had the quality of a strong focus. The little use of light and the low speaking made us come closer together in the spaces. The sensations of touching materials and smelling them was highlighted. I love doing workshops and it was deffently a relief to again be in power of what, how and when. The surroundings inspired to do my session in another way than usual. The visitors were inspired and happy. I was more relieved and happy.
I did have many good experiences and meetings at Sisters Hope Home. Because of the people there. The people were nice, very nice, caring, curious and open. It was the system I did not like, the strict rules, the dark and sombre surrounding, which for me led me through emotions of fear, sadness, anger, stress, exhaustion and illness. After leaving I ask myself: Was it worth it? Should I have left after the first cycle?
Out on the other side
The first days of being outside in the real world was quite extreme, since my way of sensing the world had changed.
Notes from the days after:
”Sleeping indoor with closed curtains in the daytime. Eating simple food. Eating very slowly. Tasting every ingredient. Feeling the material in my mouth. Drinking slowly. Tasting the water. Walking bare feet. Feeling the ground under my feet. People are watching me with my shoes in my hand. I cannot move very fast. My pace is very slow. Like sleepwalking. Like being awake and asleep at the same time. The world is overhwelming. Other people are overwhelming.
Moving towards normality: ‘Forcing’ myself to go outdoor, to meet with friends, to let the light come in again, into my home, into my body. Trying to reset my senses to fit with the world outside of Sisters Hope Home.
I am moving towards cleansing myself from the transgressive experiences at Sisters Hope Home.”.
One and a half years ago I went thorugh an operation, which meant that I was hospitaliced for 5 days. Waking up completely drugged after the long operation, I could not feel my feet. I could not read, talking was too overwhelming, my whole body was hurting. I could not feel my feet. I didn’t have grounding. I was out of my body, out of myself. The first days after leaving Sisters Hope Home I felt like I was in a similar state. Being out of myself and with a hurt body.
With Love to all inhabitors at Sisters Hope Home
Rulle aka Julie Bach