DREAMING THE ARABIAN SEA
THE TELEPATHY PROJECT / VERONICA KENT / SEAN PEOPLES
THE TELEPATHY PROJECT / VERONICA KENT & SEAN PEOPLES
Sean and I have been working together since 2006 as The Telepathy Project, making works that use alternative ways of knowing to tease out a range of interrelated questions around collaboration, intimacy and interpretation.
“DREAMING THE ARABIAN SEA” involved Sean and I collecting the dreams we had during a two-week residency in India. We then used these dreams as the raw material for a public performance where we attempted to transmit these dreams, in the form of short musical plays, via the Arabian Sea, to artists in Europe.
Everyday we would make a dream shopping list from the previous night’s best remembered dream and then source or make all the elements from the dream, which then became the props in a short play or musical number. We then performed 20 of these dream musicals on Juhu Beach in Bombay. While Sean and I attempted to enact our dreams, my 17-year-old daughter Mia sang and narrated each dream story, accompanied by a sitar player called JJ that we met in Bombay.
We made this performance to the Arabian Sea. The Sea was proposed as a medium that we hoped would carry our performance from India to our colleagues waiting beside bodies of water in Europe to receive and draw our performance. The Amsterdam contingent, led by Matthew Shannon, retreated indoors in the face of a snowstorm to perform their drawing event in a house overlooking a canal. Tsering and her friends in Barcelona set up camp on Barceloneta Beach, and Speech and What Archive braved the snow to make a receiving event on the banks of the Seine in Paris. (They all emailed scans of the drawings to us for analysis after the event).
Making the work in public in Bombay was quite an experience—sourcing and making the props and costumes while negotiating the city of Mumbai was an absurd and often grueling daily adventure, as was negotiating seemingly simple things via layers of obscure bureaucracy. The audience on the day consisted of hundreds and hundreds of men who slowly got closer and closer. Police arrived and were bribed to let us keep performing (and to keep the peace, which seemed to involve hitting people with sticks) and children stole our props before we had a chance to perform with them. When it was all over and we packed up and walked all of the (remaining) props back to a truck about 200 meters down the beach; our walk turned into a parade as the entire audience followed and watched us pack up and drive away.