Sunday, July 1, 2012
Virginia had created hundreds of cassette tapes and on each she would state the date and sometimes the tapes connection to others she had recorded in the past. For example she might say "December 1st 2007, tape 45 a continuation to tape 73." In some cases the numerical order didn't actually relate to the chronological order. Virginia has a remarkable memory though and in her mind she kept the order clear, but in being blind she was not always able to find the correct tapes she needed.
Virginia struggles against what she calls her left and right side. Two sides which are forever battling for dominance. She has discovered, over time, that a complex method of placing pressures or avoiding interaction with parts of her body will reduce her symptoms. In this cassette she talks a bit about her "breakers" or the means she uses to alleviate some of her problems. The way she interacts with her left and right side not only affect how she physically feels or functions but also it directly can affect what happens in her outside reality as well. So for example if she picks up her coffee cup with her left hand perhaps the voices in her mind stay at bay or she has better balance or feels more collected and comfortable.
If by accident she picks up the coffee cup with her right hand then things in her world can become unstable. So for example if she picks up the cup in her right hand then at that exact time a car might pull in her driveway where a person starts banging on her front door alarming her. Or perhaps using her right side causes the feral cats to aggressively scratch her when she feeds them. She catalogues to herself all these occurrences and has found a means to counter them by putting pressures at points on her body. She may tie her left shoe very tight or put pressure on her wrist with elastic bands. It is a balancing act for her which allows her to manage these symptoms. My rational side wonders how these could do anything, but then medicine has many examples of pressure point treatment. A massage therapist often treats areas of the body by working on seemingly unrelated muscles far from the affected area. The acupuncturist has practiced for centuries and mapped out complex connections all through the body. Perhaps Virginia has found a way to alleviate her illness in this manner either psychologically or physically.
Over her life people found Virginia to be strange and in the 50's many just saw her as being "difficult". She is well aware that talking about these things to others has, for the most part, done nothing more than caused her to be ostracized from society. She is a rational person dealing with the irrational. When we talk she is hesitant to speak of some of these things because she knows they sound crazy, but she has never flinched from trying to figure out just why her life proceeded as it did. Why did she have to deal with these struggles where it seemed easy for everyone else. She lived in a constant self diagnosis and was her own doctor.
Virginia Alone is now open on Immersiva and is also currently being shown on a monitor at the Santa Fe new media festival.