Gabby Miller, “Second Sleep”
Friday, September 15, 2017, 6-8pm
Dates: September 15 – October 21, 2017
Gallery Hours: Wed-Saturday, 12-5 and by appointment.
Let me be a boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood.*
Miller will create an installation of hundreds of hand-built wooden meditation benches. The gallery will function as a temporary meditation hall with spontaneous and planned events in the space.
“This is a moment of great unrest and wakefulness. Use the poison of this world to fuel your practice” my teacher says.
Miller has created work using heavy-crude bunker oil and other materials gathered while she crossed The Pacific Ocean from Oakland on a container ship. “Second Sleep” looks at the relationships between the global supply chain, imperialism and environmental degradation, and attempts to imagine a world through their ruins.
“Second Sleep” can come after hours of quiet wakefulness.
Before the Industrial Revolution, most people in Western Society experienced two major intervals of sleep, punctuated by an hour or more of quiet wakefulness. The succeeding interval was called “Second Sleep”. “In the in-between-time people wrote down their dreams, talked with or had sex with their bedfellows, took part in magic rituals, or sometimes went to visit their neighbors by candlelight.” **
A meditation practice, especially sitting together with others, can give us access to moments of quiet wakefulness, glimpses of the possibility of collective liberation.
A major project for Miller involved crossing the Pacific Ocean on a containership. During that time, she got to know crew members and painted portraits of their loved ones at home for them using heavy crude oil and ink. Collaborating with the crew, they held an exhibition in the swimming pool room of the ship. Since disembarking, she continues to work with a supply of heavy crude oil extracted from the ships engine, as well as exploring alternate energy sources. This project was funded by the Asian Cultural Council and culminated in a exhibition at Nha San Collective in Hanoi and a residency at Random Parts Gallery in Oakland.
Practice Benches (A Boat, A Raft, A Bridge for Those Who Wish to Cross The Flood) are hand-built from found or donated wood. While she installs, Miller will be present for meditation and invites visitors to join in the sessions. The benches are for sale for anyone who would like to buy them for whatever price works for the buyer, using the “Gift Economics” model, an alternate to a consumer mentalist that encourages a mindset of generosity, sustainability and community empowerment.
* from “The Bodhisattva Way” by Shantideva
** from “At Day’s Close: Night in Time’s Past” by Robert Ekirch