Photos by Jordan Hutchings. Exhibition space, and Ononharoia dream performance acted out by Julie McCann.
For Basic Operation, Johanna Leech created work in reaction to Andrew Salomone’s (Wifi Nightlight drawing) and Ben Kinsley’s (Ononharoia story) proposals. At first these two proposals did not seem to connect with each other, but during the project the work started to overlap in the gallery space.
The wifi routers were gathered from an online callout. Leech drew each one, and played with their composition in the gallery. She worked with artist Robin Price to manipulate the routers to change their light patterns, which was made into a video. Two routers have been completely taken apart and which are now a light piece.
Observations: Are these wifi routers like little creatures in our homes that protect and look over us? Why do people keep them when they are rendered out of date and are worthless? Does having electronic equipment on at night mess with our brains/dreams?
Native American Thrift Store Shrine
This shrine was put together from items Leech had collected whilst in the States in 2013 from her ‘Mini Museum’ collection. This is in reaction to the Ononharoia piece.
Through an online questionnaire Leech captured people’s dreams, receiving 25 submissions. They are represented in the space as text pieces and a selection will be performed on the closing event by Julie McCann. The performance changes the audience into a tribe that is taking part in Ononharoia who can guess what dreams McCann is performing.
The Ononharoia (literally, “turning the brain upside down”), referred to as the Feast of Fools by early missionaries, was an annual dream-sharing festival of the Iroquois.(A Native American confederacy inhabiting New York State, originally composed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples, known as the Five Nations.) During the Ononharoia, “men and women rushed madly from cabin to cabin, acting out their dreams in charades and demanding the dream be guessed and satisfied”. The dreams shared at the festival expressed some desire and were related in the form of a riddle. Often the community supported the dreamers in fulfilling their dream wishes, although violent, aggressive desires against other members of the community were more frequently acted out in pantomime. Twentieth-century writers have observed that traditional Iroquois dream speculation has much in common with the ideas of Sigmund Freud, particularly the notion that dreams reveal repressed desires that, if not dealt with in some fashion, poison the psyche of the dreamer. From this perspective, the Ononharoia was an occasion for what could be characterized as community psychotherapy.”