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A Hypnotic Work of Art

Danilo Correale, At Work’s End, Installation View at Art in General, Photo: Dario Lasagni.


"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring -
it was peace."

- Milan Kundera

 
Last winter I was approached by the Italian artist Danilo Correale to collaborate on a script and recording for a work of art using hypnosis. In the style of the self-help and guided meditation records popular in the 1960s and 1970s, he wanted to help exhibition-goers imagine an idea that has long captured the sci-fi imagination: a future so technologically advanced that human labor is obsolete. Why hypnosis? The artist writes that maybe this vision “begins in the realm of sleep - in the temporalities and spaces where we are momentarily freed…”

I was intrigued immediately. He had also recently completed another work exploring the social implications of sleep, which spoke to my interest in how our ideas about sleep can be influenced by society and learned unconsciously.

Collaboration on a hypnosis script to capture an artist’s vision is a unique experience for any hypnotist, and it was also my first time in the recording studio. The finished work is a two-part vinyl LP in a gatefold cover with interior artwork and written work.

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Danilo Correale, Reverie. On the liberation from work. Deluxe Gatefold Record 180gr, plus Insert, Ed. 400, Signed and Numbered C.sy Danilo Correale.



The project gave me a perfect opportunity to be creative with my interest in hypnosis techniques using a fixed gaze. Side B instructs the listener to look at a blue dot, which is included in album on a transparency poster. The dot becomes associated with a state of stillness, stability, and presence. The listener is asked repeatedly to close the eyes and imagine falling backward, then to open the eyes and gain stability by looking at the blue dot and remembering the state of presence.
 
This work also caused me to think even more about the reduction of work-related stress using hypnosis. Many people seek hypnosis to address stress from work-related issues, such as too much work, a hurried and/or long schedule, pressure to perform, interactions with supervisors and coworkers, inadequate compensation, and feeling held back or unfulfilled. This project looked at the other side of work-related stress: the thoughts and feelings that arise from being at leisure. One of the most interesting comments mentioned to me came from a couple who, after emerging from the work, remarked how relevant it was to them because they had both recently retired. Who we are and what we do for work shapes our lives, our schedules, and how we see ourselves and are seen by others. I hope this undertaking ultimately helps people to remember their identities beyond work.
 
From September 28–November 9, 2017 “Reverie On the Liberation from Work” is the core work in an Exhibition entitled At Work’s End, commissioned by Art in General. You enter a gentle purple light, pass beyond a Majestic Purple Curtain into two separate chambers corresponding to Side A and Side B of the record, recline in lounge chairs created by the artist, and go into hypnosis.

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Danilo Correale, At Work’s End, Installation View at Art in General, Photo: Dario Lasagni.