Thursday, June 11, 2009


In my understanding of the Celtic Cross spread in Tarot card readings, the second to last position (just down from the top of the "staff") indicates the querent's "hopes and fears." In my limited experience reading Tarot (especially for other people) I always really liked this card position. At its simplest level, it left up to interpretation (of context, of the actual card itself) whether a "hope" or a "fear" was indicated. At a deeper level, though, I thought this was one of those profound insights the Tarot is so famous for -- in this case, that what you most hope for might also be what you most fear and vice versa. Or, put another way, that there is a deep connection and meaningful relationship between our fears and our hopes.

This sort of Tarot inspired observation changed my relationship to beings like, say, spiders. From an early age I have been an arachnophobe. Not an extreme arachnophobe, surely, but past a certain size and within a certain proximity, I find myself paralyzed with fear before the eight-legged creepy crawlies. Either despite this fear or because of it, I am also fascinated by spiders. In part, this fascination is like picking at a scab: Does this scare me? Does this? How about this? On one level, it signifies a compulsion to poke at and explore limits, to better understand something I seem unable to control. But I think there is more to it -- fear indicating a kind of fascination, a locus of interest. Either as cause or result of my fear, the spider is for me (and so many others) an archetypal image, a dream symbol. The meaning of "spider" exceeds the materiality of the creatures themselves -- and the fear of them is certainly "non-rational" (if not exactly "irrational").

So, these are the observations I take with me as I enter @Platea's third on-line art project: "hopes/dreams/fears". The project seeks to explore something as innocuous as a social networking status update as a location for recording our hopes, our fears, our dreams. Perhaps that's what they always do. But in this exercise, we gather in both RL and digital social gatherings the h/d/f statements of people such that they might be sutured together in a virtual profile of our collective aspirations and anxieties -- in other words, a map (or perhaps only a brochure) of our dreams.

As with all of these "crowdsourced," on-line art projects, there is an openness to what constitutes a hope, a fear, or a dream. People will offer these statements as they will. My particular interest is in hearing folks address the prompt as if there are no backslashes between the terms -- as if they run together. What is your hope that is also a fear? What is your dream that embodies both elements of desire and anxiety? As the Tarot suggests, before we can predict the future (however loosely) we must address and assess our hopes AND/or fears.

Follow the link above to find out how to contribute your own hopes/dreams/fears. Or, if that seems like too much of a commitment, feel free to leave an h/d/f statement in the comments section below (along with your hometown and a name to call you by) and I will make sure it is submitted. H/d/f statements will be broadcast on the h/d/f facebook page during the month of July, along with other artwork and documentation inspired by the project.

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