[the lower third of a jar filled with pink, blue and black sparkles of varying sizes. A dinosaur buries it's head, like an ostridge, in the glitter]
[a table filled with a kettle, clear glue, glitter, glycerin, paper towels and empty jars. directions on how to make a glitter jar are posted above, on a red posterboard, which reads: How to make a glitter jar 1. pick a jar 2. put some hot(ish) water in the jar (see diagram) 3. put a bunch of glue in the jar 4. probably put some more glue in 5. add a dash of glycerin (we don't really know what this does, it's probably optional) 6. add your glitter! 7. mix / add more water / mix 8. make sure the lid is on tight in the corner of the poster, is a drawing of a jar, with relative measures of how much water, glue, glitter, and glycerin are needed. approximately half of the jar is full of water, the layer of glitter is a centimeter thick, and a quarter of the jar is glue (with a note that it may be more than a quarter, - this depends on how slowly you would like the glitter to fall - more glue, slower glitter fall) (additional instructions not included - glue on the lid if you like)]
We spent a lot of time curating sensory experience, by experiencing and considering how taste, smell, deep pressure, movement, touch, sound and visuals could be Mad encounters in our home. We shared hurt in our bodies, of pain, and of injury that prevents movement and it’s triggering effects. We brought foam rollers, and weighted balls, and spikey sensory toys to love our bodies up. Alexis invited us to have rags lying around “if/when we need to weep on the floor - then we can clean the spot where our heads need to lay weeping.” We considered the sensorial discomfort of germs and sticky hands and scented wipes. We felt. We taped plastic to the baseboards and it stuck to our bare feet as we painted as high as our fingertips could stretch.
Folding and cutting and gluing. Laying down, cushioned by spongy yoga mats in the pink glow of the tent. Bending and reaching and ripping and reading. Dirt under fingernails from digging in soil. Gently holding tiny plants with their roots exposed. Sometimes we invited sensation through the disruption or dislocation of physical spaces in our home. We shared about crossed brain wires, synesthesia: “orange is the color of three, and I hate threes” (dales). We played with synesthetic use of space: we spread food across the floor of the living room; the fridge was a site of nourishment, not of the food variety, but rather hosting our ‘wanted ads’ and ‘survival toolkit’; we collapsed bedrooms and offices; we talked to bananas in the bathroom; we displayed flowers in the dishwasher and invitations to shove dishes in the oven (to an audio-recorded proclamation of “shove it! good job!”). Born out of dragging mattresses into the kitchen, cooking naked, and having sick queer crip sex, we included a giant bean bag that took up the entire floorspace of the kitchen. As we (want to) do every day, we maddened our physical space, existed madly in our bodies (or out of them), and shared about ourselves, each other, and our worlds from these madly embodi-minded encounters.
[a circular glass table on a red(ish) deck sidewalk chalk, bubbles, gardening gloves, transplanting pots in a rainbow array of colors, a purple watering can, and plastic containers with tiny sprouted plant babies: lavender, basil, oregano, thyme, and black pansies]
To me, the Mad sensory worlding done in Mad Home is what Ahmed (2017) calls a “sweaty concept: another way of being pulled out from a shattering experience” (p. 12-13). Ahmed writes: "A concept is worldly, but it is also a reorientation to a world, a way of turning things around, a different slant on the same thing. More specifically, a sweaty concept is one that comes out of a description of a body that is not at home in the world. By this I mean description as angle or point of view: a description of how it feels not to be at home in a world, or a description of the world from the point of view of not being at home in it. Sweat is bodily; we might sweat more during more strenuous and muscular activity. A sweaty concept might come out of a bodily experience that is trying. The task is to stay with the difficulty, to keep exploring and exposing the difficulty…Sweaty concepts are also generated by the practical experience of coming up against a world, or the practical experience of trying to transform a world." (p. 13-14, emphasis added) We got sweaty in our work transforming our world. We invited others we trusted to get sweaty with us. We worked to acknowledge that trauma, and ‘mental’ distress, is in our bodies, of our bodies. In some instances, creating with and for trauma became more central than creating with and for madness (if these are even separable). We worked to make home for our trauma bodies. We invited sensory utopias that make space for trauma, and that sometimes offer embodied ways of being “pulled out from a shattering experience,” integrating healing and living through non-pathologizing and non-prescriptive sensory worlding (Ahmed, 2017, p. 12-13).