Elinor O’Donovan

Awaken, Sleeping Heart   
El Sur, Mexico City   

“I lay on the bed with the window open to the summer night – I was as rapturously lonesome as you can be only in your mid-twenties – and I listened to the song and I was so moved I tried to communicate messages by means of telepathy to a girl who was at that moment sleeping across the city.”

Kevin Barry, from ‘The Raingod’s Green, Dark as Passion’.

‘Awaken, Sleeping Heart’ depicts the feeling of ‘blue hour’, the period of time after the sun sets, and before night falls, when the sky takes on a deep, dark blue color. This is a period of liminality, between night and day: it offers neither the bright, exposed, honesty of the day, nor fully the dark, cloaked, interiority of the night. It is a time when we return to our homes after a day’s work, and to ourselves after being with other people.
This in-between time mirrors the tension between being an individual and being a part of a network of relationships, and on a personal level the dialectical experience of interiority and exteriority: who I am to myself, and who I am to other people. It reflects the duality of craving solitude while simultaneously fearing loneliness.

Often in the beginning of a romantic relationship, many of us do the very terrible thing where, when we don’t know very much about the other person, we use our imaginations to fill in the gaps and project a fantasy person onto the real person who is the object of our desires. They become kinder, more interesting, more interested in us. The intensity of our feelings allows us to suspend our disbelief that this other person is actually perfectly ordinary. In ‘Awaken, Sleeping Heart’, I ask you to fall in love with paper, lightbulbs, and wooden boards. If you suspend your disbelief, these perfectly ordinary objects become romantic icons: paper and confetti become a night sky, a lightbulb is the moon, toy cars evoke night-time lovers.

elinor.odonovan (at) hotmail.com