Jazmin Belle Snoswell

Conditioned Chaos Of Us

“I want to start with some mythical sense of 'the beginning.' In the beginning is chaos, the whirling, unpredictable movement of forces, vibratory oscillations that constitute the universe.”
— Elizabeth Grosz
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The first time that I mentally clocked these vibrations, these sensations, these intensities, this universal energy was during an anxiety attack on a silence retreat - and instead of lashing out, crying, screaming, disassociating, blaming - someone said to me - "lie down, and try and remember what this feels like."

Instead of being dictated by thoughts - use your mind to remember what this feeling of panic, fear, doom is. What ‘is’ this intensity within the experience of being?

When experiencing an attack you have an opportunity to observe ‘it’ for its ‘is-ness’. This experience of ‘aliveness’ that is seen as an illness, pain, suffering and dysfunction, is not an easy or normal trajectory to dive into. Deep fundamental emotions are triggered - sadness, anger, hopelessness, depression, distrust, trust, joy, bliss, sexual pleasure, desire.

Sitting still for 10 hours a day caused spasm, collapse and rigid twitches as the muscle fascia constricted and expanded. The constant stream of debilitating schizophrenic thoughts went from angelic to demonic.

You start to feel your organs; the somewhat disconcerting feeling of your own heart beating, the expansion of your lungs beneath your asymmetrical ribs, your struggling diaphragm, moving tightly up and down, and this unnerving wave of nauseating heat that starts in your pelvis and currents up your spine rocking you back and forth.

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When you objectively follow these reactions through, what you gradually begin to experience is that the reactions are connected to sensations, and the sensations come and go. The chaos builds and dissipates. You start to grasp at the hope of impermanence.

A type of deconstruction of intensity and allure occurs. A deconstruction of the centre looking out, I and the thing out there I am looking at, needing to do something about, needing to act on, all in reaction to the constant doing, constant achieving, constant aspiration.

Instead, there is an aliveness that emerges and perhaps within that aliveness, there's a glimpse of what is heard, and the listener - no distinction - can’t quite distinguish between what is being heard and what the listener is hearing.

If Vipassana is the physical experience of this way of living, anti-Oedipus seems to be the intellectual exploration of human philosophies and the integrated structures of society that have anesthetised the awareness of our vibrations and sensations of aliveness.

The way that Deleuze and Guattari conceptualised 'Desiring Machines' (production, capitalism, consumerism) and the 'Body without Organs' (the unproductive, the non consumable) and their relations, tensions and conflicts helped direct my thoughts and interpretations of the works I was making.

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This year has had a disruptive vibration of its own. Being in my final year at an academic institution I found it extremely challenging to gain any type of direction or traction within my evolving art practice. For the past 3 years I had built up skills using specialist equipment in Elam’s workshops and am still dumbfounded at the little amount of time that they have been accessible this year. At times all I could focus on was my own quivering body. My own body with its heightened intensities, anxieties, thoughts and conditioning. This, along with the tool of Vipassana meditation helped to sculpt the chaos of 2020 into a body of work.

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