Francesca Woodman | Space2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

Francesca Woodman | Space2, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

A case for watching paint dry

‘If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with an abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new. – Leonardo Da Vinci


When we say something is “as interesting as watching paint dry” we usually mean that it is really boring, but what if the exact opposite were true and that staring at a wall for a while might actually prove to be a deeply interesting experience.

By placing our attention for an extended length of time on something that has become mundane, we give it an opportunity to reintroduce itself to our consciousness.

A relaxed gaze is recommended; imagine holding an object with a loose grip rather a tight one. If you grab anything too tightly you restrict its natural flow. The same can be said of our minds, if we keep then tightly corseted in habits, endless a priori and constant activity, our imaginations inevitably wither.

By allowing the unconscious free-reign we can become aware of new meanings and different perspectives of reality.

Watch paint dry once in a while. Empty our mind. Contemplate.  After a moment or two your notion of ‘reality’ will fall away and a whole new world will rush in to fill the void. Imagine that – magic hidden in plain sight on a ‘boring’ old wall.



M.U. 2015

Published: April 9th, 2015

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A case for Oneirology

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