early works (2002-2003)
Delmar Covex & the transcendentist practice
"...the ego is a squatter, the stowaway among us, taking illegal residence in the nature of mind and the mind of nature." -Delmar Covex
I had begun working on a novel, a story in which Delmar, my ego's ego, is living as a legal squatter, just like I was. He's a legal squatter because I put him there; he has my permission to exist. This little ego has some validity because he's looking for me, for what preceded him, just as I was looking for what preceded me, feeling like I had been thrown into existence without a certain past or future. I'd "missed the starting gun," as Pink Floyd put it. And just like me, Delmar was working on a story, and all the while there were these dark forces shadowing us, the presence of divine ignorance and profane illumination. But there was also this divine, feminine presence there with us in the old haunted mansion. Present, and absent at the same time.
When Kopi and I moved to Amsterdam together we were just two gifted children with dark fascinations. We were offered to reside in an "anti-squat", as guardians of this abandoned palace. This particular Antisquat was an old house that had been up for sale for some time already. It was three stories high, plus an attic, and it used to be a dentist practice. We gradually turned it into a "transcendentist" practice.
It was located in one of Amsterdam's finest neighborhoods, near the Beethoven street on the corner of Raphael street next to a piramydic church with what looked like a rocket at the top. A few blocks from Michelangelo street. The streets named after masters, and the religious/space travel center it bordered felt prophetic to us two, both psychonauts and artists-in-resendence, honing our skills and searching from truth.
Because of Amsterdam's squatter's problem, we were placed inside as guardian angels in this liminal zone, having only to pay utilities. We had roughly fifteen rooms to ourselves. The first floor was off limits due to the hazards posed by a broken mirror, a dead pigeon in the boiler room, and the torn linoleum floor with--is that asbestos? Cleaning this up was unimaginable to us, I guess, or perhaps our imaginations were otherwise preoccupied, not to mention we appreciated the symbolism of a floor devoted entirely to shattered reflections. We were also in the business of divining or fortunes in the dust, and following dust bunnies down unkempt rabbit holes.
The house was a mix between the house in Fight Club and the vacant hotel in the Shining. Haunted, obviously. Just imagine, for years on end people had brought their fears into that place, and those dentist terrors painted the walls and coated our dreams. The dreams were often extremely violent and seemed like they were other people's dreams. Sometimes we'd be woken from those dreams by the unannounced footsteps of people touring the house with the real estate broker, who put us up, bless her soul. Other mornings people rang the bell for their dentist appointment, anxiously stepping in as soon as the door opened, even though the place had obviously been abandoned for almost a year with a big for sale sign in the window.
The pasts of places haunt our homes, and what is "spirit" but the presence of the past?
In that darkness she and I lit up, and through our paintings, like ghostbusters, we were able to trap the energies and give them a resting place. A window to peer out through.
Her paintings were wondrously illuminated, dark places; mine were depictions of tortured flesh caught in the grips on an unseen attractor (which one could imagine as meat-grinder like). Gradually, then at the onset of my conscious spiritual endeavors, I constructed a model of the world, an aspiration to become. My personal thin-veiled mythology.
And one psychedelic night I realized my understandings. In the aftermath my paintings began to grow friendlier, more peaceful, and more colorful.
In a way, when the house was sold, after roughly nine months of burrowing there together, strengthened by our love, it was much cleaner, at least energetically. Much more suitable for someone to live in, no longer a haunted house, but a haunted home.
My "atelier" on the top floor of the "transcendentist" practice where we were legally squatting