TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Film & Photos by John Heenan
Zac Dunn in the Great Hall of the Oculus in NY | Photo by John Heenan

TRANSFORMATION
By Zac Dunn
Film, Stills & Photos by John Heenan

Published Issue 105, September 2022

From the moment we draw our very first breath until the 21 grams floats skyward and the cool blanket takes us into the light we are

TRANSFORMING 

Stasis by definition is death. 

The vibration of atoms in an inanimate object will ultimately turn to dust. 

How do we as artists choose to transform? Is it even a choice at all?

WHEN WE PUT ON THE MASK

We become the formative embodiment of the vision 

Driven tirelessly through fire and doubt to the place of realization 

functional transient contrition

Cannibalized in earnest 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Film & Photos by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

When the time came I was so deeply fearful 

The anxiety was palpable 

The helmet had been in a sack hiding

It had taken some time and considerable effort to build it from the generic mass-produced shell it started as … 

Like many things it was culled from a mighty Knickerbocker haul 

At first it was static, then … 

SILVER PLASTIC BABY

ARMS AS HORNS 

Drilled with screws into the gulliver appeared 

BIZ and I had pulled them from the void in the yard.

It was a progression with no form or intent 

But both would invariably present themselves 

By the time we sat preparing, eating, chatting 

Facing Jersey City across the Hudson 

A fear as I’ve never known took ahold 

My heart beat wildly and all the faces

I saw seemed to melt into orbs of light

Far too bright to gaze

Anywhere near 

for fear that they would 

STEAL THE SHINING 

in the stars we’d spent a lifetime looking for but never saw

THOSE STARS HAD MANY EYES

John told me it was time

I took the helmet out and tried to straighten the baby leg horns. 

I handed the bag to the lady and they both pointed the cameras at me. I pulled the helmet over my eyes and took a deep breath. 

Once I stood up from the table I knew there was no going back. 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

Now I’m standing in a posh shopping center in Lower Manhattan wearing a leather jacket and blue helmet with silver baby leg horns looking like some version of the Night King meets Boba Fett. Instantly I can hear the voices and cameras of tourist snapping shots making some keepsake of the wild stuff you see in The City That Never Sleeps …

I make my way walking beneath gigantic palm trees in the atrium, my stride is determined and forceful yet struck with fear. As I approach the colossal glass encased escalator leading to the Great Hall in the heart of the Oculus, I take a final gasp of air. 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

The escalator to the lower level is long giving enough space to comprehend The March,

The massive white marble chasm below the tower welcomed me 

But in no way was I welcome

The faces of the people had completely melted into the crisp white tiles as the football field-length monitor propelled my feet toward the heart of the temple, 

Everyone is looking

Grasping for their phones 

There are security people everywhere I see talking on devices and looking at me 

The monitor ripples a high-definition 

Hemorrhage of color pulling me further down the corridor as my heart pounds like a hammer 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

WALKING 

TRANSFORMING 

Becoming this thing

I’ve seen in my head 

This precipice I’ve put myself upon with no idea why or how I got here

I FEEL COMPLETELY ALONE 

Even though my team is following and filming my every move. 

I step cautiously as I ascend the stairs past the NJ transit labyrinth 

The great room exploded 

The belly of the mighty white whale skeleton 

Had been the place I’d dreamed of

OVER AND OVER  

I could hear The Imperial March in my head 

The timpani pounded a visceral call to order 

The sheer volume of negative 

Space consumes sounds entirely 

Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

The first steps I took felt shaky 

I already had people filming me and security 

On multiple sides talking and moving toward me 

But I continued to transform and create 

TRANSFORMING 

The work 

In the space 

We dream and eat and sleep and love and talk about sweet nothings we keep to ourselves 

But burn up all too quickly in a rage right along with that thing people talk much too loudly 

yet never do

At last my feet stood in the center point of the Great Hall the synagogue of Satanic greed so sadistically cast in stone as an inverse model of compassion 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

MOTIONS OF LONG RIVER BOXING 

OPENING THE PORTAL OF CHI IN 

THE SACRED SPACE I WOULD TRANSFORM 

INTO MY STAGE FOR BUT AN INSTANT

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Visuals by John Heenan
Zac Dunn | Film Still by John Heenan

As I dropped my hands 

I completely let go and stepped out of the void 

I desperately pulled the helmet from my gulliver 

Gasping for air and sweating profusely 

I break down in tears 

TRANSFORMATION by Zac Dunn | Film & Photos by John Heenan
Zac Dunn in the Great Hall of the Oculus in NY | Photo by John Heenan

It was neither joy or fear 

But pure exposure to something that I had lived with like a dear old friend who disappears then pops up to beg the question no one asked 

How do we change? 

How do we as humans transform? 

We are born of blood and bone by others of the same stuff

But who we transform into is beyond any metric 

It lives in context and experience indelible to all sentiment creatures

As we awaken each day and continue transforming into the 

BEINGS OF LIGHT

That the universe spits us out as

WE MUST BE 

Magnanimously kind to each other and every creature in the HOPE that they too will continue to TRANSFORM and prosper

Facing our fears and annihilating the inhibition to avoid confrontation and continuing to 

TRANSFORM IS ART 


Zac Dunn is a psycho-social mechanic, father, musician and dreamer. Check out his music and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.


John Heenan aka Bindle Punk is a Colorado-based visual artist and more. See more of his visual work on Instagram.


Check out Zac’s August Birdy piece,  4 FINGERS NEAT, to our Explore section to see even more of his work.