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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
MOTIONS OF LONG RIVER BOXING
OPENING THE PORTAL OF CHI IN
THE SACRED SPACE I WOULD TRANSFORM
INTO MY STAGE FOR BUT AN INSTANT
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
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.
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