It is 3:27 am. Swathes of light bloom and contract on the ceiling to the soundtrack of steady breathing, and the low growl of car engines outside. The parade of thought begins. In the stillness, large concerns jostle trivial considerations, banishing any hope of further sleep. Fragile creativity, flawed parenting, and anything political compete with household schedules, unfinished conversations and inchoate fears; thoughts surface relentlessly, in no particular order.
Insomniac’s Menagerie speaks to the non-hierarchical nature of ideas and the universality of human experience, no matter where we originate or from what circumstances. Text crowds the pillows just as our ideas pile in on top of each other when our carefully compartmentalized selves collide. Tactile and “embroidered” with pattern and text, the pillows belong partially to the category of domestic arts, but also to the world of comics, newly resurgent in my life as the parent of a pre-teen. They also belong squarely in the present, with the ubiquitous phenomenon of the meme.
Collectively the pillows form a large thought bubble above the old-fashioned bed frame, whose soundtrack drowns out the outside world, trapping the listener in a claustrophobic world of overlapping voices. Each pillow in turn is its own little bubble, focused on its own little area of specific disquiet.