When we dream, it usually happens during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Whilst our bodies are paralyzed, the brain produces 2 chemicals called Glycine and GABA that inhibit the movement of most of our muscles, this disables our motor functions so that we avoid physically ‘acting out’ the dreams and getting injured involuntarily.
Sometimes, during the waking period, this mechanism fails. The brain wakes up, but the motor functions don’t, this is when we realize that we cannot move our body.
It is the phenomenon known as Sleep Paralysis.
In the past few years I have experienced some of these episodes, and I found out, to my surprise, that something I had normally seen as being a such a personal thing, a nightmare, was actually something that 40% of human beings experience at least once in their lives; and I was in the group of 3-6% that have experienced it on more than one occasion.
I was shocked to learn that my sinister hallucinations of that defiant woman (climbing on to my chest, suffocating me) were not just my nightmares but an experience that obeyed a pattern. These strange and terrifying episodes I’d experienced had actually been scientifically studied.
During continued research, I was interested to find out that up until 1925 this sleep disorder was named Delayed Psychomotor Awakening which told me that timing plays a key role in sleep paralysis.
The ‘delay’ lasts about 4-6 minutes, after which the muscles will finally acknowledge the order that’s been sent from the brain. Added to this, we must incorporate the extra time for the (useless) exhaustion used trying to expel the visit.
That’s what I tried with de lay e d. I wanted to show the delay in the same image using those two layers of reality separated by time. I wanted to stress the importance of the lack of interaction between the two realities that shared the same space.