If you attended our NYC or LA book launch events, chances are you visited the Shadowland installation and were engulfed into a mystical and sensual world that opened you up through touch, play, and sensory experience. There is no denying that these installations truly brought out something special and curious in each person that participated in the immersive experience. We were so moved by it (as many of you were) and we feel as though the installation stirred up discussion, curiosity, and questions. We wanted to highlight the 4 amazing women who brought this all together and feature their take on what this experience meant to them.
Dark Matter Productions is a diverse troupe of 4 female creatives specializing in immersive community experiences that cultivate intimacy, self-realization, and sensual-spiritual healing. They are known for designing and operating original interactive art installations that hold safe space for social experimentation and exploration.
“As we turn toward the specific shadows in our own lives with an open heart and a clear and focused mind, we cease resisting and begin to understand and to heal. In order to do this, we must learn to feel deeply, not so much opening our eyes as opening the inner sense of the mind and the heart.”
- Jack Kornfield in “A Path with Heart”
Our work focuses on embracing and transmuting the shadow aspects of the self that, in all other areas of life, is shunned and shamed into silence. Shadowland was created to offer safe space to attend and tender the most neglected and rejected parts of ourselves. It is an immersive art installation that encourages people to show up for each other in the liminal space between dark and light, as complete beings.
We cultivate authentic connection, between strangers and friends alike, through the cultivation of individual vulnerability. This alchemical reaction takes place somewhere between the atmosphere we create and the activities that take place within them. It gives participants the permission to step outside the false self, the performance we all participate in during our daily lives, and feel what it’s like to exist in raw, shameless honesty.
It is somewhat ironic that a performance art piece like Shadowland is what frees us from the performance of ‘roles’ we play or masks we wear in daily life – but it does. We approached this project with complete surrender. Every challenge that arose was embraced and transcended, not without effort but without stress.
Creating is always divine work but this felt particularly enchanted, channeled from above. The symbolism of Kali swept through us consistently through the process, from NY to LA nonstop. She followed us, breaking things down and rebuilding them anew. The process was full of unmistakable synchronicities. We were carried by trust and an intuitive sense that Shadowland was taking on a life of its own.
We set out to create a world beyond our own. We envisioned a sanctuary for self-realization and soul communion, somewhere sacred where people could confront the mysteries within themselves without fear. The people who walked in were not the same people that walked out. We witnessed the powerful transmutation of so many that day. Strangers came up to us throughout the night to share what they experienced within that enchanted room. Stories of hearts opening, shame releasing, true connection thriving – it is remarkable what an effect BEING SEEN can have on someone. We were overcome with gratitude to have the privilege to deliver them the opportunity to awaken in such a profound and meaningful way.
In the undeniably disconnected and loveless social structure, all of us feel the insatiable longing to be seen, to be true to ourselves, yet truth is seen as a dangerous thing. We are socialized to invest in a false self, to pretend, perform, lie – believing in a definition of love that allows all sorts of injustice to exist within ourselves, within our families, our country, our world. All of this dis-ease and division grows out of a foundation of fear.
The beginning of healing is recognizing all the ways in which fear stands in the way of our ability to know Love. We must embrace our wounds in order to heal. As long as we feel shame we can never believe ourselves worthy of love, nor can we love or accept love freely.
Shadowland is a social experiment in healing. It is an antidote to the psychological terrorism that is endemic in our world. Bell Hooks in her book All About Love reminds us that “the moment in which we are touched by pain and the unpredictability of life’s changes is the moment in which we can find salvation” and open to love. Our fate lies in that decision, in the choice to “be with hardship without judgement, prejudice, and resistance.” Through such open-heartedness we have the ability to heal not only ourselves but the world.
For more info, contact GetCurious@DarkMatterProductions.net
The multi-disciplinary members of Dark Matter Production include:
Victoria B Wikler @victoriabwikler
Shamanic facilitator, tattooer, & transpersonal wellness coach focused on psycho-spiritual health and sexuality. Currently straddling mental health and spiritual integration through community organizing, safe space curation, and 1-on-1 sessions.
Lior Allay @eccentricearthling
Queer feminist artist and intuitive social scientist experimenting with vulnerability, identity, and (dis)connection across the gender-sexuality spectrum. Her technique is defined by the poignant combination of visceral body language & everyday surrealism that encourages the viewer to ask difficult but necessary questions about the socio-political issues we face today.
Jaclyn Atkinson @cadillacjac
Participatory event artist and printmaker focused on the creation of safe spaces and exploration of interstitial places.
Ereka Imani Duncan @ekerella
Self-realized set designer, wardrobe/prop stylist, and craft specialist. Production and event designer specializing in interactive and participatory spaces. Taking cues from theater she finds ways to bring art off the walls or stage and into the crowd.