Do you ever get this thing, I get it sometimes when I’m doing a task that involves systems and logging. Usually computer tasks involving files. I get it a lot when I’m video editing. It’s a sudden, very brief flash of a place from my past – not places of significance. Just a particular part of pavement on the way to school or a point on some route I’ve forgotten about. It’s not nostalgic and it’s not emotional. It’s just like co-ordinates being triggered and fired off and then it disappears again. Once I was working with a 3D animator who said he gets it regularly. I’d never really discussed it with anyone before and neither had he. 

I tell SM that I get it from bank clerks typing my details into the computer. Also when I’m getting my eyes tested. SM tells me she gets it from things that are annoying. And it’s always when she can hear a thing but can’t see it. Like on the bus; someone rustling a crisp packet or something incessantly. It goes on and on and she’ll think “that sound is really annoying”. But then it reaches a point where it crosses over and she’s getting the feeling from it and she’s thinking “I never want that sound to stop”.

Bull terrier ghost walking
English bull terrier ghost walking or trancing
Bull terrier trance
Bull terrier trancing
Bull terrier in a trance
Trancing bull terrier
Trancing bull terriers
Mini bull terrier trancing
Max the English bull terrier trancing
Pete the bull terrier trancing 

For the participatory lecture on yoga, we’re all asked to think of an action that we do everyday. At the start of the class we each choose a spot to stand in. There are a lot of us in the space, and it’s hard to know if your hands will touch someone when it’s time to stretch the arms out. We do some simple yoga and the teacher begins to talk about awareness and adjustment, about teachers making adjustments and what that means, including the etymology of the word adjust. This teacher’s name is on the event. I know her. But there is also another teacher, who doesn’t speak. She’s there to demonstrate. She mirrors the other teacher’s actions. They’re both wearing black. Sometimes they hold each other up. The first teacher folds her arms behind her neck and turns so we can see. The second teacher adjusts her so we can see. Whether the first teacher did the pose wrong in order to be adjusted or whether she did it differently to how the second teacher thought it should be done is unclear. They do other poses in this way, adjusting, and the first teacher tells us the names of the poses. I forget them now, but at the time I wanted to remember them so I could write this. 

At the end of the hour, we do our chosen actions again; the everyday actions we came with. We stand on our spots and repeat the actions over and over. Some people are crouched and some bending, depending on the action. My action is zipping my jacket up. I have to unzip it in order to repeat. Zipping up and down the invisible jacket, re-inserting the fastening each time. The speaking teacher asks us to think about how it feels. After a while I can feel the smoothness of the metal teeth. 

While we repeat our actions, the silent teacher walks around the room. I’m aware of her moving along and I’m thinking that’s the everyday action she’s chosen to do – walking slowly. But then she starts to adjust people. She comes behind me and pulls my head up and pulls my shoulders back, very firmly. She holds them like that, then moves on. 

I like the feel of her hands doing that, but now my action isn’t right. Cos I’m a boy when I’m zipping up my jacket. That’s why my shoulders come forward; to straighten my front. 

MW says that someone once told her that she had met an astronaut. He had been out in space and she asked him whether he could smell the void. He said, “No, because we are sealed in our space suits when we leave the capsule”. He paused, then added, “there is a moment though, when the smell of space is still clinging to the suit when we come back inside. And it smells like banging two rocks together.” 

Are you aware that right now your belly is hanging over your trousers? 

Yes (laughs). I sort of like my belly. I’m relaxed with it. I like relaxed bellies, not like bellies of people who are holding in their stomach all the time. There are two ways how people gain weight. There are people who are gaining weight because of some protective covering and there are people who gain weight in a more generic way, that your body naturally wants to go to a certain size and shape. They’re two different things. I always can see it when people put on weight as a protection, it’s like they are wearing a coat or something. 

What about your beard? 

Bull terrier ghost walking
Uploaded by ragermanny1 on Mar 1, 2013

English bull terrier ghost walking or trancing
Uploaded by Kriskurtz on Jun 8, 2013

Bull terrier trance
Uploaded by hypee92 on May 29, 2009

Bull terrier trancing
Uploaded by pablo medeline on Nov 11, 2013

Bull terrier in a trance
Uploaded by Shareski Howard on Apr 28, 2012

Trancing bull terrier
Uploaded by Witvos on Sep 8, 2010

Trancing bull terriers
Uploaded by jahfernando on Jul 2, 2009

Mini bull terrier trancing
Uploaded by TheJoker91 on Apr 14, 2013

Max the English bull terrier trancing
Uploaded by jt3nsb on Nov 22, 2007

Pete the bull terrier trancing
Uploaded by Zanshin 100 on Apr 10, 2010

… 

What about your beard? 

Yes, what about it (touches face)? I’ve taken off the sides a little bit. All my life I looked so much younger than I really was, like ten or even fifteen years younger. I grew a beard about six years ago. At that time I aged very rapidly because of grief. I needed something to hide behind. I thought my grief was too much for anybody to understand. And now I’m a bit experimenting with removing it. I think I’m going to take off a little bit more (touches face). 

Sometimes it’s very complex, like for instance this man I work with. All of his energy is broken up in little parts, his legs are separate from his torso and his torso separate from his arms etc. My job is to work with the energy system that runs through and try to pull everything back together. 

And this was something you felt immediately? 

Yes, I felt a very high tuned nervous system, a very high anxiety level. If it would be a sound it would be a really high pitched sound. I needed to open up all the barriers so that the energy could flow through the body again. Another example is this man in his fifties who had come out recently. He was previously a PR person and had just given that up. As a PR person you have to be relaxed, friendly and you can’t give people the feeling that you’re hiding something. He had that PR personality perfectly. When I worked with him I kept on thinking, there has to be a place in his body where he stores all the tensions accumulated over the years. I mean he has been in the closet for 55 years. But I couldn’t find anything. His body felt like nothing, I was not getting any information whatsoever. Which was very odd. Then I suddenly got this idea and I put my hand down to his sphincter. He was like holding absolutely everything in his asshole. The asshole is the most secret spot where you can hold deep trauma, incredible pain or anxiety and not show it to the world. In this case that was where I had to start. 

So what did you do? 

Oh, it was such an amazing session! I got him sitting on the bed with his knees up so I could get to his asshole. With my hand I put just a slight pressure on his sphincter. I asked him to breathe with me, breathe in and breathe out, breathe in white light and breathe out darkness, breathe right down to his asshole. I think he thought at first it was fun to do, but at a certain point his eyes started to get really wide and he started to breathe extremely heavily, like very very intense. The breathing just took over. I could see that it was working. Each time he breathed out he started to shit. And he had no idea he was doing it. I mean he had no idea that he was shitting in my hand. When he finally saw the shit he said, oh my god I am really getting rid of the shit of my life. I have to say that it is very unusual for it to happen this way. I had this instinct for where to go. 

This text is the transcript of an installation at McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, 2014. The text includes an excerpt of an interview with AA Bronson in Butt magazine, June 2003.