Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Fly - Introduction

The following posts are excerpts from a limited edition art book I made a few years ago. Postings will be divided into chapters, starting with this introduction.

Every night a portion of the earth's population closes its eyes and soars aloft, defying the bounds of gravity and reason. Recorded accounts of dream flight date back as far as the fifth century B.C. Night fliers of yesteryear demonstrated the ability to envision a landscape from an aeronautical perspective long before the technology existed
to do so in real life.

Conduct a random survey of friends, relatives, and acquaintances and you will find that about half are fliers, irrespective of sex, race, age, or cultural origins. Those who fly become animated as they relate their flight experience; those who don't will have no idea what you are talking about.

Why some of us fly and others don't remains a mystery, as does the function or origin of dream flight itself, though theories about dream flight abound. Some contend that it stems from a lingering genetic memory from an era when we swung with our prehensile cousins through a forest canopy. Others argue that dream flight serves as evidence that our planet was seeded by beings from a world with less gravitational pull. The simplest explanation may be that it is merely an exercise in imagination, provoked by observing birds.

Freud theorized that dream flight is based on infant and early childhood recollections of being swung aloft by a doting relative. At the same time, he concurred with Adler's hypothesis that flight is a convincing metaphor for the gravity-defying feat achieved by a male erection—a theory that fails to account for the fact that roughly half of all dream fliers are female.

For those who fly, the reasons don't matter. It is enough to fall asleep, kick off the bounds of reality, and take to the air. If you are not among them, don't despair. Peruse the dream flight postings that follow before  falling asleep, and as you turn off the light and place your head on the pillow, whisper to yourself, "Tonight, I fly!"

My thanks to the dream fliers who participated in these interviews, which took place over a period of approximately ten years. The fliers' ages and occupations are those recorded at the time of their interviews. The illustrations are based on photographs taken with a disposable camera as the interviewees did their best to demonstrate their dream flying maneuvers despite being wide awake and gravity-bound.

See next chapter: "Takeoff and Landing ."

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