Maria Sol Suarez Martinez wants you to tell her your dreams. Not your hopes for the future — the ones you have no control over. The ones that come to you in the night and confuse you when you wake up in the morning.
“You can send more than one dream,” says the Dawson City artist, who’s doing a Jenni House residency at Chambers House this month. “The more specific the better because that will actually give you a good interpretation.”
As just one part of a larger project (called Mind Boner — we’ll get to that later), Suarez Martinez is asking people to visit her website and input the details of their dreams. At the end of September (date and station to be determined), she’s going to do a live radio broadcast of her interpretation of those dreams.
Suarez Martinez studies Jungian dream analysis and has an extensive knowledge of the occult sciences, but it’s deeper than that. Her grandpa was a medium. Her auntie read tarot. Her mom was a healer, and her sister is an energy worker. Suarez Martinez grew up dodging bowls of salt, laid out to absorb negative energy when it was lying around.
“I’m from South America, and one side of my family is from the north of Spain, which is, like, very witchy,” she says, sitting in a chair in Chambers House at Shipyards Park. “It’s very Pagan. We’re reasonable people. We have science. We have progress. But you don’t take us out of the forest … I was born into a family where we didn’t question those things. We can smell a storm, we have premonitory dreams, and we share them as we’re having breakfast.”
That’s common where she comes from (in fact, she says, everyone in Argentina referred to the 2022 World Cup as the Witches’ Cup because of the sheer number of people doing witchcraft to ensure a win). It’s not a fringe thing there. Here, people sometimes look at her sideways when she gets witchy. But Suarez Martinez finds warmth and comfort in those little daily rituals. Where they don’t exist, she feels a void, and she sees people filling that void with other things.
She started thinking about it in the early days of the pandemic. Everyone was talking about emotional well-being and mental health. Suddenly, the online world was awash with solutions. There were online therapies and self-care products, masterclasses and mediations. Some of them felt genuine to Suarez Martinez. Others, not so much.
“I’m very spiritual. And very critical of spiritual commodification,” she says. “Coming from a person who’s in the spiritual world 90 per cent of the time, I can tell you these things are just formulaic grifts. It’s the same thing as a snake oil salesman.”
She’d started to notice that formula in some of the meditations she’d been listening to, to help her insomnia. As a joke, she recorded her own. Her friend, Whitehorse musician Charles Hegsted, put music to her words. They messed with the scripts and the music until, in the end, they had a sort of Twilight Zone version of what they’d started with. She says the finished recordings caused more of the very anxiety they were designed to eliminate.
Together, she and Hegsted, along with a core of members serving as a focus group and potential future collaborators, started coming up with more ideas — for twisted personality tests. A website. Dream interpretation. Institutional welcome videos for an entire faux wellness empire that could simultaneously criticize and be a part of the online wellness landscape. It just needed a name.
That’s where Mind Boner comes in.
“Our tagline is ‘engorge your consciousness,’” says Suarez Martinez.
She and Hegsted (who’s collaborating with her on the residency) are in the early stages of developing the project. The first phase is the website, which Suarez Martinez recently finished coding, where people can begin inputting their dreams if they want to be part of the radio broadcast.
Beyond that, Suarez Martinez is guarded about where exactly Mind Boner will go next. She’s less evasive about its overall goal, though that too seems to occupy a grey space.
“If I could aspire to something, it would be for people to be forever confused,” she says, laughing. “We’re always toe-ing the line of telling something interesting and also absolutely ridiculous. So people are like, ‘wait, is this for real?’”
To input your dreams and for more information about the radio broadcast dates and times, visit mindboner.com
Contact Amy Kenny at email@example.com