Lineage for a Phantom Zone

Sondra Perry / Bridget Donahue Gallery

A book to accompany a dream the artist Sondra Perry wishes she could have had

Lineage for a Phantom Zone is an immersive audio-visual installation that imagines a dream that the artist Sondra Perry wishes that she could have had. The work explores personal history as the roots of dreams, the erasure of Black history in the American South, and the dream space as a passage for reaching sites of heritage that are inaccessible.

Upon entering the gallery space, the audience can smell the scent of oranges, immediately evoking a family myth. Perry’s grandmother has told the artist that when she passes, Perry will know as she will smell oranges and so the scent of this fruit is laden with both grief and intimacy.

To accompany the exhibition Fieldwork Facility were invited to design a book with editorial content developed by A Vibe Called Tech. We approached the book as a dream sequence where each of the book’s essays, stories and conversations was affected by different dream phenomena. Each text has a single letter altered, as a whole the seven texts’ interventions spell out ‘oranges’. The book creates a surreal experience demanding the reader to engage with the texts further.

  • communication: Book
In the first essay ‘O’s’ are replaced with spaces for phantom zones; like little wormholes opening up within dreamspace
In the second essay all the ‘R’s’ are upside down echoing the cypress trees within the artwork
Whilst discussing a recurring dream with a psychoanalyst, Sondra talks about her grandmother not looking like her grandmother and a flood that occurs. ‘A’s’ are replaced with ‘≈’ which is the mathematical symbol for ‘almost equal to’, and similar to the cartography symbol for water
The letter ‘N’ comes in and out of focus, inspired by a voiceover in the film "We can see people but they’re far away. Because of that we can’t recognise anyone’s face”
In this essay ‘G’s’ are inspired by multiple dream phenomena where physics laws go out the window. In the artwork Sondra’s voiceover says “We can reach them if we stretch our arms really long,and when we stretch, our hands dissolve into their bodies”
In this conversation ‘E’s’ fall from place. Inspired by the physical sensation of falling within a dream
Closing out the book and the end of the dream sequence things still feel not quite as they seem, aided by the letter ‘S’


Producer for the Dream Commission: Chloe Hodge
Publication editorial developed by Vibe Called Tech
Design: Robin Howie at Fieldwork Facility
Photography: Ed Park