V Magazine will dedicate 4 covers to Lady Gaga. Each cover and issue will feature a different interview with Marina Abramovic. Below you can read them all. You can pre-order the issues here.
LADY GAGA: Ciao, Marina!
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: Oh, you’re there, baby. That’s nice. I am in the countryside. I’m preparing everything for our workshop, by the way.
LG: You are? I can’t wait. Where are you? Are you at the place?
MA: Yeah, I’m in the country, and then I have to go the next week to Aspen, and then I come back and everything’s ready. Honestly, it’s very serious.
LG: I’m so excited for the things we’re working on, because I think it’s important to show my fans what it means to be devoted and committed to something. And to show them the process of that. And I feel like you’re the person that will really bring that to life.
MA: This is much more different in many different layers because I want to do something special. And new!
Anyway, I have some questions. My Lady Gaga, ARTPOP…How did you think of it
and what does it mean? This is the first question. It’s important, because we’re talking about your new album.
LG: For ARTPOP, I instantly had an initial cosmetic experience with words, so I spent some time reflecting on exactly what it is that I wanted to say. When I’m thinking about the title for an album, I think about the marketing, I think about the cultural implication of the words, what the words mean. How the words will change the meaning after the music has been put out as well as the visuals. I spent some time and I kept seeing those two words, “art” and “pop,” put together in a reverse way, instead of Pop Art, which is the way I had always seen it. And then quite quickly, the more work that I did, ARTPOP became something that had a nice ring, you know? Like, Marina, when you said to me it has a good ring.
MA: Totally. It just kind of sounds right. Right vibration.
LG: Exactly, I had the right vibrational experience with the words and the way they sounded when I said them, with the way the work was coming out. Then I started to repeat them like a mantra, which I find so interesting, because I know that when we do this workshop I’m sure I’m going to be so focused on the things that you are saying, almost like a mantra. It’s the same way I experience my creativity, as a vibration. When I was working I was thinking, What does ARTPOP mean? And then I started with the basic sense of it. Well, it could belong together. I thought about Pop Art and how the dominant subject matter was always the celebrity or the pop-culture icon on the canvas, and then I thought to myself, But what I have tried endlessly to become through my work is a celebration of my differences through art, with myself as the canvas, as opposed to me as the subject matter, being put on the canvas. I don’t want to be an icon in just one form. I want to be an icon in many forms. So that’s where it began.
MA: I’ve been looking at these four covers of V Magazine and I can tell you that they really work. My favorite is the one with the black hair.
LG: That’s my favorite too, Marina!
MA: It’s kind of a touch of something from the old days of Patti Smith. There’s some kind of innocence, but then you also go for it, a real warrior.
LG: That look was very hard for me because that is how I looked when I was 19 until I was 21 years old…Maybe longer. I got my hair cut like that when I was 18 and all these really painful things happened during that time.
MA: I can read through to this suffering. It’s an interesting mix. It’s a kind of fragility mixed with strength.
LG: Yeah, I’ll tell you what that’s from. It’s because it was so hard for me to go back to that place. I was telling you about this when we were talking about everything that we’re going to be working on. I told you how I have an ability to experience pain for long periods of time—to endure it, whether it’s mental pain or physical pain. I think it’s because of my discipline as a child. I studied piano and then theater and then dance, so I have this ability to endure long periods of pain. But as a result, when I became an adult at 18, I allowed myself to stay in bad situations because I was able to take the pain. Does that make sense?
MA: Makes perfect sense to me because that’s exactly why we have lots of things in common. It is so important to find a way to transfer the pain and elevate it into something else.
LG: I was so naive, in a good way. The art was—and still is—the thing that drives me, you know? Pop is sort of my medium, the medium that I’m good at. But art was always the thing that drove me forward in these challenging and painful circumstances. I would always have the wings of high art kind of flying high above my back, lifting me up, and I could feel no pain, because I could feel the adrenaline of the future, of my artistic experience, and that was more important. I had some sort of transcendental experience with art. And I was going to do anything for art at a young age.
MA: It is very interesting that you believe you found something that you were good at, pop, and you put art at the front. So now you have ARTPOP—it makes total sense.
LG: I wanted to bring it all the way to the front, yes.
MA: And your references to art. For me, what’s always been very interesting is that you make clear references to art. Other musicians, I don’t want to name names, they make garish references to art, but they never really give the ownership to art. But you do.
LG: I think that the world has fallen into a very interesting trap, where people look at visuals in such a rudimentary way, they are not approaching them in a complex way. So what happens is that everything becomes nothing. Everything that we review means nothing anymore because nobody is able to look at anything with any sort of artistic eye, to find the complexity behind it. It’s like, They both wear a hat, so it’s the same, They both wear a bra like this, it’s the same, Their hair is both this color, so it’s the same. But if you were to show someone like Matisse a huge board full of colors, he would probably tell you why they’re all different.
MA: What is also interesting is that everybody is looking to the same things. It’s getting the same information. Reading the same books. The television tells you what to do. The fashion tells you how to dress. There is no freedom. What you are doing is claiming your territory, you’re claiming the freedom. And that’s so great, because you have to create space. And to create space you really have to break the rules.
LG: And that’s where I feel like you’ve been an inspiration to me for so long. Especially when I was younger, and the more that I got to understand your work. The older that I got, I was able to look back. What you experienced at that time was more painful than maybe you realized, but that’s why you’re capable of these things now. It’s like, maybe instead of doing this, you should channel your pain like this. Put it in here and experience it like this in your work. And when I watch what you make, Marina, there’s no limitation and there’s no boundary to your art, because you are willing to trust it implicitly. That’s what your work means to me. The piece especially, was it in Germany? I think it was in Berlin that you did the piece where you were lying on the table with the knife and the gun and the condoms and the sleeping pills…
MA: [laughs] Let’s get back to these questions, because this is serious. I’m into numerology myself, so why are you releasing your album on 11/11? There could be so many significances with this date.
LG: We arrived at that date after speaking a lot about the music and going over the different territories. The most important thing for me is that every fan has the ability to access the work at the same time. If they can’t experience it together, it deflates the meaning of the work, which is that art and pop belong together. So the moment for me is only explosive if art and pop are together in one instant and the fans get to experience it together in one instant for the first time. It’s like an ultimate explosion of experience for them—where they get to touch and feel the music and art—with a philosophy and framework behind it that really allows them to understand the kind of shape-shifter performer that I am. I’m someone that wants them to view me not only as a figure with many wigs, but as a figure with many wigs who has a skin tone of many colors, with nails of many paints, and the shoes of many people, with the heart of many thieves and many wise men, and an ability to transform emotionally as well as intellectually as well as humanly. I create the work so that they can have a physical and virtual representation at once. That is what ARTPOP is all about, to bring the technical aspects of being a performer together with the metaphysical, and to ask the fans to look and experience both of them at the same time. I don’t know about the date.
MA: It doesn’t need an answer, it can just be intuitive that you want this date and that’s it.
LG: The date was the day that all of the fans in all countries around the world would be able to get access to the music at the same time. It had a lot to do with delivering copies and making sure we had enough time to upload the music to all the servers worldwide. I was trying to think of everything. When would be the best time in my fans’ lives? And if I tell them two to three months before the album comes out, it gives them a few months to save their money as well. You know, I care about that too. I want them to have time to save their money so that they can buy it. I don’t expect them to be rich. I don’t expect them to just have the money to buy the music. In this age, buying music is sort of an old thing, and the app is the new generation of a physical experience with music through digital interaction.
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: I was just looking at the photographs for V Magazine. I know what it takes to create these kinds of shots. You work day and night, it’s crazy. People say, “Oh, how easy it must be to become what you’ve become.” But it’s enormous discipline and sacrifice. Can you describe your normal day?
LADY GAGA: Normal working day…they’re always different. I wake up—recently, a bit earlier—and I usually smoke and sit in bed and read. I put out all of my notebooks, computers, the music, pictures, art books, and I just sort of lie there and I smoke a bit. I look at everything and I really just look at it, Marina. I always think about the work a lot, but on this album I really spent a lot of time gazing, you know? Really gazing into the work and really thinking about what it means. How can I make it better? How can it become more original? How can I inspire them to see something that I don’t even want them to see?
Each one has a different thing that they’re good at. And while I’m sitting there and gazing at the work, I just start to call them and say, “Okay, I need you to do this,” and then “Okay bye.” And then I call the next line and say, “Can you do this? Okay bye.” It’s sort of an editing process, but instead of it being a painting or just music, it’s everything. My team calls me the atelier, the couturier at the end, when they put the dress together and the couturier comes in and sews the dress at the last minute and makes it all come together perfectly. That’s what I do. I put it all together and I’m there at the inception of it. So I’m really the one that understands every single piece. In a typical day, I would do that for three to four hours in the morning. Then I will run or figure out a way to sweat, and then I’m usually at the studio…
MA: You forgot the breakfast. When do you have the breakfast?
LG: [laughs] I don’t eat breakfast.
MA: I knew it. No breakfast. You have coffee, tea? What do you do?
LG: I drink Pellegrino, I’m a good Italian girl. I have Pellegrino with lime and a smoke. And I just lie there. Sometimes maybe green tea. I just sit there and look at everything. I get mad at the work, I get frustrated, I start getting really sweaty. I have a very emotional experience when I’m creating.
MA: What time do you go to sleep in the evening? Late or it depends?
LG: It really depends. I can fall asleep at any time, at any place. In a strange way it’s because my mind is always so exhausted.
MA: That’s how you know when you’re really an artist. When you’re an artist, it’s a thing like breathing, you don’t question breathing. If you don’t breathe, you just die. So if you have this urge, it’s almost like you’re diseased, you have a fever, you can’t do anything else that way, your mind is occupied, you’re pretty much an artist. But then the question is what makes you a great artist? Because you could just be an artist, but you can be mediocre too. What makes you a great artist is the few steps more. It’s really sacrificing almost everything around that actually can fit into this image that you have to construct, and that’s a real thing.
LG: When I shot with Inez and Vinoodh, it was the same thing. You have to stare at the image, you have to stare at the work. You have to have an intense connection with it all the way to its core, and then push, push, push yourself and then say Okay, and you have that instant adrenaline feeling of Let’s go.
MA: That is what is making this thing pop. I want to know a little about this piece for the new album that you played…“Pig”? I love this work. Do you have a favorite song? Also tell me a little bit about the pig one.
LG: Actually it’s interesting that you said that you love “Swine.”
MA: “Swine” sounds so much worse in English. Pig is almost sweet, but swine is really dirty.
LG: Yes, swine is dirty. And in European culture, it’s not very nice to call somebody swine. It’s like the worst thing you can say. So when we were making the cover that you mention, with the dark hair…Each cover was designed with a custom outfit by one designer. That’s the one that Hedi [Slimane] did—the one in the sequined jacket with the high-waisted jeans and the hair. That was the time in my life when I was the new artist. I wasn’t a fully formed artist, I was 19, I was young. I was on my way. I was willing to do anything for art. It got me into so much trouble because when you’re willing to do anything for art but you don’t even know what your art is yet or what your music is or what you’re making, you’re willing to do anything to understand it or to experience something that will charge it or inspire it. And because of that I was really troubled. I was really sick all the time in my head, in my heart. I felt trapped, but I was free. And then it was like a slow death. A slow death of my innocence and my youth. And I had to climb through a lot of swine, and that’s where that song came from.
This idea of something so dark and something so awful and perverted that at a young age you don’t really understand. And you don’t want to know and understand it. And then, as I’m older, I understand the intenseness of the experiences that I went through. They have affected and changed who I am now. So this song became a liberation, because I’m now saying that if I am to be truly great at this transformation, I have to understand. It shows on stage before people’s eyes. And that’s really what these covers are about. It’s not just the hair, it’s the whole life.
MA: Each one is different.
LG: It’s a whole life-form.
MA: How you would describe these characters?
LG: The dark-haired one I wrote as the New Artist. It reads like this: “This is me, the me I was the most afraid to be again. The me I had left behind. Through the work each time over and over with Inez and Vinoodh, there is a challenge that I was facing with myself. The person they want to see is dead, I think. I have an ability to endure physical and mental pain for long durations, months or years at a time, but I’ve learned eventually that the brunt of that anguish finds its point and impact, and although I was able to withstand the challenge for that period of time, the results are destructive and I’m left a shell. Why would I ever want to feel that again? And then a bigger question, Does anyone really know what I went through to get here? And somehow with Inez and Vinoodh’s calm sense of confidence, their seductive artistic way, in the process I am inspired to allow the emotions to pass through me as they photograph me and I hear, ‘Beautiful, Gaga! Yes! Yes! Look at that girl!’ I’m reminded that my sense of self within the world I create provides an element of honesty and gravity to the work and it’s okay that I’m broken. I can be broken in the Cubist or Surrealist sense, like a Picasso nose, or Dalí clock—ahead of its time, not pathetic or shameful. And then I am transported back to a time I wanted to forget, I somehow still arrived at what I have become, an artist that celebrates our differences.” So what I’m saying is I realized that if I wasn’t able to become her again, then I was in essence afraid of something, which felt like a big, padlocked chain.
MA: That means that you’re freeing yourself from that.
LG: Exactly. I felt it at the shoot, then we shot for the video, and I became the same girl again in the film. Then there was another level that came out and it was the joy of me as a young Italian-American girl from an immigrant, blue-collar family that just wanted to be a performer with that drive and love of music. It became this really beautiful film of me lying on a mattress and singing this song as if I was writing it in my bed for the first time. The hour that we shot was like ten years of a good sneeze or something. A really good sneeze.
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: You have said, “Nobody knows how much it takes to get there, nobody can even imagine.” People think that things are easy. But the amount of work and sacrifice and pain…
LADY GAGA: That is essentially the switch, Marina. The difference between what people were feeling about Pop Art and where I want to take ARTPOP. To say something is Pop Art for some artists was as simple as putting something in a museum or a gallery—it became art if it’s there. But that’s not what my feeling is about art. I don’t believe that trick works anymore. I think the real challenge is, How do I take a place that is not an artistic space and transform that space and make it into an artistic space?
MA: This is totally interesting. This is why I’m interested in bringing some complete new structure, like this institute I want to make, for the long duration of performing arts, which is for everybody. The point is that if you make art elite,
LG: It’s unfortunate, Marina, that people don’t see the difference between the words elite and disciplined.
MA: Wait, this is very interesting. Elite and disciplined, explain to me.
LG: Elite and disciplined are so different, right? But in society, with the young generation, they associate them with the same thing. If you are viewing young people the way they are right now, I feel like there’s a tremendous sense of lack of responsibility, as well as a lack of interest in working hard for a common goal. And working hard in the space of art seems almost futile, like how would that be lucrative for a young person, to focus on their art? Where’s the page in the book that’s telling them that focusing on their work will be lucrative? For example, if someone were to come to your school, you don’t have to give the impression that the art is elite, but you do have to give the impression that it requires discipline. How do you then challenge a young person to see your art in a way that has discipline but not a tone of elitist knowledge? Does that make sense? It’s such a beautiful experience to go into the space of performance art, the long duration of work from it being a conceptual idea and then actually doing it and it becoming a reality. That’s a transition. What you’re saying is that it belongs to everyone, but what I’m saying is everyone shouldn’t feel that it’s easy to acquire.
MA: It’s the time now to really break the difference between the different media. There were all these strict borders on how it was done in the ’70s and ’80s. Before, if you were an artist you were not supposed to love fashion or go into pop culture. If you were a performance artist, you were supposed to hate theater. It is important now to go from one medium to another and look for the essence—the really good material that can actually create awareness for the audience and change their mind to see the world in different ways.
LG: Yes, exactly. I see my fans and how they become so excited by music. They are obsessed with what I’m creating and then in some way they find an inspiration in their own life, where they’re creating something that they become obsessed with. And they’re no longer obsessed with the icon, they’re obsessed with themselves.
MA: You’re showing them the way to themselves, you know.
LG: I want them to experience that self-love through creation and in the way that your art can give back to you. That’s ultimately what I care mostly about, our collaborations, and establishing a line…Intellectualism doesn’t also have to be elitist. You don’t have to have money or know people to be smart. I feel that in my heart. If anyone were to become obsessed with you, for example, and what you create, in the way that I was, and if they were to find your school and find your program and find that discipline…I’m sort of like an addict or junkie that will never go to rehab, you know?
MA: But you always do your research.
LG: Yes, I do the research, exactly. You’re my rehab, and the research is my rehab. And me coming out to the country with you and starving and waking up at times that you choose and walking long distances with no sense of direction or purpose, these are the things that challenge me. That is the rehab. That is the research, that’s the work. And what I was trying to get at is this idea that you can have money, or that you can pay your way into the art world, but it will ultimately destroy the art world. It will be run only by money and commercialism and a sense of artifice. Money is a fake representation of value. I want my fans to know the importance of putting in the work and the discipline. To me, you’re the most hard-core of them all; I always call you the don of the art mafia. That’s what we call you when you’re not around.
MA: When the students come to me and they say “I want to be rich and famous,” I tell them to go to hell, because being rich and famous is a side effect of lots of good work. That’s not the aim.
LG: The money is just there to make more things, and to make the work bigger. I don’t spend it on myself. I’m like sitting here on the couch with my wig on my lap, I have bruises all over my legs. I’ll take a picture for you. I must have at least 50 bruises on both legs.
MA: [laughs] I have a spider bite on my stomach and I’m sitting on my bed too.
LG: It’s like nothing changes except that I just become more excited and more hungry to make more and to challenge my mind. When I see my friends all together, we’re all making our work together; I really believe that it’s something. Like you said, Marina, you have to trust your ability to know at some point, that’s what makes you good. If you’ve done the research. We’re not in the age anymore where you can put the shovel in the wall and call it art. It’s over.
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: I have three questions. Number one, are you more relaxed now than you were two years ago?
LADY GAGA: Relaxation is so futile. I understand relaxation in only one way. I’m only relaxed when I’m on the stage.
MA: That’s a great answer. You are completely in your own element in the presence of giving, that’s why.
LG: When I’m on the stage, everything begins to fade and I relax. I feel the applause. I feel the energy of the room. When I walk onto the stage, the first thing I think is, Find the energy.
MA: This relation to the audience is very important. Do you feel them? I feel my audience. When I give a lecture, if someone goes to the bathroom I look to see if they come back, because I feel every single minute.
LG: Absolutely. I notice if they’re crying, if they’re laughing. I notice if they’re taking a picture, so I’ll smile. I notice everything, but I notice more something that’s much more visceral. It’s a feeling that they’re looking at something that they know is real, but that feels too impossible to be happening. That is the real rush that I want to give them, and that is what people did not understand about my work in the beginning. I know I’m still giving them that feeling. The feeling is a rush of adrenaline that could not possibly be real, but it is. It’s the magic of the fantasy of the performance of being a musical shape-shifter that goes from one song to the other. It’s like the ultimate magic trick, but it’s not actually a magic trick at all. I’ve spent hours and hours rehearsing and choreographing the garments as they come on and off my body with the wigs and the lipstick. And then the hours I spend in the studio. Oh, Marina, ARTPOP was like a long love affair. And it’s not over, it’s so wonderful. I have this endless experience with the music, where I’m so proud of it throughout its growth and duration. Even though I have moments with it where I’m disappointed, they glaze over. Then I give it some more time and I hang out with you, and I give it some more time and I go see Jeff [Koons] or I go see Robert Wilson to talk about the Life and Death of Marina Abramović and have coffee. I have this incredible opportunity each time I am in your wake, and in the wake of these great artists that I’m so lucky to be friends with. I really feel that there is a transfer of wisdom when I speak to you. It’s like I truly am listening to everything that you’re saying when you’re talking. So it’s not so much that I’m excited that people will know that I was with Marina Abramović—I mean, that alone I could go to sleep on for 10 years in happiness—but what they don’t know is that while I’m with you I’m writing down everything you’re saying. I’m keeping it in a log in my brain purse. And in my brain purse I’m putting everything that you’re saying. Last week I stood at the studio and we were mixing the record and I said, “More and more of less and less, please.”
MA: I just want to say something about this magic and how the audience doesn’t know how this happened or that happened. When you put so much work into something, the result has to be like without any effort. As if you’re standing on the waterfall and it just happened. When you see the effort, the public is tired, then you lose it. The public is gone.
LG: I didn’t get to see you when I was injured, but I was in a wheelchair for three whole months. Before that I was basically on a cane and in a wheelchair on the tour in between the shows, trying to rest my body. It felt like my humanity was leaking on the stage, like gas out of a car or an oil leak. As my hip was breaking…and you know I didn’t know it was my hip! Fuck if I know which part of my body it is that hurts the most. I don’t know. I can’t tell you that my hip hurts more than my back or my shoulders or my ass or my ankles in these fucking shoes or my tits. You know, after that “Scheiße” routine, at the end, where I’m bouncing all over the place? I was on tour for basically five years once I was on the “Born This Way” bus. It was the brunt of so many years of long-duration performances. The center [of the audience], where all the stands are, inside the runway, they know me like I’m their family. And they would just look at me and they’d know. They were whispering to me from the front row, “Are you okay? I love you. What’s wrong?”
MA: That’s the real deal.
LG: It is the real deal because they know what I’ve put in each time of my life and they knew what I was capable of, and when they saw my humanity start to leak, they didn’t punish me, they didn’t say, “Oh, you look human, we don’t like it.” My fans have always stood by me, but they let me know that they could see and it killed me. For them to see my humanity, which is something I think is not magical, as opposed to the work that I spend hours putting in the time—that’s the magic—that’s what I want them to experience. I don’t want them to see that.
MA: Wait, now I don’t agree with this. You have to learn to embrace this and you have to actually show your vulnerability to the public. When you show both sides, it’s unbeatable. They have to learn through you, you are actually a medium to them if you can show your fragility so they can accept their own. It’s a completely new level of working. You have to embrace that part, it’s a big deal.
LG: It’s so funny because in my own work, when I create it, if there’s an imperfection that was put there, I love it, so it’s not an issue for me. My humanity, since I’ve put out my first music into the public, is something I’ve been desperately hiding. I’ve been trying to figure out why I do this. What is it about my past that terrifies me? What I realized is that I just never settled the score with myself about some of my painful durations. Some of the things that I experienced with men, with the music business, with how they treat women, being a woman in a business with a lot of men, it was terrifying. It was terrifying. It was something that I truly don’t wish upon anyone. And it was my naïveté in thinking that my provocation or my sexuality was artistic because of the people that I looked up to. It was that which kind of led me into my greatness, but it also led me through a darkness that at one particular point I had to endure. Like I said, I wouldn’t change anything, but I suppose that time did make a much deeper impact on me than I had initially thought. I woke up one day and there were wigs everywhere. It was the silence of the wigs. I was a serial killer of my own self.
MA: A serial killer of oneself with the landscape of the wigs. That’s already a good start to a movie.
LG: Each wig represented a different day in my life when I had to be something else because I just could not go back to that place. In order to become a better artist, at some point I was going to have to go back to the nucleus of the work, and I didn’t want to go. And “Born This Way,” that whole era, was me not wanting to go. I just did not want to face any of it. I didn’t want to talk about it. You should see me try therapy, it’s like a nightmare. I hate it, Marina. I don’t understand talk therapy. It’s like, it’s so confusing, the questions that they ask me.
MA: It’s not therapy for us! It’s totally the wrong way, because we put everything in the work and turn it around and heal ourselves, and this is the magic we have. Therapy is for other human beings, but not for us, ever. Are you happy?
LG: Am I happy? Oh, yes. I feel so happy about the process. Speaking with you today and doing the interview this way, this has been such a treat for me, because I hate doing interviews and I love you so much and I just love hanging out with you anyway.
MA: The next question, Are you in love?
LG: Am I in love? I don’t want to answer that question. I think that the world judges the work based on whether you are in love or not. I don’t want to be judged on that.
MA: That’s totally right. My last question really is, What is the song on this album that summarizes ARTPOP? All of them talk about different things. This is a tough question, I never have a favorite work, but go ahead.
LG: “ARTPOP” is the song with the lyrics, especially I say, “a hybrid can withstand these things / my heart can beat with bricks and strings / my art pop could mean anything / we could belong together art pop.” It’s all about the strength of coming together and having an exchange with someone through an artistic process. And in this sense this artistic process can ultimately lead to a pop-tistic process.
MA: You know, if you transcribe all of this, it’s almost a book. I enjoyed this so much. These conversations are really important. It’s how we can mix things together. And another thing, I really trust you.
LG: I know. I really trust you too. You’re wonderful.
MA: And now, by the way, you have to sleep, and maybe it’s not a bad idea to start eating breakfast. Now I’m talking like Mother Abramović.
LG: I know, but I never know when I’m going to be sleeping or awake. I never know when I’m going to get an idea, and if I get an idea I have to work.
MA: That is the diseased artist!
LG: If I don’t have an idea, then I’m probably asleep or else I have to be somewhere.
MA: But then there’s another interesting exercise when you have to remember the moment before you’re really awake—the transition from the sleep state to the wake state.
LG: I have a lot of ideas during that time.
MA: I had this recurring dream where it was always a house somewhere in the woods and there was a party in this house. And the people I knew, I knew only from the dream. And they’re there with all of their friends and they’re very happy, but I don’t know them in real life. And then I dreamt again and it’s the same party, and everybody has gray hair. I could not believe in my dream you can actually get old.
LG: Did you have a conversation with the dons of dreaming? You said, “Listen, dons of dreaming, you are not allowed to get old in dreams?”
MA: I couldn’t tell them. They were all gray. I don’t think I really dream anymore. They’re gone, maybe they died. They’re gone forever. Now it’s late and I’m going to sleep and you’re going to get a new idea and this is the end. But I really love this. Something really caught me when you said, “Nobody knows how much it took to get there.”
LG: I know what it took for you to get there. I mean I might not totally know, but…
MA: I know that you know! It’s a lot of work. And these photographs, they’re really disturbing. Really strong. They’re amazing. They stay in your memory. I love the position of the hands. Strong, strong, strong. The energy was there. I mean, it was like, Oh my god, this one is going all the way. Okay, I’m going to sleep now. We’ll go for dinner. We don’t even need to eat.
LG: [laughs] We’ll eat, it’s fine! I don’t eat breakfast. My gosh, you see? A lack of discipline in one area and you’re already reaming me about dinner!
MA: Three meals a day. It’s a mechanical element, like a car. You have to put the gasoline. Anyway, that’s a different topic. I’m not going to give a lecture now. Totally not. Love you!