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Black night sky with an open wooden window with a silver handle above the moon.


Published: 11 May 2021 Author: Rosie O'Grady

This text was commissioned as part of Practice Makes Practice. It is an intimate score which uses punctuation to orchestrate the movement of its reader. Based loosely on a performance for The Driver’s Seat at Cubitt Gallery, and a workshop for the GRADJOB programme at Embassy Gallery, it introduces specific gestures which can be integrated into a daily routine to promote lucid dreaming. These previous works proposed that lucid dreaming can become a political tool, as a space to rehearse acts of public speaking, resilience and confrontation.

The text takes around ten minutes to read. We will also be announcing a collective reading event soon.

okay you can shadow me for a bit

but you will need to help me

could you pay close attention

to punctuation

every time i type


you switch a light on

and you tip it


if i type this \

not sure i have any advice


as i say

you can follow / and

maybe having company will help

if we can get in sync


feels a bit

\ unhinged /


did you begin

with the light yet

or did you just think it

off unhinged on

you scroll but

the point is we might be able to

keep a grip

if we

\ /


it could be a kind of disco

\/\/\/ strobe

and we could dance

if you just

\           /


it might seem disruptive

the sudden dark \

/ you should read ahead

so when the light goes

you are not left




this thing about paying attention

to lights

i learned

as a trick

it helps to register

the difference between

dreaming \                                       /

and reality

if you can keep a check

on incidental gesture

and whether

things display \/\/\/ normal behaviour \/\/\/



strobing or

not responding \

shadows or

nothing happening /

it becomes possible to

lucid dream

that is

see that you are dreaming

if light goes \ awry

like i said

not advice but

it has been a struggle lately

to keep traction with reality

i thought

/ cue light

maybe together we can

keep score and

try it



how are the shadows

if you jut your hips

side to side

like this




do the shadows perform

if yes


chances are we are awake

there are other gestures

that check

\/ normal behaviour \/

are you still at the light switch

it is about to get more complex


this little glyph


the asterisk

sometimes signifies a footnote

but in this case

check your wrist for a watch

or look to your phone

tell the time

maybe on a digital radio

use your initiative

keep it close

to the light switch

it will be easy to distinguish

\ /



one to check shadows

the next to check seconds

* * *

are they regular

the advantage of digital is you can




read it in the dark

you might want to put some music on now

i usually do

to \ block out / the sound

of baby sensory class

downstairs from the studio

on a tuesday

every week they sing

say hello to the sun

shining down on me


i mask it with my own playlist

all about horses


all the wild horses in the sun


howm i sposed to get any writing done


the lyric is actually


but as far as i know

dylan never had to compete with

baby sensory songs


another punctuation

to add to the surveillance

of shadows and seconds

imagine the trouble dickinson would have

without the dash

bridging between thoughts

take two fingers

press them against the skin

beneath the hinge of your jaw

we can try it in duet

every –

check your pulse for irregularity

forever – is composed of nows –

tis not a different time –

except for infiniteness –

and latitude of home –

from this – experienced here –

remove the dates – to these –

let months dissolve in further months –

and years – exhale in \

enough dickinson /

your pulse must be

well checked

did you notice

there is so much rock music

about horses

becomes something

when they are collated

but in general

i am not a fan of horses


i watch the baby class

from the cctv

but not lately

are you keeping up

the baby class is not important

just part of a routine but

things have become more tricky \

since i no longer have access to the studio


it is one of the reasons your help is welcome

think i am losing my grip


on tuesday i emailed the others

a link

to the sun song

happy tuesday kids

i almost miss it


on monday

my sibling – scores through –

all the days that have changed

so would this have been monday the twenty third

i will say it again

things are slipping


in musical notation


marks the release of the sustain pedal \

/ after a period of depression

or in liturgical music

special notation keeps the congregation

singing in unison

the asterisk denotes a deliberate pause

in the wilderness *

is the example on forums dot catholic dot com

my flatmates all share a speaker

pair our devices by bluetooth –

this week i switched it on in the kitchen

it started broadcasting something about

domestic violence in a foreign language –

latitude of home

what a line

someone is leaning really far out and

*clapping* from their window

sounds like


i miss the postcards in my studio

one from a screening event

muybridge measuring apparatus but –

no horses –


a still from flash

in the metropolitan

and a page photocopied

\ /   mmmmmmmmm   \ /

describes how akerman

gave protagonists

agency switching lights

\ off and

/ on

like theatre spots

it is true

lights are rarely switched in film

unless the genre is

horror also asterisk

is sometimes used to denote a wildcard

or to censor expletives

they are at it again

clapping at the window


in the park

the exercise equipment

is bound in \ plastic tape /

there has been an accident

or crime though

no damage –

and looks like it has been applied in haste

also chalk on tarmac

i see a cluster

above the bandstand

there is a large sun


say hello happy tuesday

yellow beams on asphalt


i notice its features

are set in \ an acute scowl /

each ray eclipsed by a nodule –

looks like a hedgehog

from childhood parties –

half a citrus upturned and skewered

with pieces of cheese and pineapple


oh i realise now

it is an angry virus


in january

someone told me

their resolution was to

recalibrate their relationship with time *

i recently bought a watch but /

do not wind it

my flatmate suggests

a russian drinking game

all clocks are removed

then everyone drinks

on waking

all have to guess

the time and day

things feel unsteady

though we have not started playing yet


i need to set up

new systems for telling time

when i moved in to this flat

the letting agent said

so you are taking the attic room

like anne frank

\ not only reality

also some

people are really

unhinged /

did we get the hang of it

all these gestures

are they helping

one last one


pinch yourself

dot dot with your finger and

thumb on your arm

is this reality

do you feel that :

my sibling is on the phone

crossing a mire

like a minor bronte

the lapwings are making a racket on the line while

i am in lidl

standing at the yellow and black

tape in the aisle

– one coffin length –

apart from the bald man but

someone is looking at biscuits

shelved between us

disrupts our \ perfect interval /

i am going to put you in my pocket

while i jump this bog

full of petrol


i am waiting for the conveyor belt

thinking about giotto / the shopping queue

everyone in profile :

pigeons scratched in plaster

banners overhead

tea coffee confectionary

they made it over the bog

forgot the date

signed something



i dont do it much

but some people use punctuation

to make faces

: – /


: –  *

blowing you a kiss

or pinch pulse wrist

in terms of gesture

look at you : almost fluent

there is another song

marks the end * of baby

sensory class

wave goodbye goodbye wave goodbye

and the last verse :

shh shh shhhhhhh

shh shh

shh shh shhhhhhh

shh shh

shh shh shhhhhhh shhhhhh shhhhhh


on tuesdays

i used to hear them all

hushing through the studio floor


a friend told me their neighbour

changed the name of their wifi

to a declaration of love

i thought :

what a reckless act

i want to try it

measured the range of our signal

down the common stairwell –

it only reached so far

then cut out


an intimate audience but

i thought of a way to broadcast further

outside and across the street

morse code

like in parasite

but less sinister

a quick flash

a dot / \

and a long one

a dash /          \

we can separate letters with lines

leave a long pause

/ \ / \

/ \ /          \ / \ / \

/          \ /          \ /          \

/ \ / \ / \ /          \

/ \

/          \ / \ /          \ /          \

/          \ /          \ /          \

/ \ / \ /          \

survival skills

i think you will be okay


Rosie O’Grady‘s practice manifests in video, performance, text, print, installation and temporary intervention. Acts of collapsing and flattening can be traced throughout – in its methods, material, and subject matter. Using these processes, the work often attempts to activate moments of disorientation, which unsettle our relationship to histories, bodies, information and objects.

Rosie O’Grady lives and works in Glasgow. She was resident at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh 2018-2021. She was awarded the Glasgow Open Bursary for Glasgow International 2018 and presented her first solo exhibition May Day at House for an Art Lover. Other group exhibitions and projects include What’s Love Got To Do With It? at Art-Cade Gallery, Marseille, Printemps de l’Art Contemporain Festival 2018; The Driver’s Seat at Cubitt Gallery, London 2018; and Over Over Over, Simone de Sousa Gallery, Detroit 2015. In 2019, she developed two curatorial projects under the title Strange Weather and has previously worked in programming roles as a committee member at Market Gallery (2014-2016) and Programme Coordinator at Glasgow Sculpture Studios (2015-2016). She undertook a Graduate Residency at Hospitalfield 2015.