Day 5.5 :: Sean :: Batman!

I am wearing my Nusrat outfit. I am ready to go.

I am typing like mad to fit things in. I am not ready to go.

This is my last chance to say “Previously in ‘The Subjects’” . . . (more…)

Day 5 :: Fee :: The Box

A casually smart woman in a blue shirt and jeans hands me a box. “Please take a seat” she says, indicating a green chair facing a white wall. This positioning seems strange but everything about this place has a slightly odd ring to it so I decide to just go with it. (more…)

Day 5 :: Sean :: Ms. PVT in leather

We’re all in agreement, rightly or wrongly, that it’s now Friday morning. So the time has come for us to start tying loose ends, and to do some of the things we talked about doing, if we haven’t already done them. No second chances. (If we do have an extra day, I’m going to look kinda dumb for saying that. Perhaps I should avoid clichés.) It’s time to revolt.

As the preparations began for sleep last night, I was reminded of Gary Numan’s song “I Dream of Wires”. We were doing just that, but sleep was a long time coming. We sat up in bed for ages, waiting to conduct the test exercises (eyes open for thirty seconds, eyes closed for thirty seconds, blink five times, clench your jaw and swallow), during which time lying down was verboten. (more…)

Day 4 :: Fee :: All the Feelings

It could be Friday night roundabout now (or it could be any other time AT ALL) but I’m feeling in a Friday night/end of the week reflective mood, so I’m going with that. It’s been a long, and yet rapidly moving week. Now it feels like it’s coming to an end, I’m wondering what it all means. (more…)

Ask the Subjects :: I can’t do without my…..

At this stage of the game what’s the one thing you have with you that you feel you really couldn’t do without?


Music was the biggest thing that saved my sanity and the other ‘band members’ in the subjects. They made it an enjoyable experience and if I didn’t have that camaraderie it would have been a way tougher experience. Drew came in one day and said that the earlier sleep studies were done in total isolation which would have been intensively more difficult. We made up our own superhero characters and I laughed more than I have in a long time and had more ‘real’ conversations because there weren’t any distractions. Even though I had a TV in my room I never watched it, I only used it to play music because I was so interested in making my art. The best thing about making art was that it killed a lot of time and the only thing that broke up my making art was the routine and consistency of testing. Also it was difficult not being allowed to exercise and that keeps my balance in my practice and life.

Thom Buchanan

I might have got through it without pen and paper, but I would have been unhappy. Pen and paper kept me relatively sane. When I was too tired to write or read, at least I could draw.

Jennifer Mills

Ask the Subjects :: Willing compliance?

I’ve noticed that the theme of compliance has been mentioned many times and obviously everyone went into this being willing participants but I’m curious though how that compliance is filtering into your creative mediums?

Additionally, is it making you reflect on how much control you have in the ‘real world’ over your creative processes?


I ended up drawing works that related back to the PVT tests and how much I disliked them. I set up my own restraints because I only had a small workspace to work in (I wish I took an easel in) and so I was complying with my own rules and restraints as well as the rules of the experiment.  I think compliance is a symbiotic relationship to all relationships. A lot of my work reflected the isolation and was process driven rather than finished works. In my studio at home I often go for walks if I get blocked but in here I spent time pacing the corridors of the bunker like a caged tiger.

Thom Buchanan

Yes, and yes. The lack of intellectual control really made me stop writing towards the end. I value my freedom of thought even more now than I did before. I am definitely still thinking about creativity, control and agency

Jennifer Mills

Day 5 :: Thom :: …in the outside realm

Another built painting/drawing thinking of the built environment in the outside realm


Day 5 :: Jen :: Full of Pep anyone?

There’s a questionnaire of feelings that we repeatedly have to fill out as part of our testing. It’s from 1971 and I don’t relate to a lot of the terms – does anyone ever feel Full Of Pep anymore? (more…)

Day 4 :: Sean :: This is not sustainable

Thom and I are up early.

I was hoping this might happen, as it’ll give me a chance to do some work without testing getting in the way. I had a broken, uneven rest, and I think I might’ve dropped off just before the lights came back on, so I’m feeling shaky, easily confused, mentally below par. Don’t know how long I have to get down the ideas I had overnight, so I won’t talk long now, except to say this:

If PVT took some cues from PvP, it would be a whole different experience in here.

To prove how below par my brain is at the moment, I wrote “queues” there.

The forecast is for a loooooong day, whatever day it is. (more…)

Day 4 :: Thom :: Two thumbs up…

Ode to the repetitive testing and the mentality and physicality
of the devices used in our torture



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