inside the spiral

"inside the spiral" video piece (2022). Spiral graphic by Ann Treesa Joy

Hello, my name is Noah Gokul (they/m), I’m a queer multidisciplary artist, educator, and mental health activist, and this summer I spiraled. A lot of life events unfolded for me recently. After 5 years in New York, I decided to leave. I moved into my Mom’s basement in Portland, Oregon, and bought a one-way ticket to Berlin for the end of summer. I joined GlogauAIR residency, which felt like an opportunity to explore how my sensitivities and healing could be expressed through art. I felt inside spaces of grief, anxiety, hope, excitement, discomfort, uncertainty, overwhelm, and curiosity. I approached the residency as a space for research, experimentation and process.

I felt a deep desire to explore how anxiety was showing up for me. It feels like intrusive, looping thoughts that disconnect me, like I am in many different places and times at once. I connected my anxiety to spirals in nature, specifically the fern. I have a connection with the Māori spiral, Koru, because of family ties to New Zealand. Based on an unfurling fern frond, Koru is a symbol of creation, perpetual movement, new life, and returning to origins. I began asking the questions, what if spiraling could be a transformative process? As an intuitive need to return back to myself? What if, at the center of the spiral, there is a root cause, or a new beginning? What if there is no center of the spiral?

This summer, while in Portland, New York City, and Berlin, I interacted with my environment by taking video, and noticing the anxious thoughts showing up in each place. I used this footage to create a video piece called “inside the spiral”. I painted spirals, inspired by the Koru. I played with the concept of ferns unraveling from a spiral and then shaping the fronds back into spirals. I collaborated with my partner to create an audio piece about their experience of spiraling. I wasn’t fully conscious of what I was doing a lot of the time. I allowed the work to flow and unfurl intuitively, valuing the process, embodying the spiral. 

Thank you for being here, and witnessing my work. I am excited to explore further ways to experiment and share my research. I hope it resonates with anyone who goes through their own spirals. 

With gratitude and care,