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Tortoise dream

This project started in the autumn of 2020, at the time when all grown up tortoises start getting ready to hibernate and young ones are still wandering awake. Young tortoises don't go to sleep for the winter months and continue foraging in a state resembling that of sleepwalking. I started drawing my four young tortoises from life and after trying to find any research papers on tortoise sleep to no satisfactory result, my think-drawing took off.

Think-drawing is a mode of drawing I use when I need to digest my thoughts through movement. I let go of my focus and let my hand do the thinking for me. After that, I look back through my think-drawings and see what those drawings tell me. In this way I've realized that tortoise shells are memory plates. The outer bits of the shell or the first layer of the shell grows at the time when baby tortoise is still in her egg, this baby layer stays connected to the outside world for the rest of tortoise's life. The incredible thing about tortoises is that their shells grow their layers of shell very slowly and each layer pushes the previous layer of organic memory further away from the body, yet all those layers of memory make the unified shell, which is connected to the spine of a tortoise, making it tough yet sensitive. When tortoises bask in the sun, sun radiation passes through the baby layer of the shell, then trough all the other memory of shell layers reaching the most recent soft and still forming layer that passes the heat of the sun to the nervous system of tortoise's spine. I can't possibly know what the tortoises dream about, yet isn't it amazing how tortoise's experience of the world always starts through her baby layer . One day I'll make a book of drawings out of this project. So far, these are the think-drawings I've for now.

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