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Awake and Dreaming: Perea ‘24 at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio

The words appear stark against the old wall, somewhere between a whisper and a shout. It is one of many phrases scrawled upon hallways and pillars. Some have clear intentions like the names and phone numbers scribbled onto corners and others are musings or perhaps faux-deep ramblings. Either way, they are memories, remnants of Antioch’s past. 

When I first saw the words, “awake and dreaming,” drawn on that wall, all I could think was how beautifully, intentional or otherwise, the phrase captures the feeling of setting foot in the Antioch Art Building. Towering in the space between the Arts and Science Building and the Foundry Theatre, the building has always been sort of an enigma to myself and my fellow students. It was designed by members of the group known as Ant Farm (better known for famous pieces such as “Media Burn” and “Cadillac Ranch”) and built in 1971. For decades, it served as Antioch’s art building before falling into disrepair along with so many others during the campus’ 2008 closure. Since then, it has served only as an occasional gallery space and a spot for curious students to break into and explore. As one of those curious students, I can say that it truly feels like a waking dream, a space nearly untouched but slowly being reclaimed by nature and atrophy. It is beautiful in ways that are difficult to explain. It is in this reverence, though, that I was inspired to design my co-op where fellow student Lola Nelson-Betz and I would serve as co-filmmakers on Awake and Dreaming, a full-length documentary on the Antioch Art Building.

The film is being created as an Antioch Works job through the Ant Farm Antioch Art Building Creative Preservation Initiative (AFAAB). This initiative aims to restore the Art Building to its former glory and functionality by educating the public about its rich history. Under the supervision of AFAAB’s Liz Flyntz ’02 and Professor Catalina Jordan Alvarez, my fellow filmmaker and I have been hard at work to create Awake and Dreaming. Our vision is to paint a picture of the building’s history, impact, and future through an experimental mix of footage, interviews, and animation.

Working on our documentary has been an adventure. Some days are spent brainstorming, sipping chai in the sun, and others are spent filming, editing, and learning. As someone who is still new to the art of filmmaking, it has been an incredible opportunity to learn experientially. I am hoping that this experience will serve not only as a jumping-off point for my career in film but also as a loving celebration of a building that means so much to me.

You can follow the production of Awake and Dreaming on Instagram at @awake_and_dreaming_official and AFAAB on Facebook here.

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Michael Perea 23' is a current student pursuing a self-designed major in Media Arts, Visual Arts, and Society. His main passion lies in using an interdisciplinary approach to evoke challenging feelings and stories through 3D installation, digital media and animation, and fine arts.

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