Drawn from notes taken by channeling trance states over many years, Toni Simon’s Telescope Highway is a surreal satire on a dystopic future, peppered with ancient and pop culture references humorously joined at the lip. Accompanied by her deliriously delicious drawings, the artist in Simon encourages the word to grow octopus arms wriggling off the face of a clock. Fantastic messages sprout from “hybrid mentalists,” revealing a Bosch-meets-Alice pageant that unfolds under mystic eyelids. “Marching fairytales” escape from an automatic mouth as “Barcode Madonna decries messiah backlash when foresight brings the carpenter to the apocalypse.” Civilizations crumble and bloom following one word or image to the next. It’s at this timeless echo-crackle of currents “before and after” that Simon’s work takes off on the Telescope Highway. Words peck their way through “crinkle time” while chasing toy mirages into dust. A “golden princess” lost in the labyrinthine swirl of events longs to find her way home and muses “There is no certainty, only relation … we had only ourselves to pursue.” With this visionary poem, Toni Simon entwines word and image into a unique, spellbinding odyssey that will be remembered for years to come.
If "destiny is what remains outside the door / waiting to be delivered" Telescope Highway is your friendly "occult wakeup call." Toni Simon is a modern mystic channeling what you most urgently require. Like Will Alexander's visionary writings or Hilma Af Klint’s expansive and revelatory art, these poems and paintings for ancient-future inhabitants open like the oracular space between your eyes. You may be anywhere at any time, or you may go to a place which has no "where," an instant beyond finite consciousness.Telescope Highway is an extraordinary way to travel especially during these baffling times.
Telescope Highway is a great-grandchild of Breton and Eluard’s Magnetic Fields and is also akin to the wild vision of Philip Lamantia’s poetry and the gnomic magic of the Wizard of Oz. Transmitted in trance and notated with drawings, Toni Simon’s apocalyptic “songs out of salt shakers,” “appearing within, hidden in a package, the thread, and a mesmerization mirror” are conveyed in a series of profoundly enigmatic, metaphoric communications that warn, chill, enchant and are to be revisited so as to apprehend all of their myriad facets. “A subterranean vestibule” this writing queries the nature of the “darkened time tunnel detours.” A “slippery, silvery serpent” in this sibylline text may be read as a picture of time or, paradoxically, the “timeless stretch of meaning visited by the spirit.”
Toni Simon is a multimedia artist and writer living in Brooklyn with her husband, poet Nick Piombino. Her work encompasses the ways in which the future might appear, the shape of things to come, accessed through trance states. The process of channeled, automatic writing led to Simon's illustrated book and animated videos of experimental prose poetry Earth After Earth (Lunar Chandelier Press, 2012) and to Telescope Highway. She collaborated with Joanna Fuhrman on Dear Air, a combination of photography, sculpture and poetry. Simon’s drawings have been exhibited at the Drawing Center in NYC.