Chris Berens

Baku and Maruka

mixed media on panel
26 x 18 cm 2022

Maruka loves to dream. But she’s afraid to go to sleep. Sleep is a particularly vulnerable state of being for Maruka because she believes, as young as she is, that her spirit and physical body seem to separate while she dreams. She read that somewhere. And now it’s real. Maruka has thought about this eerie feeling a lot and has come up with the profession of pillow shifter.

You see, to Maruka, the pillow is not what a pillow is to you. It is a threshold, a sort of magical device, that allows her to travel to another world. Because of this, pillows must at all times be treated with respect. Up until today, it would have been so disturbing to her to wake up and discover that her pillow had been shifted. If her pillow would have been moved while she was asleep, it was possible that her spirit would not be able to return to tiny body. This threat turns a seemingly harmless prank of the Pillow Stealer into a super scary one because of the vulnerable unconscious state of dreaming.

So now Makura wants to be a pillow shifter when she grows up. She doesn’t have to go to sleep in order for her to dream. She just needs a pillow. And in case she does fall asleep, she has Baku. Baku is a dream-eater, is a benevolent, cuddly but ravenous creature with a specific appetite for and the power to eat nightmares.

BAKU AND MARUKA work smart when they can, and only hard when they have to. And most of all, they work together. Maruka has a deep desire and an equally deep fear. As a professional dreamer, she knows that thinking, fearing, desiring or feeling something makes it as real as it gets. So, she maps it all out. Her dreams, her desires, her fears, her doubts and her thoughts. And together with Baku, she works around the problems. Not by sidestepping, but transforming them into ideas, opportunities and solutions.

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