“To comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” It was an immense pleasure standing in front of Nicholas Galanin’s magnificent White Noise: American Prayer Rug at Crystal Bridges. A nostalgigalactic magic mirror, I mind-traveled back to those old TV sets between channels. People born after June 12, 2009 won’t remember the broadcasted, analog world, where tv snow was part of daily life. We’ll tell our children of that static chaos that filled the screen before a VHS tape began and after every story ended. It also appeared whenever a signal was broken. Static represents a transition, a bardo, a liminal space, and a break. I remember that in the 1990s, tv static was used for scrying and television magick. Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Psychic TV were English rock bands and occult research groups that experimented with staring into tv snow until shapes and images appeared (finding the signal in the noise). There was also a quasi-magical tendency for television to sometimes predict the future, or to act as a medium for messages from disembodied beings. Less occult is the fact that staring at tv snow for just ten seconds can put you in a theta brainwave state! No wonder some of us loved to do it so much. This state of deep relaxation may be mentally and physically healing. However, tv static, like tvs, can also be dangerous, hypnotic, can lead to hearing voices, and we remember the movie Poltergeist. Static is unsettling. And yet, literal “white noise” is sold as a sleeping aid, and playing white noise while studying supposedly improves our ability to learn. Standing there, at Crystal Bridges, I was reminded of the large, sparkling, all-over paintings of Jackson Pollock (see Pollock’s “White Light”), and the abex “white writing” of Mark Tobey. White Noise American Prayer Rug is a polysemous, transmotional, monumentally simple and straight forward painting disguised as a rug. Classical Native American pictorial rugs were very expensive and hung on walls like paintings. These ‘double agents’ coevolved with the demands of the white market, leading to a Native dependence on Pendleton blankets and to boarding schools turning into sweat-shops. It’s horrible. There is darkness and trauma, as well as survival and resistance within the Navajo eye-dazzlers and sand-painting rugs. The images in the center of some of the rugs symbolize “entire universes,” and some traditional rugs are cosmograms and healing sigils. “Spirit lines” are added as a means to escape and resist. Galanin’s rug lives in the light of Hosteen Klah’s healing rugs, but also points to the numinous Persian and Ottoman prayer rugs that help people get closer to their creator. And, behind all these things, “White Noise” is a pun, a ping, a reminder of white people noise, the ‘whitestream media’ and its white supremacy. Nicholas Galanins’s rug is serious, poignant, AND really clever and funny. It was an honor to see it in person.