kagablog

April 2, 2015

frank moore on performance

Filed under: art,Frank Moore — ABRAXAS @ 9:17 am

When someone goes to a cabaret, he knows there are certain limits involved such as that each act must end before another begins; but in performance, anything is possible. A performance can last for a minute or it can last for days. Performance can start in one space but then move to another. Performance can be storytelling, it can be a guy threatening you with a baseball bat, it can be a guy hanging by his skin, or throwing food, or anything. In performance all things are possible. And that is what gives you an extra edge to create dreams.

Performance, like any avant garde art, is the way society dreams; it is the way society expands its freedom, explores the forbidden in safety, loosens up. Society needs its dream art, just as an individual needs to dream or will go insane. Our moral majority society, bent on going backwards into the violent blank rigidity of a censored mind, needs taboo breaking dreams to get back to freedom. Performance is perfectly suited for this dream role. At the present time, our society is at a fork in its growth. It can go deeper into high tech impersonal isolation, or it can rediscover the magic that happens when physical and emotional humans actively and directly link up with one another. Art can either just follow society, just recording the trends, or it can take a pathbreaker role. I am talking to you artists who are not as lucky as I am to have a physical reminder that they are misfits of society whose job it is to push back the limits of society. This is a reminder that we misfits are still needed.

Mother's Day from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

Performance art, the art of performance, is rooted in the private games of babies where every move and gesture has its own meaning to the baby it is rooted in the creative and the destructive games that a little kid does when he is all alone games that adults still do, but will not admit to doing, even to themselves.

One of the main criticisms I get is that my art is old fashioned, a throwback to the 60′s. I find this funny because the roots of the art are much more old fashioned than that, going back to the cave.

Performance obviously goes much farther back than 1909 when it became a formal art form. The Futurists were reacting to the bankruptcy of formal art, with its gallery power scene, the elitism of art, the money, the politics, and the social scene of art. This is a true but a one sided view of why performance appeared at that time.

I think performance came into existence to fill a void in western life. The void was the lack of magic and inspiration. The two areas of creativity, theatre and religion that traditionally were the source of this magical inspiration had long ago moved from magic to entertainment and politics. This void also gave birth to psychology during that same time period. I often get the criticism that my work is really psychology and therapy, and not art. When it is realized that psychology as a formal science and performance as a formal art were born at the same time, this criticism can be answered. Performance and psychology are both involved in spiritual healing by digging into the hidden mysteries of life.

The dynamic of seeing art is not the fundamental dynamic of art. The doing of art is art’s basic dynamic. The doing of art and having other people see the art work are two separate dynamics, events, rituals. The seeing of art is what the viewer or listener does in her head. The doing of art is the ritual of creation, is what the artist does. In reality, this ritual has more to do with the act of doing than the act of creating. When a child first draws crazy lines on the wall, he is not trying to create something…but to do something for some effective purpose that our linear logic cannot grasp. The crazy person does his insane rituals, not to express himself but to keep the sky from falling or to make pain go away. And it works. The sky does not fall down. Maybe it is because of the rituals of the insane.

A SACRIFICE from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

The very act of doing changes the whole universe. This is a key principle of magic. By doing a ritual or by speaking a spell, you can effect change. Painting a picture, doing a dance, writing a poem, any act of art can be a magical ritual, the doing of which has nonlinear effects. Seen in this way, most acts of creation are private rituals done in personal caves. What we usually think of as works of art are aftermaths of art.

The problem with our modern frame of art reality is not that we make art to be seen, but that we have forgotten (or have been made to forget by those who control what is to be seen and what is not) that the power of doing art is the main power of art. The private performance is a way to regain the magical power of the doing of art. Defining what a private performance is is an interesting way to enter the magic. I define it as a ritual that is not for an audience. It is something that has to be done, something you may not even want to do. One of the easiest to frame as a private performance is a shaman going to his secret spot to do rites nobody will see to open himself up for channeling visions that he cannot personally use or tell anyone about. We have seen other obvious private performances the child, the madman, the artist alone doing art. We can add things like doodling, singing in the shower, playing invisible drums to the radio when you are safe alone in your room. It is something that has to come out. It is something too silly, too taboo, too sacred, too intense, too raw, too vulnerable to be done in public, to be expressed. This may be where real art begins. This kind of doing by one person is clearly private performance. It has an element of secrecy and undercover. I can remember singing on my bed along with the radio, quickly stopping when anyone opened the door, not wanting to be exposed, not wanting to lessen the magic. And now I sing in rock clubs.

The hidden ritual not only kept me from insanity (some people will say that makes it therapy, not art), but opened nonlinear routes of possibilities not only for me, but for everybody. The private performance gives the artist freedom from limits and shoulds and morals, so that she can go beyond where the society or culture or the consciousness has reached, to connect to the universal power. By doing this she brings a new universal area into this reality.

first published here: http://www.eroplay.com/Cave/shaman.html#WritingAnchor

March 29, 2015

frank moore on the cave of creation

Filed under: art,Frank Moore,i&I younity movement — ABRAXAS @ 1:25 am

“The problem with our modern frame of art reality is its preoccupation with what is seen. What we usually think of as works of art are aftermaths of art. The fundamental dynamic of art is in the doing. The doing of art and having other people see the artwork are two separate dynamics, events, rituals. The seeing of art is what the viewer or the listener does in her head. The doing of art is the ritual of creation, is what the artist does. In reality, this ritual has more to do with the act of doing than the act of creation. When a child first draws crazy lines on the wall, he is not trying to create something or express himself or show you something … but to do something for some effective purpose that our linear logic cannot grasp. The crazy person does his insane rituals, not to express himself, but to keep the sky from falling or to make pain go away. And it works. The sky does not fall down. Maybe it is because of the rituals of the insane.

“The very act of doing changes the whole universe. This is a key principle of magic. By doing a ritual or by speaking a spell, you can effect change. Painting a picture, doing a dance, writing a poem, any act of art can be a magical ritual, the doing of which has nonlinear effects. Most acts of creation are private rituals done in personal caves.

“The ancient cave artists operated in this magical way. Their art was not for looking at. This is why they did their rituals and paintings in very dangerous, inaccessible, pitch-black bowels of caves. The purpose of these paintings and rituals was to magically effect change in the world (the past, the present, and the future, as well as the life after death …) or to communicate with the universal powers. The act of doing this magical art released an energy, some of which remained within these caves, making them ‘holy’ or ‘magical’ sites. The walls of a lot of these caves have layers upon layers of magical drawings done by different tribes over the time spans of hundreds or thousands of years. These tribes may have been drawn to these dangerously inaccessible caves by this special energy, released through the doing of art, stored in the caves, radiating out of the caves, and recharged by every new act of magic art done within the cave.

first published here: http://www.eroplay.com/Cave/magicalblend.html

on art and the abyss

Filed under: art,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 12:25 am

What art presents are not the Ideas of Reason, but the Chaos, the Abyss, the Groundlessness to which it gives form. And through this presentation, it is a window on the Chaos; it abolishes our tranquil and stupid assurance about our daily life; it reminds us that we forever live at the edge of the Abyss.
Cornelius Castoriadis

March 26, 2015

EROART by Frank Moore (1984)

Filed under: art,Frank Moore,nicola deane,sex — ABRAXAS @ 10:52 am

I wrote the below manifesto before the internet, before people like Annie Sprinkle reclaimed the word “porn” for life affirming art, before VIMEO.com, really before a lot of things. I am bringing it back from the vault because I am starting a new group on VIMEO.com, NUDE PERFORMANCE ART, DANCE AND VIDEO. There is a ton of what I called below EROART of all kinds on VIMEO.com. the erart video group is here: https://vimeo.com/groups/eroart
Frank Moore, August 2011

EROART
Frank Moore
1984

Thanks to the repressive, anti sexual, anti pleasure morality, romanticism, and pornography, the traditional area of eroart — art that uses nudity, physicality, and/or sex to turn people on to life — has been ripped off by pornography.

Almost everyone is against porn films. Almost everybody in his right mind. But everybody isn’t in his right mind, which is why there is porn anyway. But it is fashionable to be against porn. There are many good reasons to be against porn. Fashion is not one of them. The anti sex, anti pleasure, anti nudity morality is not one of the good reasons to be anti porn. This kind of repressive morality is the main reason why during the nineteenth century kinky violent porn caught on.

What I am interested in is art that creates in people the desire to go out and play with other people, and to enjoy life. This is the art of eroplay. Historically, one of the tools of this art has been the sex act. But sex has only been a tool, not the goal. And it is just one of many tools.

NICOLA'S FIRST ORGASM from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

Isadora Duncan is a person whom I would call an artist in the eroplay tradition. She used nudity (especially at private parties where she could dance without feeling moral judgments) and movement to turn people on physically to their own bodies and to passion for life. This is the true goal of eroplay art, which has been called eroart. Most books on eroart miss the true purpose of such art. There has always been sexual erotic art. This kind of art is universal and can be traced back to the caves and beyond.

This is not true for what is defined as porn. I am trying to define eroart. We are forced to separate it from porn, and rightly so.

It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is human to be anti porn because porn is anti human, not only anti female. It is violence between individual people. At times, this violence is graphic. It is personal and intimate violence in a hostile and impersonal form. I hurt you to make me feel turned on because I cannot get turned on in any other way because I cannot feel … besides, you like being hurt … if you don’t … who cares. This isn’t the symbolic or surreal violence in other kinds of films.

Porn is also anti human because it creates a picture of what sex should be that is unreal and boring. It creates pictures of what you should be like … pictures which are hard to live up to … and if you do live up to them, you will be a big- dicked jerk or a big titted bimbo.

These are the fundamental reasons why to be anti porn.

PRIMAL SCENE from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

But face it, the main reason that most people are anti porn is because porn is boring and dumb. The people who make porn (I am talking about straight porn now, leaving the kinky, violent porn in the trash can) think that the main reason why people go to see porn is to see tubes going in and out of holes. So they cram in as many tubes going in and out of holes as possible in ninety minutes … and as close up as possible. This may be true for some people, but for most people, it gets boring once curiosity is satisfied, curiosity about what it looks like, and once the possibility of seeing everything is fulfilled.

It is fashionable to be anti porn. But it is not fashionable to offer an alternative to porn. It is not fashionable to admit that people like seeing other people nude, seeing other people getting turned on and being turned on. It is not fashionable to admit people are curious to see other people’s bodies, to see what they are really like under those clothes. It is not fashionable to admit people feel cheated whenever the camera moves away, fades away, when people on the screen are getting intimate. It is not fashionable because it would be putting yourself, your body, and your emotions where your ideals and your politics are.

To make videos that satisfy that child like need of seeing nude bodies and seeing people playing, making out, and having fun is not as profitable as either what Hollywood does or what the porn makers do. This child like need is the healthy human desire that is perverted in porn.

The time is right for an art form that addresses this healthy desire. The women’s movement has changed people’s standards with regard to sex and the quality of relationships. This is true of both men and of women. They have scrapped, or are scrapping, the old sexist ways and attitudes, and now they find the old style porn disgusting … but more importantly, they are finding porn is not meeting their needs and desires. They want to be turned on in a way that is not sexual; they want to see nudity without stupidity; they want to see new ways of relating between humans both in and out of bed. Eroart in all media can show this way of relating … can show both purely nonsexual eroplay and eroplay as foreplay in sex.

DIABELLI VARIATION XXXIII from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

Film and video can do this. But the producers of porn haven’t the foggiest idea of this, and have a vested interest in the meat approach. In its broadest definition, erovideo could be any kind of film westerns, thrillers, science fiction, etc. — in which the unwritten rules are not followed. The camera doesn’t fade or cut away from erotic scenes before it is logical to do so … bodies wouldn’t be cut off. Cable has made porn so available that it has removed the glamour of the forbidden. As a result, porn has to stand on its lack of merit. As a result, the sales and rentals on adult tapes are going down, and the adult cable systems are going out of business.

The desire to see nudity and intimacy and to be turned on is not being satisfied. Hollywood is caught between being ruled by taboos and being in the business of teasing. Andy Warhol once said Hollywood has been doing a forty year striptease, showing a little more each year to get people to come back.

The closest Hollywood comes to the erotic/sexual (except for a few maverick directors like Roeg) is the sex exploitation and youth exploitation films. There seems to be an unwritten rule that if it is sexy sexual nude, it has to be dumb. Hollywood does exploitative films because they make money. They make money because they are the closest thing to the erotic/sexual that is offered. But sitting through a dumb movie to see nude bodies of dumb people is not worth it. Hollywood, however, will not take risks.

Hollywood will not make such a risky, daring product as a truly erotic film mainly because of the high money stakes involved. The pornographers will not do it either because of their lack of skill, insight, and morality, or because they too are ruled by money, and by criminals.

But breaking taboos has always been a part of art, at least the area of art that seeks to change consciousness, change morality, change reality. The breaking of taboos ideally should not be a part of eroplay for everyday life. But it is. Art can slowly take eroplay out of the taboo area. This is one of the functions of art.

inmediares from African Noise Foundation on Vimeo.

Here is where art comes in. As I have said, this kind of art creates a kind of bubble in which the forbidden can be done with immunity, releasing the energy of the broken taboo … energy which then affects society as a whole. Art makes a clear circle of difference between this bubble and everyday reality; it is a kind of safety valve for society … much as dreams are to the individual. According to the book THE PAINTED BODY, the caves where the first artists did their work where no one could see were such bubbles, as was body painting. Performance art is this kind of consciousness altering art. It creates a special time and place where taboos can be broken, where new ways can be introduced into the society.

The other way that art can make it easier for us in everyday life, and at the same time fight against the anti pleasure, anti human morality, against sexism, against pornography, against romanticism, is by showing us eroplay, both with and without sex, and getting us acquainted and comfortable with eroplay. This can be done in all media. Enter erovision. Erotic projects could be made on half inch video tape by individual artists to be sold directly by mail from the artist to the individual viewer. This would avoid the power structures that grow up around big money.

Half inch video, home video, is cheap in materials, editing, and post production, and distribution is much, much cheaper than in any other format. The technical quality is acceptable, and free from the comparison with film or professional three quarter inch video. Home video is the workable channel for any product that the establishment will not touch … or that you don’t want the establishment to touch, hence control. Such is erovideo.

Whether we as artists do eroart to release magically eroplay into the air (such as through performance art) or to show the non sexual way of relating that is eroplay (such as through video or film) … whether we choose to use the sex act or not in our eroart … we must not let our work be defined in relation to pornography. There has been a huge amount of time and energy wasted trying to define and ban pornography. The best way to undermine sexism and pornography is to create an alternative to them. Take back nudity, pleasure, sex, and eroticism from pornography. Show pornography up as being drab, inhuman, unfun by creating a fun, human, happy alternative. Create eroart! This is overstating the case somewhat because you cannot do good eroart if it is in reaction to porn … only if it comes from some warm and playful place, can it be good eroart. Unless we put ourselves — our creativity, our minds, and yes, our bodies — into representing eroart as the humanistic alternative, the pornographer, the sexist, and the moralist will win by default.

previously published here: http://www.eroplay.com/Cave/Writings/eroart_1984.html

March 23, 2015

Filed under: art,nicola deane — ABRAXAS @ 2:14 pm

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March 19, 2015

Filed under: art,caelan — ABRAXAS @ 9:24 pm

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maxine

Filed under: art,helgé janssen — ABRAXAS @ 12:44 pm

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March 11, 2015

unseen things

Filed under: art,Ieva Jansone — ABRAXAS @ 2:35 pm

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March 9, 2015

string

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 1:32 pm

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empty and i

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 9:59 am

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Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 9:06 am

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the shadow

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 8:46 am

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the group show

Filed under: art — ABRAXAS @ 8:36 am

Screen shot 2015-03-01 at 7.41.17 AM

and if i get you the moon?

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 5:19 am

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March 8, 2015

becoming

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 7:04 pm

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Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 3:27 pm

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Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 3:23 pm

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breaking away

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 2:22 pm

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the musicman

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 2:06 pm

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navigator by ashley johnson

Filed under: art — ABRAXAS @ 2:03 pm

A navigator is essentially a guide who charts the path for others to follow. The skill is not so much to invent direction as to describe what is inchoate yet readable. Art is a very complex discourse, loaded with expectation and prediction. Inevitably it is political because it uses structures of expression that owe allegiance to systems of understanding. Every language carries prejudice of one kind or another by virtue of the form it takes. This factor alone makes it impossible to ever comprehend the “Other”. Even the word and concept of ‘Art’ constitute a Western categorization which is alien to other cultures.

However, all cultures are increasingly bound together and share many characteristics. This is really a subtle form of colonization with certain cultures and concepts gaining dominance. At one level, everyone is a navigator, tasked with discerning the hidden perils of interpretation for survival and advancement. Although slavery seems endemic, in a strange way subordinate cultures grow through the rich topsoil, ultimately displacing dominant forms which have usually grown fat and lazy. History is littered with examples of empires being toppled in this manner.

What is under siege is the Western way of seeing which has given rise to a political system that has entrenched a set of exclusive values. Change is inevitable since flux is the nature of our existence and no self-respecting molecule hangs around in one place too long.

In our time, conventional barriers are becoming obsolete. The speed and accessibility of information renders huge repositories of hard data held in impregnable fortresses irrelevant. Control of information has shifted form and giants like Google are re-colonizing it, deciding on new ways of ordering importance. Their search engine ranking procedure ensures that site popularity precedes substance. Cell phones can be linked to bank accounts and grocery shopping will be automatically debited as one leaves the store. It will be quite possible in the future to shake hands and exchange résumés in the contact of skin on skin, wearing information bracelets.

The question though is what qualitative formation this change will take. Will it be an extension of the demeaning processes we experience through consumerist ideology or will we find refreshing new formulas for interpreting desire?

The most interesting thing about art is our inability to pin it down. Thinking about it means thinking about existence. Defining or creating art is a form of death, with the cessation of flux and yet coagulation spurs on the next urge to formulate. Certain art impulses try to lodge themselves in never-ending process but remain curtailed by critical evaluation. It seems that drawing boundaries, a process of inclusion/exclusion, is how we interact with consciousness. In a wider sense, any challenge to the order of things must alter the borderlines of perception.

The Cartesian mind/body dualism bedevils us still. Pure forms of Conceptualism unwittingly subscribe to these Eighteenth Century ideas, which have homunculi lurking in the shadowy recesses. It presumes an inherent linearity of thought, as if this paring away at the lichens of chaos could ever reveal absolute truth.

Rationality has been held up as a distinguishing feature between humans and animals. Social biologists have more doubts. A treasured preserve such as the ability for abstract thought, is now observed in other species. We just had to become more sophisticated in testing and interpreting data.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how we think

The mind is generally held to be largely unconscious and it is presumed that we began with ancient, reptilian brains which evolved processes until “Hey Presto”, modern Homo sapiens. This perception pays homage to Neodarwinism even though the theory has never been demonstrated to be valid. No missing links have ever been found in the fossil record, which led to the punctuated equilibria theory that acknowledged this fact but proposed that random change was initiated by rapidly changing environmental circumstances. Well, the fossil record shows that new species appeared even during relatively calm times and emerged fully adapted to their circumstances. There are no semi-adapted creatures in the process of becoming. Even the large, cumbersome wingspan of the pterodactyls was ideal for the dense, humid air of the period. Clearly, there are some uncomfortable questions we need to ask.

One of the most influential inventions, rivaling the computer, was the mechanical clock. Inventors began to create many mechanisms that imitated life and the concept drew such enthusiasm that the metaphor of the machine was born. It was even considered a threat to religious beliefs as it was feared that mechanisms would succeed in explaining life. People began to organize activities in a mechanical fashion. A good example of this is the martial marching ‘lockstep’, which is often taken to extremes in certain armies as it enhances the perception of aggressiveness. In general, there was a dehumanizing tendency resulting in conformism with reduced individuality and inventiveness. The proliferating energies of the system have harnessed people into an intractable formation within society, united in the belief that mechanical principles of organization will produce the best results. Overburdening bureaucracies result.

In the socio-economic and environmental context, there is an increasing imperative to find a manner of coexistence that will promote survival. Philosophical formulations like Systems Theory project linkages between organisms and environments. Social Science uses Bio-power, an animalistic metaphor, to describe evolving political formations. Paradoxically non-human virtues are becoming more acceptable, as there is less and less contact with wild ecosystems.

We are in deep trouble and cling to a model of freedom that is illusory. Democracy and the idea that people can ever be free is a mesmerizing smoke ring in the air. Our thoughts and desires are modulated by the system which also controls our ability to maneuver financially. Globalization is an extension of this system of hierarchical power dispensation. A fast food culture hooked on strategies to increase the dose.

Old political concepts of Capitalism, Marxism and Fascism don’t help very much either. It could be more pertinent to recognize the fascist elements within ourselves which manifest as an over-weaning political correctness. How far are we from reporting our parent’s infringements just like the Stalinist era? Fascism is about control and manipulation to enforce doctrinal obedience. Isn’t this what we experience under the Capitalist pretence of democracy and freedom? In this sense, the focus on Multiculturalism, while laudable and even vital for immediate local survival, misses the larger dilemma. How does one integrate disparate cultures with environment in a mutually beneficial way?

Perhaps we need to take another look at the ape within; or is it located without? Are we an expression of the hive mentality, a unitary organism with individuals serving a common purpose? Where to draw the line?

Dreaming is a preeminent activity in some Aboriginal societies and they seem to understand inherently that realities are simply brief formulations stemming from the flux machine. The challenge is to find some way of reinventing our particular oppressive reality. On the face of it this means altering the borderlines. With true dreamlike intensity, we must simply see things differently.

How do we see? It seems that retinal information gets passed to the brain in parcels of information. Thus certain sectors might receive information about redness for example, while others might register movement. All of these sectors interconnect and also send back tendrils so that in effect a conversation is established. No doubt, hallucinogenic drugs heighten or depress activity in these centers so creating the possibility for altered projections. The critical thing though is that we project what we see even though we think that we are absorbing objective reality. This process seems to take place in the relay center called LGN, which is the nexus where the retinal information gets separated out. The information it receives back is no longer precisely visual so the “mind’s eye” as it were, makes interpretive choices. These are drawn from the chaos of possibilities, like competing voices influenced by a brain environment as complex as the experienced world.

In terms of art, drawing, not conceptualism, is the most congruent with how we really think. In most progressive educational institutions it is also the first to go. The post modern paradigm rescues the situation to some extent by refusing to give allegiance to any version, yet it is also redundant because it endorses style-ism even in being anti-style. It is necessary to dismantle the entire concept of art in order to assemble a fresh set of assumptions. Art is a process of manifesting structures which emanate from an imaginative chaos that generates reality because our consciousness is tutored to interpret meaning in this way. Art is potentially a weapon capable of burning through the lid that keeps comprehension contained.

So what role does consciousness really play? We presume that it allows us to learn about the world but it also functions as a censoring device, preventing us from having alternative visions. Thus we can become convinced that reality is a commonly shared perception. Cross-culturally this often leads to misunderstandings like the Bushman objection to being photographed because this will capture an essence that is supposed to remain fluid. Reductionists view consciousness as a combination of immediate sensory awareness with zombi-like processes going on beneath, like the habitual ability to ride a bicycle. Thinking is messy and intuitive, not calculated and clean. Consciousness selects and ignores, drawing on emotion and neural hesitations. There are too many voices, all shouting at once.

One of the cornerstones of Cartesian ideology and something we take as self-evident is the distinction between the “I” and the “It”. Identity has dominated art discourse for many decades and indeed often the signature is valued more than the artwork. Taking an aspect of identity and verifying it means asserting that we see it as truer than a previous perception. Politically this comes down to haranguing the passive audience until enough people endorse the idea which then passes into dominance. As a consequence the previous idea is denigrated and made unfashionable. New boundary lines are drawn.

It may surprise Westerners to learn that other cultures do not subscribe to the same definition of self. The “I” is often so submerged within tribal or group identity that names are forgotten and replaced with generic descriptions like “the old one”.

The possibilities of transmutation seem oddly more real now than ever with advances in genetic coding. Meat can be cultured and grown in a test tube. The citadel of the self is overrun and it is possible to have genes from other creatures within. Soon we might be able to choose from a catalogue what kind of entity we inhabit. Can we still say with certainty that we exist distinct from other life?

Relativity and Quantum Mechanics have changed the way we interpret time and space, making it impossible to ever locate the “It” again, except as a post-modern pastiche. Reality has to be seen in terms of energy and fields, with answers given as probabilities. At the sub-atomic level we are indistinguishable from other matter, and yet somehow a permeable mythical borderline cast around our molecules keeps everything together.

Fe’lix Guattari’s interesting term, Chaosmosis, is a contradictory concept that combines a sense of molecular movement with a sense of disorder. It is a good metaphor for describing a model of reality formation. Common wisdom would see reality as an immutable set of circumstances, with absolute laws. The imagination is spawned by the need to interact with reality. An alternate view would see the imagination as giving rise to reality. Which is more appropriate? Onion rings of interpretation, interpolated endlessly.

One common piece of wisdom is the concept that our brains are a ‘blank slate’. It is assumed that knowledge is gained through the senses and accumulates into experience. This model presumes that thoughts are immaterial and transitive; therefore they could not be immanent within a species. Yet, if we look at animals, they have a biological core of knowledge that is constantly reborn. Instinctively they know how to copulate or what to eat. Learning does take place but the instincts are there already and adult influences serve to activate rather than initiate behaviors. To what extent is there a morphic resonance within humans that outlasts the individual?

The “Promethean Gene” is proposed as the mythical inner initiator of creative activity. The theory follows the linear assumption that knowledge and inventiveness are somehow manipulated by consciousness into the formation of new constructs. “Inventiveness implies intentionality” as Erich Harthes puts it, envisioning a process of inventing the Stone-age axe. Knowledge gained from experience of flint edges plus trial and error eventually produce the final efficient product. But, if knowledge is indigenous within an organism, could we not be as instinctual as other creatures? In other words, the invention or creative act is a biological venting of the organism expressed as a metaphor. The front-end loader is an activated perception drawn from inchoate knowledge located within the body. If so, could this biological pool of imagination be the progenitor of reality. What we see around us is what we have created as an extension of our bodies.

Fundamental organizing principles in language influence the way we allow ourselves to think. For instance, the English preposition permits a range of positional possibilities like ‘above’, ‘through’ or ‘in’. Given the original religious cosmos that had humanity at its core, it is not surprising that we should still predominantly understand the world in terms of inner linear realities.

Thus Neodarwinism came to posit a chaotic chance procession based on natural selection of the best characteristics. Allied with studies in genetics, this meant seeing the nucleus and DNA within a cell as the progenitor of evolution. The doctrine of natural selection was enshrined over another theory, Transformism, developed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, which saw development as an interaction between environment and organism. In this theory it was possible for a learned characteristic to become an inherited one.

In experiments, if one excises the nuclei, cells continue to live until they require new parts. By contrast, if one eliminates the frequency receptors on the periphery, the cell becomes inactive. Thus it would seem that borders play a much larger role than they are given credit for. Perhaps Lamarck’s theory had more to offer, even though neither are really satisfactory explanations.

D’Arcy Thompson was an early 20th Century mathematician whose book, On Growth and Form, demonstrated that by altering the mathematical equations, a human form could be transformed into a baboon. Particles of matter are subject to certain constants like gravity and other laws of physics. NASA has developed the Darcy Machine to document and project all the forms life could possibly take, given the forces brought to bear by different environments. This is called the Book of Life project and it is powered by computers equipped with artificial intelligence.

An inherent drawback to conceptualizing existence lies in terms of the ‘inner’ metaphor. Our Reductionist way of thinking about thinking sees the brain within as the mastermind. Yet neurological studies emphasize the entire body as a sort of sensory field which takes impressions that are relayed to the brain. This is not a linear process but is comprised of creative feedback loops, thus providing a self referential system. Information is constantly shuffling back and forth, getting modified and finally projected. Thus our ‘mind’s eye’ is not a unitary homunculus waiting to receive information and act upon it but rather an entire system of impulses. In passing, we learn also that there is a second, separate ‘brain’ linked specifically to the stomach. How to unyoke tired ways of conceptualizing?

The ‘inner progenitor’ myth manifests in hierarchical structures like the familiar tree or root system and this pervades organizational patterns at all levels. The cult of personality epitomizes a top down set of values which partakes in the same metaphor. It is not flexible, requiring linearity in thought and instruction. Guattari has produced several useful alternative metaphors, one of which is the rhizome. This botanical structure is non- hierarchic and self-organizing. It can regenerate from any point and is free flowing, choosing to stop or change direction at will. Coincidentally, its properties have much in common with the internet. Once again, we are at the interface between organism and environment, or perhaps it is not even useful to distinguish between them.

What sort of art manifestation or organism could activate a new metaphor, one generating ideas that address the dilemma of reinventing the way we think; which will ultimately affect even what we physically see?

It could take the basic shape of an exchange show between two or more countries but be different in conception from previous manifestations. There would be a strong self- organizing principle so artists could interact or not with one another and the host environment. It might have a rolling format that shifts parameters from venue to venue, indicating that new artists with fresh perceptions could become part of the expression. Modes of thinking that depart from the dominant hierarchical paradigm would be complementary. Social issues are important but only valuable when the expression steps outside the conventional narrative. All media are valued equally so far as they advance the objective and depart from being merely stylistic. The point of the exercise is to present a new or alternative metaphor. Art is vital because it offers an entry point into our biological matrix that is less encumbered with restrictive code.

What this indicates is the need for a process of intellectual insurrection aimed at displacing the stagnant metaphors we are surrounded by. The changeover will happen once a certain critical mass is reached as greater numbers of artists and thinkers find ways of responding to the challenge. It’s long overdue.

March 7, 2015

greeting the sun

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 8:33 am

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March 6, 2015

free

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 3:16 pm

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March 5, 2015

ek knoop jou buitelyn los

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 8:08 pm

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March 4, 2015

disappearing

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 6:31 pm

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flying happiness

Filed under: art,Lizabé Lambrechts — ABRAXAS @ 12:17 pm

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