Monday, August 18, 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Matrices of Sand; Art Which Heals



"It is possible to undergo a profound crisis involving non-ordinary experiences and to perceive it as pathological or psychiatric when, in fact, it may be more accurately and beneficially defined as a spiritual emergency."
- Stanislav Grof; quote found here.

"Navajo Sandpaintings, also called dry paintings, are called "places where the gods come and go" in the Navajo language. They are used in curing ceremonies in which the gods' help is requested for harvests and healing."
- from Navaho Sand Paintings

(left) Navajo Sandpainting found here.


"The performative power of sandpainting creation and ritual use reestablish the proper, orderly placement of the forces of life, thus restoring correct relations between the patient and those forces upon which the patient's spiritual and physical health depend. The sandpainting works its healing power by reestablishing the patient's sense of connectedness to all of life ( Griffin-Pierce 1991:66)."

- from Chapter 78; Navajo Indians sand painting, The History of Graphic Design, Guity Novin


"After its sanctification, the patient sits on the painting while the chanter performs a ritual to enhance the absorption of its healing power. Immediately afterward, the remains of the painting are taken outside to an area north of the hogan, where they are returned to the earth."

- from Navaho Sand Paintings


"The mandala is a formal geometric pattern showing the floor plan of a sacred mansion. Once the diagram is drawn, in the following
days you see millions of grains of colored sand painstakingly laid into place. The sand, colored with vegetable dyes or opaque tempera, is poured onto the mandala platform with a narrow metal funnel called a "chakpur" which is scraped by another metal rod to cause sufficient vibration for the grains of sand to trickle out of its end.  The mandalas are created whenever a need for healing of the environment and living beings is felt.  The monks consider our present age to be one of great need in this respect, and therefore are creating these mandalas where requested throughout their world tours. When finished, to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists, the colored sands are swept up and poured into a nearby river or stream where the waters carry healing energies throughout the world."

- from The Sacred Art of Sand Mandalas, The Tibetan Monks of Drepung Gomang Monastery (.pdf) 


"The Oglala Sioux Holy Man Black Elk said "You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round" (quoted in Moodley & West, 2005, p. 298)."

- from: Chapter 78; Navajo Indians sand painting, The History of Graphic Design, Guity Novin


"The Mandala is a creation consisting of circles, which start at the center and extend outward. The circle, a primeval natural form – consider the stars, snowflakes, tree trunks – has served as an inspiration to humankind since the dawn of history. People from various cultures discovered that the creation of circular forms facilitated the expression of inner cosmic entities. Native American shamans draw dance mandalas during healing ceremonies; the Shield of David symbol is based on the form of a circle divided into six equal parts; and the Tibetan mandala symbolizes the cyclical nature of life and death."

- Eitan Kedmy, from his website.
 

"Native American Indians regard art as an element of life, not as a separate aesthetic ideal. In indigenous societies, the arts are aspects of public life that bring dancing, poetry, and the plastic and graphic arts together as a single function or ritual as the all-embracing expression. Art is indispensable to ritual and ritual is the Native American Indian concept of the whole life process. Native people see sand painting as indistinct from dancing, dancing as indistinct from worship, and worship as indistinct from living."

- from Native American Art; Sand Paintings

***

I am just about to hang up my "Gone Fishing" sign, meaning I'm going to be off the radar for the next month or two, but I wanted to finish the Matrices thread before I signed off... (unlike a number of other "threads" I've introduced on this blog, only to ultimately leave them dangling).

Happily, the images and quotes I chose for this post adequately describe sand painting, rendering any additional verbiage of my own fairly redundant (and, for this, we should all be grateful). ;-)

However, just a bit about mandalas, sand paintings and the Matrices...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Matrices of Light & Shadow; Alex and Allyson Grey



Spiritual Energy System (left); Universal Mind Lattice (right) - acrylic on canvas - 1981, Alex Grey



"Looking at Grey’s paintings and other works on display, Hoffberger said, “Given the way technology is moving, do we want to become like machines? With each new high-tech invention, how do you download a ‘you’ into an ‘it’?” Grey’s powers-of-the-universe paintings, with their images of trees as fecund bodies, along with choruses of prehistoric animals, suns, eyeballs and planets, evoke an eternal, all-unifying, omnipresent spirit. Grey’s art seems more all-embracing than the ecumenical posturing of those praying, chanting, bead-rattling leaders of so-called organized religions who sometimes pause to look beyond their own belief systems and pay a little lip service to the dream of world peace."



"Love, consciousness, and creativity are the highest refinements of the cosmic evolutionary force."

"The Inevitable consequence of Love is the building of Temples."

- Two quotes by Alex Grey, found on his website.


***



"Secret Writing Magic Square with Mandala Border" - oil on wood - 1990, Allyson Grey



"Language is like a portal through which the inner world of order may pass into the outer world of chaos."

- Allyson Grey, from her website: Chaos, Order & Secret Writing.


***

In terms of the the Matrices (described here) and their relationship to the human body,  I don't think I've seem a better visual description than those presented by Visionary artist, Alex Grey in his amazing Chapel of Sacred Mirrors series. It's almost as if they were made to order for the musings of a Space Pagan, most especially his "Universal Mind Lattice," which he describes here:

 "No longer identified with or limited by our physical bodies, our essence is an individual fountain and drain of Light, interlocked with an infinite omni-directional network of similar energy cells, the interpenetrating consciousness of all beings and things."

The odd thing for me, at least, is - at the exact same time, and the exact same place (New York) - while Alex Grey was painting the huge canvases that would become the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (see video), a far less flamboyant artist (me), was envisioning something along vaguely similar lines...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Matrices of Paper; the Creations of Eric Standley


"Either/Or Circle" - layered paper - 2001, Eric Standley
(click to enlarge)


Inspired by Gothic and Islamic architecture, much like Cristóbal Vila, another "matrix" artist featured on Trans-D, Eric Standley takes the fine art of paper cutting to a new level. That is, approximately 100 of them! 

What appears as one cohesive - and elegant - mandala is actually composed of layer upon layer of intricately laser-cut "windows."

To see the artist in action, David Pescovitz has posted a video found here.

The artist's new website can be found here.

(Thanks, DP!)



Monday, August 4, 2014

Revitalizing Vitalism; A Thought Experiment



"Aura" - digital/fractal - 2012, Renate S.
(Click on all images to enlarge)

Vitalism
1. a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical forces
2. a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining

 - Definition of Vitalism


"He goes on to show how the particular properties of consciousness might arise from the physical laws that govern our universe. And he explains how these properties allow physicists to reason about the conditions under which consciousness arises and how we might exploit it to better understand why the world around us appears as it does.

For Tegmark, this paradox suggests that his mathematical formulation of consciousness is missing a vital ingredient. “This strongly implies that the integration principle must be supplemented by at least one additional principle,” he says.



***

"Throughout the ages men have been intuitively aware of such a center. The Greeks called it a man's inner Daimon, in Egypt, it was expressed by the concept of Ba-soul; and the Romans worshipped it as the "Genius" native to each individual..."



"Is the earth dead or alive? The ancient cultures of east and west and the native peoples of America saw the earth as a mother, alive, active, and responsive to human action. Greeks and Renaissance Europeans conceptualized the cosmos as a living organism, with a body, soul, and Spirit, and the earth as a nurturing mother with respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, and elimination systems. The relationship between most peoples and the earth was an I-thou ethic of propitiation to be made before damming a brook, cutting a tree, or sinking a mine shaft. Yet for the past three hundred years, western mechanistic science and capitalism have viewed the earth as dead and inert, manipulable from outside, and exploitable for profits. The death of nature legitimated its domination. Colonial extractions of resources combined with industrial pollution and depletion have today pushed the whole earth to the brink of ecological destruction."

- From "Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World" - 1992, Carolyn Merchant.


"But what is it that shamans 'see' or 'know'? Shamanism is a kind of spiritual technology. It is a technology that is based on the animistic worldview much in the way that physical technology is based on the modern scientific worldview. Unlike modern science, however, which is based on the search for uniform laws that work the same way for everyone, shamanism has literally infinite forms of expression -- just as art, inspired creation, can take literally infinite forms and there are infinite cultural styles of art, yet the word "artist," like the word "shaman," has a cross-cultural meaning. (Indeed, art itself originated as a tool and expression of the shaman. Shamans are a kind of inspired artist, channeling a common source of spiritual energy in their own unique ways. Art as merely decorative is a modern, desacralized echo of the real purposes of art.) "

- from an article: Indigenous Shamanism, Animism, and the Spirits (by "Gayle") found here.


***

"Without an active agent, an ordering center, or an Intelligence, "consciousness" becomes a rather hollow proposition; another one of those phenomena which, if merely viewed as another mechanical quality arising from matter, has no intrinsic meaning. It has no "cause" and is no cause. It will not build a ship, invent a car, nor drive it. It will simply exist in a somnambulistic manner as a sort of passive, unspecified awareness. Consciousness, alone, does not create; and, by itself, cannot evolve. Consciousness alone, is not the answer to the existential quandary."

- Paragraph from a post file which never materialized, The Shamans of Spirit & The Shamans of Matter; Dia Sobin, June 12, 2014


"Because, who knows, but, hiding among those four famous "forces of nature" (recently renamed the "Fundamental Interaction") is an undiscovered ordering force, a "shadow" component permeating the matrix: intelligence, but wholly unspecific intelligence - without genre or gender - which, although diversified and expressed relative to the matter which interprets it, is also the architect of the matter it unfolds. I call it: Creatura... (most emphatically) not to be confused with religionist myths and its corresponding characters - example: "the man upstairs."

If "god is dead" religionists (specifically Western and Middle-Eastern varieties) killed it. They gave it limits; limits imposed by their own fears, politics and pathologies."

- Paragraphs deleted from a previous post, and added to a collection of notes; DS, June 28, 2014


"Creatura (singular and plural) - A creative Intelligence: the integrated ordering agent and organizing, self-referential noumenon present in all living organisms."

- A working definition of Creatura from a collection of notes; DS, July 1, 2014, posted July 28.


***

I was kind of on the fence about posting this "thought experiment"... I originally attempted to allude to it with a post containing a brief definition of Creatura. That didn't cut it for me, so I pulled it down (deleted post, July, 28, 2014)

For the past few months however, this concept - admittedly a "Vitalist" concept (or, more appropriately, Revitalist), and not even a terribly original one - has been stirring around in my psyche, coloring just about all of my thoughts. I've drafted (and destroyed) a number of posts, but they all seem to have the same general theme; a theme I was planning to slowly build up to, but now I find I'm not going to have the time (I'm about to take an extended hiatus from the blogosphere). So, it's now or never. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Creativity? Madness? Restless Leg Syndrome? There's a Pill For That!


"Gauguin's Chair" - oil on canvas - 1888, Vincent van Gogh
(click on all images to enlarge)

"Development of uncontrollable artistic urges has been documented in medical case studies. One 41-year-old woman with Parkinson's disease who began taking levodopa developed what neurologists called a "devastating addiction to painting." Her home became a gathering place for artists, and she began compulsively buying painting materials. She described the spiral earlier this year in a medical journal: "I started painting from morning till night, and often all through the night until morning. I used countless numbers of brushes at a time. I used knives, forks, sponges … I would gouge open tubes of paint–it was everywhere. But I was still in control at that point. Then, I started painting on the walls, the furniture, even the washing machine. I would paint any surface I came across. I also had my 'expression wall' and I could not stop myself from painting and repainting [it] every night in a trance-like state. My partner could no longer bear it. People close to me realized that I crossed some kind of line into the pathological, and, at their instigation, I was hospitalized. Today, my doctors have succeeded in getting my medication under control, and my creativity has become more tranquil and structured."

"Another proposed mechanism lies in the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain that moderates a person’s ability to filter out irrelevant stimuli. That is called latent inhibition, and it has been associated with creative achievement. It is reduced in people suffering psychosis but it increases when those people are given antipsychotic medications. Reduced latent inhibition might enhance divergent thinking by widening (or loosening) the associative network, enhancing creative thinking."

"Dopaminergic stimulation is also used in women who have recently given birth and would like to stop lactation, and in people with Restless Leg Syndrome. "I don't think anyone has checked," Inzelberg said, "if people in treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome become creative."

- Excerpts from a July 17, 2014 article: "The Creativity Pill" via The Atlantic



"Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget

Like the stranger that you've met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

And now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free

They would not listen
They're not listening still
Perhaps they never will"

- Excerpt from "Starry, Starry Night", 1972, Don Mclean 


***

Nothing flies in the face of the Mechanistic world view more than the human need to create. Artists, poets, writers, musicians, dancers, filmmakers - our efforts are the monkey-wrenches gumming up the Machine... and if we really do our jobs, the Machine grinds to a halt... or, maybe just transforms. Or, so we'd like to think, if only on a subliminal level.

But, at the core of Mechanistic science (see quotes at the end of the post), Matter is King, and all the mysteries of the universe will be revealed under a microscope, by an x-ray, an electronic probe, or inside the womb of an atom-smashing machine. Like begets like. For the Mechanist, Matter is essentially dead, but, somehow, and at some point, it became organic; having magically sprung to life like the puppet in the children's story, Pinocchio. In the eyes of a Mechanist, Life, as a creative force unto itself, is a delusion. It and its activity can be explained away by the automatic distribution and interaction of chemicals; chemicals which can, moreover, be recreated in a lab. Scientists have not, yet, found quite the right chemical brew to replace you, but they're working on it. And, if they can't do it, the Tech-mechs, with their delusions of sentient computers, will. Or, so they'd like to think.

And, so, I was more amused than surprised when I stumbled across "The Creativity Pill," an article that's recently been making the rounds in cyber-space. More hype than actual content, it's the sort of "news" one comes to expect; endless spins on the latest Mechanistic victory over the natural world, designed to trivialize what many of us might find meaningful. While neurologists are a little slower at developing a true Mechanistic formula* -  the physiology of the brain being a somewhat tougher nut to crack - Big Pharma will provide the necessary tools; it's the gift that keeps on giving. Hence, levodopa (L-DOPA), which, according to neurologist, Rivka Inzelberg, seems to increase creative output in those afflicted with Parkinson's disease...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Pet Store - Creatures as Commodities - (featuring murals by "Phlegm")


"Cat" - urban mural - Sheffield, England - "Phlegm" (found here)
(Click on all images to enlarge)


"The more we exile ourselves from nature, the more we crave its miracle waters. Just as our ancient ancestors drew animals on cave walls and carved animals from wood and bone, we decorate our homes with animal prints and motifs, give our children stuffed animals to clutch, cartoon animals to watch, animal stories to read. We call one another by “pet” names, wear animal-print clothes. We ogle plants and animals up close on television, the Internet and in the movies. We may not worship the animals we see, but we still regard them as necessary physical and spiritual companions. Technological nature can’t completely satisfy that yearning.

But what if, through novelty and convenience, digital nature replaces biological nature? Studies show that we’ll suffer. Richard Louv writes of widespread “nature-deficit disorder” among children who mainly play indoors — something new in the history of humankind. He sees it leading to attention problems, obesity, depression and lack of creativity. Adults suffer equally. Patients with a view of trees heal faster than those forced to stare at city buildings. In studies conducted by Peter H. Kahn and his colleagues at the University of Washington, workers in windowless offices were given flat screen views of nature. They reaped the benefits of greater health, happiness and efficiency than those without virtual windows. But, importantly, they weren’t as happy, healthy or creative as people given real windows with real views of nature."

- From the 2012 NYT article, Nature: Now Showing on TV, by Diane Ackerman *


***

It was a fairly nondescript summer day... hot and hazy, glazed over with that white-gold cast that defines a predominately cloudy sky. I was in my car with no particular destination, but, as is usual, found myself gravitating towards the coast, as if the ocean was some huge magnet and neither myself (nor my car) had any choice in the matter.

Lying between myself and the shore, however, is Route 1, which, in part, is just one long, extended strip mall, punctuated by an endless repetition of shoe-box shaped buildings, identified only by their corresponding rectangular signs. These advertise everything from food to furniture, service stations, beauty salons, craft stores, consignment shops, and the occasional "Psychic Reading". On impulse I drove into the black-topped parking lot belonging to one block of buildings, featuring an outlet of a popular pet store franchise. I'd been there before... I liked to look at the small, exotic fish in the marine-life aquariums, so, I went in...

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Anatomy of a Dream (Intus Natura, Vita Eternus*) (Notice, 8/6/14)


Cast-stone box-lid, taken from a carved plaster original - app. 3" X 5"- 1993, DS
(click on all images to enlarge)


“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living; this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.

This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.”


“But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called -- called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.”


“He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time.”

- Three quotes from: Call of the Wild, the 1903 novel by Jack London.


***


I generally try to avoid recounting dreams on blogs, because, for anybody but the dreamer, they're generally boring. But, in the case of this morning's (July 6th) dream, I actually tried a different technique of dream interpretation and searched its elements online. So, while anyone reading this may or may not find the dream itself terribly exciting, this method of unravelling dream symbols might intrigue.

The Dream:

I was living with my friend, Moo, or, possibly just visiting, but, due to the weirdly circuitous nature of dreams in general, I only became conscious of the dream at the point I'm about to describe.

At this point, someone (?) inquired about the disappearance of Mindy, Moo's family dog. Horrified, I suddenly realized that I had let Mindy out the previous night, but had forgotten all about her! I immediately ran to the door I'd let her out of... it was huge white door, filling one wall of the tall, but narrow, white room it opened from. Oddly enough, I found that it was open and slightly ajar, so, I had never actually closed the door at all. I still felt guilty, but I surmised that the dog could've come back indoors if it wanted to.

At this point the dream convolutes in such a way, that I realized that Mindy has gone far off into the surrounding woods. I can see her. But, the dog I actually see in the woods is a large St. Bernard. Mindy is not, in reality, that breed of dog (although there is a St. Bernard in Moo's son's family), but this didn't occur to me till I woke up. It also came to me in the dream that, perhaps, Mindy had gone up in the woods to die. But, while this upset me, I was suddenly struck by the rightness of such a choice. That is, it occurred to me in the dream, that the most ideal setting for any creature to die is near the earth with nature surrounding them.

In the last segment of the dream, I was proposing to Moo that we establish some variety of fund or fellowship - related in some way to death and nature -  which had for It's symbol (and would be given or carried by its members) a small, leafy twig tied with a bit of fabric.

And then I woke up.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Creatura - What You Can't See, Can Kill You (Update 7/18/14)


Typhoid bacteria found here.

The post - under construction - which originally appeared here: "Creatura - Metamorphosis, Myth & Mirrors," has fallen back into the implicate fold.

Sorry to say, but it's time has not yet come... and may not come. It's the sort of philosophically extravagant blog post I'm avoiding these days, because, in reality, I haven't the time for intensive, online explorations of overwhelmingly dense subjects. In any event, any form of "Creatura Hypothesis" - which, tentatively, was on my agenda - would be premature at this point, and I've decided to parcel out the quotes and images that appeared here into a succession of pared-down future posts.

Blame it on bacteria... that Creatura from the microscopic realm. I am on my second run of antibiotics to rid myself of an upper-respiratory infection, and am hardly in "top form". In a virtual "Battle of Creatura" which one will win?

Hopefully, the one writing this, but don't put your money down just yet! ;-)

***



"Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons. These bacteria yet again prove the almost miraculous tenacity of life — but, from a technology standpoint, they might also prove to be useful in enabling the creation of self-powered nanoscale devices that clean up pollution. Some of these bacteria also have the curious ability to form into ‘biocables,’ microbial nanowires that are centimeters long and conduct electricity as well as copper wires — a capability that might one day be tapped to build long, self-assembling subsurface networks for human use."

- From an ExtremeTech article - July 18, 2014: "Biologists Discover Electric Bacteria..."


I bring to you the latest in weird biology news... although it appears a Danish group made a similar discovery a couple of years ago. George Dvorsky, meanwhile, reflects on the alien life angle...

As for me... well, electric bacteria might have been exciting news at some point in the past... in the days when biological discoveries added to ones sense of wonder, and an overall respect for the natural world, without necessarily providing support and/or tools ("biocables" and "nanoscale devices") for the Techno-Mechanistic agenda. 

Instead it's just beginning to deeply depress me. As does articles like this one: "Should We Deliberately Edit The Genes Of Wild Animals?"

Should a bear not shit in the woods?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Creatura - Songs From the Oyster Bed


Oysters on a desk-top - Digital Photo - 2014, DS


"The co-evolutionary story between rocks and life began 4 billion years or so ago, when the planet had only rocks, air and oceans to work with. The origins researchers that followed Miller and Urey’s heady success soon realised that air and oceans aren’t enough to create life, no matter how lightning-filled the sky. Only with the addition of carefully selected minerals will simple, nonliving biomolecules concentrate and combine in complex biologically useful ways.

Life arose from minerals; then minerals arose from life. The geosphere and biosphere have become complexly intertwined, with numerous feedback loops driving myriad critical natural processes in ways that are only now coming into focus."

- from an 2014 article by Robert Hazen, found at Aeon magazine.



"Mr. Gerard further states: 'Just before crossing the boundary of Ludak into Bussalier, I was exceedingly gratified by the discovery of a bed of fossil oysters, clinging to a rock as if they had been alive.'

In whatever point of view we are to consider the subject, it is sublime to think of organic remains lying at such an extraordinary altitude, and of vast cliffs of rocks formed out of them, frowning over the illimitable and desolate waters, where oceans once rolled."

- from Shells on the Snowy Mountains of Tibet, Asiatic Register,  found here.



"... the great power and human destinies are couched in the virtues of Stones and Herbs. But to know from whence these come, a higher speculation is required. Alexander the peripatetic, not going any further than his senses and qualities, is of the opinion that these proceed from Elements, and their qualities, which haply might be supposed to be true, if those were of the same species; but many of the operations of the Stones agree neither in genere nor specie. Therefore Plato and his scholars attribute these virtues to Ideas, the formers of things. But Avicen reduceth these kinds of operations to Intelligence, Hermes to the Stars, Albertus to the specifical forms of things.

...Now consequently we must discourse of Intelligences, spirits and Angels. An Intelligence is an intelligible substance, free from all gross and putrifying mass of a body, immortall, insensible, assisting all, having Influence over all; and the nature of all intelligences, spirits and Angels is the same. But I call Angels here, not those whom we usually call Devils, but spirits so called from the propriety of the word, as it were, knowing, understanding and wise."

- from De occulta philosophia libri tres (Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy), 1530s, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa









As readers of this blog know, the moment summer arrives, one can often find a peculiar, solitary woman (me) roaming the sandbars on the Connecticut shoreline; every now and then bending down to pick up an object or two... possibly even talking to herself (or the objects) before placing them back down, or, resuming her search (if that's what it is), possibly still holding one prized object (carefully) in her sweaty little paw.

There are no "ordinary" objects at the shore... and some, like the one above (shown from various angles - click to enlarge) are to be celebrated. When I first found these three shells cemented* to a fragment of rock, however, I wasn't even sure what I'd found. Were they some form of barnacle? Had a human glued some shells onto a rock in such a pretty array?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Creatura - The Sentient Seaweed (the Extended Version)


Live scan of an unidentified seaweed - 2014, DS
Note: This scan is a product of a new flatbed scanner... which, apparently had difficulties
reading the black background, hence the weird color artifacts (unfortunately intensified online).
I've tried - and failed - to correct it. Sorry.
(click to enlarge)


creature |ˈkrē ch ər|
noun
an animal, as distinct from a human being : night sounds of birds and other creatures.
• an animal or person : as fellow creatures on this planet, animals deserve respect.
• a fictional or imaginary being, typically a frightening one : a creature from outer space.
• archaic anything living or existing : dress, jewels, and other transitory creatures.
• a person of a specified kind, typically one viewed with pity, contempt, or desire : you heartless creature!
• a person or organization considered to be under the complete control of another : the village teacher was expected to be the creature of his employer.

ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense [something created] ): via Old French from late Latin creatura, from the verb creare (see create).



"In the philosophy of consciousness, sentience can refer to the ability of any entity to have subjective perceptual experiences, or as some philosophers refer to them, "qualia". This is distinct from other aspects of the mind and consciousness, such as creativity, intelligence, sapience, self-awareness, and intentionality (the ability to have thoughts "about" something). Sentience is a minimalistic way of defining consciousness, which is otherwise commonly used to collectively describe sentience plus other characteristics of the mind.

Some philosophers, notably Colin McGinn, believe that sentience will never be understood, a position known as "new mysterianism". They do not deny that most other aspects of consciousness are subject to scientific investigation but they argue that subjective experiences will never be explained; i.e., sentience is the only aspect of consciousness that can't be explained. Other philosophers (such as Daniel Dennett) disagree, arguing that all aspects of consciousness will eventually be explained by science."

- Excerpt from the Wiki entry on sentience.



***

The summer solstice (the pagan holiday of Lithia) approaches, and with it, my inevitable trips to the shore. Sometimes there's an agenda; mostly there isn't. But, when the ocean calls, it never needs to leave a message; I just get in my car - sans towels and sunblock lotion... sans beach blankets, beach balls,  beverage coolers and lounge chairs. I'm there for meditative purposes, investigative purposes, or, more generally, no purpose at all. The ocean calls, and that's enough.

Last week, however, there was a method to my madness as I plodded along the sandbars. My mission was to gather bits of seaweed for an image I was trying to rework and, hopefully, finish. Normally sea plants hold no interest for me, but, for the image, I needed the seaweed's specific organic contours...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

To Decode The Living Matrix... Featuring the Work of Cristóbal Vila


From the video: Isfahan (a detail of this detail) - 3D digital still - 2005, Cristóbal Vila


matrix |ˈmātriks|
noun ( pl. -trices |ˈmātrisēz| or -trixes )
1 an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure : free choices become the matrix of human life.
• a mass of fine-grained rock in which gems, crystals, or fossils are embedded.
• Biology the substance between cells or in which structures are embedded.
• fine material : the matrix of gravel paths is raked regularly.
2 a mold in which something, such as printing type or a phonograph record, is cast or shaped.
3 Mathematics a rectangular array of quantities or expressions in rows and columns that is treated as a single entity and manipulated according to particular rules.
• an organizational structure in which two or more lines of command, responsibility, or communication may run through the same individual.

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [womb] ): from Latin, ‘breeding female,’ later ‘womb,’ from mater, matr - ‘mother.’


North American Wood Thrush

“As we listen we lose the sense of time—it links us with eternity…Its tones…seem like the vocal expression of the mystery of the universe, clothed in a melody so pure and ethereal that the soul still bound to its earthly tenement can neither imitate nor describe it.”
- Anonymous Twentieth Century naturalist describing the Wood Thrush


"It was dawn and as I lay there listening to the birds w/ my eyes shut I began to see a weird pattern emerging from the darkness... an almost graphic pattern similar to computer graphics... It looked like chopped meat being criss-crossed (sic) by a rapidly moving concentric ring pattern... similar to my cyclocentric* patterns but more intricate. From this emerged what seemed like another darker dimension - again filled with cyclocentric patterns but these were made of various colors of light... and some were large and whirlpooling (sic) while smaller brighter patterns emerged... all of them moving and vibrant and living and all of them revolving and forming harmonics by which even tinier glowing patterns emerged. It was as if I was delving into a series of many dimensions... but I could only glance at certain aspects (of the patterns) for milliseconds at a time (as they were) far too complex and enmeshed for human resolution...