Place and Space. Inside and Out.

Issue 22 March 2016

Visual Perception, Abstraction and Invention: an Exploration

“In questioning what we see we must inevitably have recourse to our experience of the physical world around us. The pictorial offers us a way to explore these experiences and reinvent the world we see. While the picture plane may be viewed as a window onto an illusion of space, it is also the surface upon which spatial reality may be rebuilt.” Nathan Cohen is an artist interested in how we see the world around us and how this can be altered through images and physical interaction with space and visual form. As well as exhibiting internationally for over 30 years, he set up the MA Art and Science at University of the Arts London (CSM) in 2011.

Multiple Contemporaries & Sacred Indian Art

The indelible connect between art, faith, and life transcends stylistic, geographical, chronological, and ideological boundaries. It traverses beyond past and present, human studies and sciences, or classical/folk/traditional and contemporary art. There is empirical evidence in civilizational footprints, of the profound bond between arts and spirituality. This is reflected in multiple contemporaries be it in Indian sacred art, or cultures from around the globe.

On ‘Time, Light and the Dice of Creation’

Einstein famously objected that ‘God does not play dice’. In this stimulating book, ‘Time, Light and the Dice of Creation’, Philip Franses invites us to travel through a journey, and a life, full of surprise and ambiguity, from paradoxes in physics to the meaning of time and the mythology of creation. Exploring current models in science, he asks: does light travel in time? Or is it time that travels in light? How can emptiness hold potential? Can chance create order? What does our own experience mean in all this? In this exclusive interview, he discusses his book, his life and the journey to meaning.

Caress of the Gaze

Our skin is constantly in motion. It expands, contracts and changes its shape based on various internal/ external stimuli including not only temperature and moisture but also feelings, such as fear, excitement and anger. What if our outfit could recognize and respond to the gaze of the other? What if our clothing could behave as an artificial skin capable of changing its shape and operating as an interface with the world defining social issues such as intimacy, gender and even personal identities? Behnaz Farahi is an architect and interaction designer, exploring the potential of interactive environments and their relationship to the human body.

Revelations by Flicker, Dreamachines and Electroencephalographic signals in art

How did ordinary tools in the Neurophysiology department become means for spiritual enlightenment ?

The combination of brainwave (EEG) monitoring by the early adopters with stroboscopes induced side-effects in many of the clinical experimentees in neurophysiological research, hallucinations that were named ‘Flicker.’ Patient’s experiences described increasingly bright, complex patterns of colour behind their closed eyelids. Soon Cyberneticians, psychologists and artists were spontaneously informing this interdisciplinary exchange, during a time of pioneering chemistry, new artistic styles and by their implementation of new tools for experiencing Art. I will describe how artists’ work, including my own, is harnessing the EEG signal, bridging various methods and arousing questions in art and human experience.

The Power of Place: Sacred Sites and the Presence of the Miraculous

“Long before there were religions, there were regions of the earth.” Acclaimed photographer and anthropologist Martin Gray has spent the last 35 years on an amazing pilgrimage: visiting 800 sacred sites in 155 countries around the world. In ‘The Power of Place’ he reveals just how devoutly pre-industrial cultures everywhere worshiped and respected our Earth.

In Surgical Sleep

“The body – its anatomy and physiology – remains a powerful material and source of study for contemporary artists. In recent years some have chosen to explore different states of (un) consciousness (such as sleep/ dreams, sleep deprivation, hypnosis) – placing themselves in intense and sometimes risky situations, where their experiences and perceptions of these states are recorded and re-contextualised as artworks.” Louise K Wilson is a visual artist who makes installations, live works, sound works and single channel videos. Processes of research are central to her practice and she frequently involves the participation of individuals from industry, museums, medicine and the scientific community in the making of work.

The Reader

The Reader is a large six foot sculpture of the artist Stanza wearing a hoodie reading a book which stands at the heart Of Milton Keynes Central Libraries. The artwork is a metaphor for the engagement of reading in the digital age.

Flickering Phrontisterion

In this interactive, participatory artwork the Brainwaves of participants are monitored whilst experiencing a Dream Machine, invoking the phenomena Flicker via neurofeedback. Emergent sonic guides and voices recede, new ideas come to the fore. The resulting Hypnagogic & Hypnopompic brainwaves are fed-back to the participant, and change the sonification. In a secluded space, eyes closed, reclined in an air-pumped Dentist chair, they float back down, where time disappeared – experiencing Reverie, increased Theta waves. Feedback has shown increased relaxation, refreshed creativity and non linear thinking.

In Their Right Minds: The Lives and Shared Practices of Poetic Geniuses (a review by Garry Kennard)

In 1976, Julian Jaynes proposed that the language of poetry and prophecy originated in the right, “god-side” of the brain. Current neuroscientific evidence confirms the role of the right hemisphere in poetry, a sensed presence, and paranormal claims as well as in mental imbalance. Left-hemispheric dominance for language is the norm. An atypically enhanced right hemisphere, whether attained through genetic predisposition, left-hemispheric damage, epilepsy, childhood or later traumas, can create hypersensitivities along with special skills. Dissociative Others may arise unbidden or be coaxed out through occult practices. Based on nearly twenty years of scientific and literary research, this book enters the atypical minds of poetic geniuses Blake, Keats, Hugo, Rilke, Yeats, Merrill, Plath and Hughes by way of the visible signs in their lives, beliefs, and shared practices.

The Encounter: A new play by Complicite/Simon McBurney (review)

Simon McBurney’s new play, The Encounter, transports us into the humid depths of the Amazon, his storytelling served by the enveloping presence of binaural technology. In 1969, National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre became hopelessly lost in a remote part of the Brazilian rainforest while searching for the Mayoruna people. His encounter was to test his perception of the world, bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus.

Threading scenes of his own life with details of McIntyre’s journey, McBurney incorporates objects and sound effects into this solo performance to evoke a rainforest landscape. Transmitted direct to the audience through provided headphones, the show’s ground-breaking sound design plugs into the power of the imagination, questioning our perceptions of time, communication and our own consciousness.