27 April 2017

VISUAL DYNAMICS I: INITIATION



The eyes are our gateway into the world.  It is via the function of these organs in collaboration with the brain that the masks of reality emerge and give rendering to the drama of life.  They are the most dynamic and influential sense we possess, yet despite being organs tasked to deliver clarity of our conscious experience, they obliterate as much as they expose and are deeply tied up in the murk of the unconscious.


Sight is the realm through which our interface with reality can take place.  It reveals the stadium of our life's experience, of our many encounters with visionary creatures and their actions and most importantly, creates the template through which the invisible concept can emerge within hard-space as a crystallisation of creative intent.  The last statement should ring true most of all for the Artists for whom vision is the interface through which their creations emerge into the world.  Years ago, I was struck with the realisation that in order to say anything truly substantial about the subject of art, it was necessary to understand the organism that creates art.  It is equally striking that so many artists take the subject of their own organism and the significance of sight for-granted, given that everything they value in their creations is predicated upon its power.  This series of entries on the subject of vision attempts to address just that; it is in the interest of every artist seeking to improve in their discipline to study the fundamental properties of their creative reality, and there is no more significant subject to initiate ourselves into than the language of our own body and the dynamics of vision.

Knowledge of vision is essential to the world we live in. The modern world with its legion of sensory seductions has pushed the exercise of sight into over-exposure. Casual process and prolonged habituation to their use have meant these organs that intimate the light have been taken for granted more than any other sense we possess.  There has never been a more visually abundant period of human history and yet many of us remain ignorant to the power that vision yields to us.  This is the result of an organism blind to its own nature.  We were never initiated into the inner workings of vision and so we cannot speak the language of vision.  The human of modernity uses this most impressive sensory talent with an autonomous grace, unbeknownst to the subtle powers that work beneath the surface of the flesh.  And so the vessel is at the mercy of its own organs and a slave to the engineers of vision that seduce his senses whilst they milk his monetary udder.  It is our own misfortune to not understand the properties of our own design lest they are harnessed by those who do.  This is the precursory message of this creative project: we will unravel the mysteries of vision and in the process of doing so, emerge into the visual world as a conscientious visionary animal.

However, the renderings of vision do not merely begin and end with the external forms it reveals.  We depend on upon the visual forms harvested from the surface to define the mental maps that we use to navigate inner space. Without vision, our relationship to the internal world would be greatly disturbed making it a greater labyrinthine realm of confusion than it already is, an ephemeral realm of de-contextualised space; an invisible labyrinth.  Why would this be when so much of our conscious experience is supposedly directed towards an external field as our weak presumptions would insist?  The only way that we can even speak of our minds' contents is through relating it to the physical captives of vision.  All of our introspective meanderings and interactions with inner-space are constructed out of analogs that associate to the external world: the meta-situations we place ourselves in, the apparitions who hold court over our every dialogue, whim and fantasy are all given face from the clay of visionary experience.  Those psychological companions that substrate the identity and contextualise private reality are doppelgängers of the material; their masks extracted from the skin of nature and collated within the great translator of experience - the human brain.

Yet as we shall see, the dynamics of vision is the result of a marriage between multiple subjects.  It is so deeply intertwined with the human nervous system that the consequences of the flesh collude to disturb the results of our conscious experience.  This we shall discover in detail later on, but for now let us talk about human experience, like the visual system, as a dynamic system and the creative experience as rendered via works of Art act an extension of that primary takes on the character of the parent.  This will act as an allegory for the very style of this investigation.

Our ability to accurately interpret human experience is proportional to the relationship we hold towards these human information systems.  Likewise, due to the limitations of our sensory organs and our ability to assemble information into a framework of reference at any given time, we usually find ourselves attracted, both emotionally and pragmatically, towards a specialisation that we feel offers the most appropriate interpretation of reality.  The consequence of this is akin to a double-edged sword as enthusiastic gravitation towards a particular specialisation will most likely result in a neglect of other interpretations beneficial towards a comprehensive understanding of what it is to be caught within the complex of human experience.  A certain degree of this cannot be avoided on an individual level, and I take note to measure my own prejudices, but our attitude towards the relevance of a multi-disciplinary perspective will determine the degree by which our intelligence is hindered by casual biases and misunderstandings.

Due to the multifarious nature of its informing experiences, the human brain has secreted a plethora of systems to relate accordingly to its experiences.  The ancient Greeks called these the four pillars of wisdom: Science, Philosophy, Religion, and Art.  I will go further to include more contemporary systems into the wider structure, utilising all information: ancient, classic or modern that compliment the advancement of this research. All information systems can all be organised and understood as disciplines specialised and orientated to particular aspects of an experience.  Just as an individual infers something of his own nature into the way he speaks about the world to others, so the created disciplines can only convey their own description of the world through their respective powers and limitations.  As such, none of these disciplines is ever comprehensive on its own, they all possess their own strengths and limitations unique to their respective dynamics.  We will respect and remain conscientious of these limitations as we progress, but it is vitally important that we clarify once and for all that when we are working towards clarity over a complex and multi-contextual subject like sight, that no single discipline will satisfy the whole.  We will rely on all relevant information useful to our cause, no matter its respective style or cultural acceptability.  We will use an Organicist approach.

We will approach both external and internal phenomenon as an interacting symphony of components that unite and co-operate under an ecosystem experience of reality.  Much in the same way that the organs which make up our organic body inter-relate in a symphony of biological interaction to constitute the greater organism, I believe that our relationship towards human intelligence systems must naturally follow in that character, should we glean a mature and contextual understanding of its true character.  Thus, the manner of this investigation will seek to yield both an acute and context driven rendering of the visual systems.

Working with this discipline in mind, we will return our investigation of sight back to the material properties of the organism.  By studying the organic processes of the eyes and their interactions with the visual cortex situated in the deep regions of the brain, we can initiate ourselves into a fundamental understanding of the properties of sight which will act as a benchmark to wider discussion over the more exotic consequences of the visual states and their effect on the human states.

Vision as our gateway into the world is fittingly our entry point into this endeavour to weave clarity over a most mercurial and sensitive subject, the properties and power of Art.  There will be much interaction with unusual and exotic subjects before our time is over and I take it to task not to resist diving into provocative waters to avoid criticism over my intellectual integrity.  For it is often in the currents of deepest absurdity where we find the most enlightening answers.

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