Visionary Syntax Links
Phosphenes & Hypnagogic
A phosphene is a multicolored shape or pattern seen in the darkness, without external visual stimulation. Phosphenes can be seen with closed eyes or in a completely dark room with open eyes. Phosphenes may appear as:
* exploding stars
* wispy clouds
* parallel lines
* wavy lines
* dotted lines
* spider webs
* dot patterns
* circles within circles
* thin meandering lines, like lightning
* geometric shapes, like triangles, squares, pentagons
* and so on.
…Vivid, morphing colors are typical. Phosphenes typically change color in phases:
2. Bright green with a red halo expanding toward the center
3. Red with a blue halo expanding toward the center
5. Grey, faint afterimage
These inner visions have inspired artistic works throughout human history. In 1989, researcher Richard Bradley applied the concept of phosphenes to European megalithic art. He attributed many mysterious cave drawings with the phosphene visions of the ancient artists. Art historian A. E. Iribas has traced the influence of phosphenes on such art as:
* the “childlike” art of Miro
* the psychedelic art of Michaux
* the surrealist art of Dali
* the mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism
* the architecture of temples
* alchemical imagery
* Hildegard von Bingen’s illuminations
* the work of contemporary painters such as Onslow-Ford, Kupka, Kandinsky, av Klint, and others
Five Basic Functions of Consciousness
All conscious systems rely on five basic functions to interact with the environment in real time.
“All shamen use medicine drums to control the tempo and amplitude of energy oscillating through the sacred circle.”
Need to take a closer look at this. I think we have only scratched the surface of this. What is out there is interesting but I think there is a huge piece to the puzzle that is still missing. While computer generated pictures give enough of a sense of these patterns, the actual patterns are not like that. Digital patterns are too crisp and inert. Inner visual experiences have a kind of peripheral vision quality. I can look at something and see that it looks detailed but paradoxically can’t make them out even though they are not blurry or obscured in any way.
Hypnagogic images seem to be presented always as spontaneous gestalts. There is no sense of a rendering process, no creative cooking up of rough drafts or partial designs, no pixellation or imperfectly vectored lines - its always perfect, but not in a calculated way. It never looks like a logo or graphic design, even though it seems like it should. These images have all of the elements of clarity and refinement that we would see in CGI; they are not sloppy or amateurish, yet they are more akin to the spirit universally present in children’s drawing - full of casual kinetic dynamism.
Something happens in the translation between inner vision and outer expression. A child’s endogenous images are like an adult’s; fully formed, top-quality production value. Yet when we take our first artistic steps, it comes out malformed and haphazard, but in an equally universal way. Children’s art from every culture is childish in the same way that endogenous vision is the same way in every culture; there is a complementarity to the style and I think that complementarity is orthogonal to the style of computer assisted design.
The ubiquitous 4-Chan Rage Faces on the internet reflect an appreciation for an anti-aesthetic, a post-Millennial DIY Punk approach, yet with a decidedly branded/iconic intent. This is as close as we get to shamanistic rock art in the information age. Ironically self-aware graffiti.
Somehow, to me it highlights the inadequacy of the digital medium to deliver authenticity. The studied gracelessness seems like a consolation for the loss of direct participation in a medium. Digital art is immediated - devoid of material to become tangibly involved in. Whatever the intended look, whether it was biological, scenic, abstract, impressionist, iconic, it all ultimately comes out looking like it was crapped out of the same fan-blowing metal box.
Who are the Rembrandts and DaVincis of our era of graphic design, now 30 years old? Relatively anonymous teams of programmers. Photoshop is the masterpiece, not necessarily what we produce with it. Not to disparage graphic design at all, but what we gain in convenience we seem to lose in direct connection. Like the Rage Face popularity, it seems that digital culture is perpetually nostalgic for the original 8-bit cartoon style of early computing.
This is a more genuine expression of the spirit of digital art. It reveals the light-hearted fun and games that made the world bring computers home in the first place. It isn’t pretending to be some fantastic 3-D rendering of a glowing, flaming transparent chrome skull, it actually is the bits and bytes it is made of. You can see them.
I don’t know how I always start out with something trippy and end up with an misanthropic rant, but it’s all related. The authenticity of our native vision, both collectively, individually, and neurologically stand in stark-yet-subtle contradistinction to the plastic culture of the new disposable everything. Keep up the good work humans. :/