Rev., Dec 7, 2018.
Note: this Fusion analysis based on five stage dream model, entpotic, symbolic (glass onion); lattice (fixing); whoosh (spiral), and REM deep dream state. Interior to this, a model of the functionality of nightmares is made use of.
This past summer, I picked up a figure-eight movement in the depiction of nightmares in movies. I ended up analyzing the form which they take in the mis en scene and decided that there were two bounce outs from nightmare, once falling down the whoosh, then you bounce out, but are still in hypnagogy, so that is night terror; the second, however, a worse looking down in, and you bounce out to being awake, except you might be in sleep paralysis, or sleep drunkenness, a kind of aftereffect state of dream.
but, then, things do not end there. The dreamer, usually a woman, goes back for a third time to try to see things and figure things out, but it was only in this third attempt that she was able to see down through as if a turned around telescope to see into the truth of REM dream, and open up the blockage that twice rebuffed her. I have seen this in Bethany (2017), and in Still/Born (2018), and in other movies, recently, too. And I call that ability to see through the darkness, ophthchthony,
but, then, in other moments, I saw that one still might bounce out from that, but not vertically again, but just hit splat, the gate closed again, and you are either bounced off left, or bounced off right; and if that is the case, to the left you are in the light, or white-in, I call Opthonos (half of ophthchthony); while on the right, you are in the dark, in a black out state, I call Chthonos (the other half). Both of these outside hypnagogy, in much more open-ended ambient psychological space
in my treatment of the work of Aline Bouvy, recently (see post), I believe that I detected a bounce strategy, struggling with making sense of the white cube, which ended up her making a White-in, Ophthonos, in the gallery space. I also suspected that the black wall counterpart that concluded the exhibition at least recognized the counterbalancing opposite, Chthonos. But left it at that.
And, now, I see another installation, but, again, not so much an installation, as an incubation, in so far as it exists in the gallery like a dream, like something inside the head of the artist, given physical form. It exists in a hypnagogic realm, not anywhere near minimalist literal space, or even postmodern neominimalist cultural spin space. It is a dream and a nightmare, and this is the stupendous installation by a new favorite, Marguerite Humeau at The New Museum in New York (I am fairly certain that New York having its ingrained formalist-minimalist prejudices most of this is going to pass right over their heads). First of all, the space is black, or dark, with tiers irregularly arranged, that is, it is prime candidate to be termed a visualization of Chthonos, the ambient black out space outlying the last bounce out of Ophthchthony
but, then, the question is, this sort of exhibition space is not entirely unusual in natural history museums, so it has to have some sort of justfication as a physical expression in the space around the focused objects, as somehow the “space” of that object, as projected from its program and form. That is, these spaces are not random, but mean something. This one
and this one
And this one
and this one
and this one
and then, since this is the work that captured me, to want to write about the show, the Venus of Kostenski, this one
that is, in all cases, the object had to have a hypnagogic quality, and then the space around it be an adjunct hypnagogic space, to “clear” it (that is, quartering the space to block out rationalization)
I think this IS what is going on, as in this piece that I liked so much, it is sort of put up in the corner, but, then, at the edge of a precarious, and none too polished, edge
but, then, what are they? And why do they look the way they do? In her statement, Humeau makes this clear
what this means is, there is a process by which people by way of a shaman got to psychotropic experience, through eating the brains of certain animals. That would be an engine of inducement for hypnagogic effects, or visions. This means that this installation is not an installation, in a gallery, with art, entirely taking place in consciousness, or in a hypnagogic look from it either, but a dynamic agentic movement into altered state hypnagogy in ambient realms. The first element that separates the art from the everyday is: 1) shamanic women; 2)then, they ingest animal brains; 3) then, they are in a trance; 4) then, there is, from various brains, paths to different trance states, and 5) that information is inscribed in what appear to be brains, or women, but are both, maps disguised as sculptures, recipes to get to different places in dream vision. That is, we are not in the objective, materialist, minimalist, literal world; we are in a dream world. This complicated, five-step entry into the material brings the entire exhibition out of the gallery into the hypnagogic states that I study in movies
This leaves the states of particular trance to be studied. I would classify those as, if they are bright and colored, a dysfunction of the deep dream entry, and a splat out to Opthonos (the white-in). But, then, even more remarkably, it seems that they ate the brains of several animals, and maybe even in certain combinations and sequences, or “recipes,” and, somehow, that information had to be kept somewhere. And Humeau argues that that is what the Venuses were, physical-visual recipes, guides, to tell shamans which way to go, to get to a certain type of dream.
Now, to conform this to my way of thinking. I mentioned in my treatment of Cthulu Mansion (1992), that given the turned-around-telescope nature of Lovecraft’s original description of the Cthulhu and other monsters, it is possible that for him a monster was nothing else but the physical representation of a certain psychodynamic twist in the mind whilst dreaming, or in a state of terror, something like this
that is, a “monster” is just a physicalization of one of my charts, a figuralization, for mneumonic purposes, of the dynamic agency of things moving about in one of my graphs. This is precisely what Humeau seems to be saying: each form of a Venus, with its various permutations, of a somewhat labial quality, is a visual recipe, which tells the shaman yet another way to get to the vision dream state.
I subscribe to the school of thought that sees Venuses as instructive objects held in the circle of posession of women, and not eidols or goddesses in shrine sites. I was particularly charmed by a theory that floated around about 20 years ago which described them as models to help young woman know what to expect in the stages of pregnancy, scholarly articles which included POV views of female bodies looking down from above onto their growing bellies. While this theory had a bit of a problem of literalism, theories like it abide, and I tend to see the Venuses as instructive, agentic objects, not “works of art.” For that reason, I am more likely to right from the start not view Humeaus’ statues as modernist-like Brancusi variations in vulval form on ancient Venuses, that is, little statues of females (which they are, nonetheless); but as, in fact, the physical representation of the recipe, telling the person who looks at the thing, a shaman, what a certain animal brain associated with this form will lead to, in altered states mapped out on the form, or the path marked out like on a map, in terms of taking a psychotronic trip. For that reason, I tend to see these objects as “things” in the manner of the thing in the house of the movie Paganini Horror (1988), where an hourglass serves as some sort of conductor of the haunting of the place, this usually placed in a nexus room, where everthing turns
I will, however, place each one of her visual-recipe objects in the nexus itself, they are the equivalent of the “turned around microscope” effect, or the sleep paralysis effect, that, in passing from vigilogogy to hypnagogy, raise the possibilty of various sorts of visionary insight. Though I do not think the gallery as a whole is meant to be visualized as a nexus space, it is possible that each clearing of object and the cantilevered space about it is meant to be read that way. So, for example, this
would graph out, for instance (I am just improvng here),
that is, its narrow head indicates lack of immersal in deep hypnagogy, its emphasis on bifurcated buttocks indicates that the sightline goes down through her spine to her buttocks, but, then, on those large cheeks, splats off to left and right into Ambient hypnagogic zones, with some push from an oversight derived from a splat out from the prominent shoulder blades. And so, this “recipe” calls for some brains, of particular animals, that bring one by way of vigilogogic entopty into hypnagogic entopty, but then to gently bounce out in kaleidoforms either side, to experience a light dream Ambient encounter of some sort.
By contrast, this much more intense and even labial form, with echoes of Judy Chicago’s literalism, but on the other side of the universe, this is a Venus carved in such a way as to offer a recipe for a much more powerful, and deep, path to a far more intense vision, resulting from an intenser animal brain effect.
this sinks in much deeper, into the hypnagogic
it posits that at the top there is a twist, like in a twisted neck, where the vigilogogic elements of the nexus overturns into a negated form in the hypnagogic, with this movement causing ripples out into adjunct space, but not quite to the Ambient; then, it keeps moving down to take up a place on the lattice, as a cavity of central concern, to then open up in a whoosh below, to slip into deep REM space. This, the above form, in its greater complexity, maps out as in a recipe that the animal brain associated with this object, whether by stone or material or whatever they associated with it, is a much more powerful brain eating experience, and results in a full on drop to a lattice, a dive by a whoosh through the spiral, down into, even, represented by labial form, the REM deep dream, where the vision will take place.
And, then, one by one, that’s what they are, that’s why they vary, there is no need for me to speculate on what each means, because I am just matching graphs with forms here in a random way, but the principle holds, each form is not so much a “form” as a “–phorous”, that is, a carrier, a gateway, a path, mapped out on the Venus, still a Venus
and one of these is so placed on its clearing space, its adjunct support in hypnagogic space, that it suggests a whoosh down to the gate of REM dream, but, then, a splat out to the side, if vision, Ophthonos, if black out, Chthonos. I think this might do
this is how might it all work out, without getting too schematic here. I have recently been trying to map out in vigilogogic-hypnagogic space, assuming that an encounter or epiphany with the gods, as per Platt, is an experience of an altered state kind of consciousness nature. This happened in a state partitioned by the assemblages of attributes and powers that each of the Greek gods had, and how by that pattern of attribution, they had certain precincts, then rubbed up against others, then sometimes overlapped on others, but to catch something the other god missed, and that eventually, though I have only mapped out Zeus and Apollo thus far, come up with a map of attribute formations, framing dynamic agency functions, which cover the whole of it, like a pieces of a jigsaw puzzle
I would suggest that this is the same thing
you are looking at a mapping out of all the paths, and the space around each one is like that piece in the jigsaw puzzle which supports the objects not as a pedestral supporting a work of sculpture, but like an altar supporting a sacred object with cult meaning
It is true that Humeau goes on to argue that each Venus represents one of the women, too, for it is women shamans, in a trance state, part brain, part Venus, and that in their lament they prophecy the future extinction of mankind, all well and good. That is a “cover” story, however, to hide the code under a veneer of normalcy. But, in their structure, they “work,” that is, as works of art, because in addition to being figures of women shamans, they are brain homunculi, with very close assocation with “monsters” in the sense of mapping out the effect of the particular brain eaten to get to the trance state they are in (again, one thinks of the physical distortions of body in Altered States), and so I view the “trance” more as a vigilogogic or hypnagogic state, with insight in deep dream or Ambient Ophthonos or Chthonos space. As such, these are intercessional works of art, for the intiate. So that is my analysis.
But, then, if this is a hypnagogic space, where are we, exactly, in the gallery? Well, Humeau added in sound and smell, the smell was linked to birth, perhaps by a relation to placenta and its meaning, as a souce of an idea that the brain of a different animal might have the power to direct one on a particular trip. I think we are in a semblance of the caves where these objects functioned. The women are sitting around, having their trances, they forsee the end of mankind, it is a dark place. I mentioned, partly in humor, as my FB page is much more “for entertainment purposes only,” that it reminded me of the cave space of One Million BC, and that that space hosted indeed all sorts of social and sexual struggles as whole tribes, according to the movies, would sit about and stew.
even though a more accurate picture of what this shaman ceremony was like might be seen in Altered States (1980).
but more to the point
In any case, the problem is, time. And, experience. That is, this is a theory about objects, it confers upon them a neurological, psychotropic power, that each, as a work of art, not as a figurative sculpture describing a woman, but as objects that sit at the nexus and like an hourglass often appearing at that juncture function to by the reaction of the mind to the effect of its ingestion go on a trip of a particular form, and depth, and extent, whether in hypnagogic, deep REM sleep dream, Ambient or even Sentient space (and so-called psychotronic spaces related, but I would place these up in zones adjunct to vigilogogy), and that all these visions must be guessed to be taking place past Ophthchthony, because of the radical nature of the altered state, in the Ophthonos (white in) realm.
that’s what a trip is, though in horror movies this final splat, after two previous nightmare splats, is often characterized as entirely psychotic, the depicted scenes share with vision trips the notion that over the eyes is cast a screened, superimposed, other visual plane, which one experiences as not a dream, but a vision of another waking life, but you are in the Ophthonos zone (but in that case moving back up in ambient-vigilogogic space).
But, the problem is, practically, Humeau could not depict those zones, at least not yet (maybe she will do Pippolitti Rist type videos to try to link a certain kind of visionary experience to the particulars of each stone, and form, and recipe, that is, dynamic agency path, and so that is in the future). But to introduce the idea, and perhaps to comment on the nature of art, she can only show a dark world opposite the realization of what these objects are, a place where we see these objects and do not know what they are, where they might lead. She can only in the art represent the fact that they consist of lost knowledge,, and for this reason she can only bring us into the cave, where the objects might’ve sat, unappreciated even by those not in on the secret shaman knowledge, and show us that dark world. In other words, while in theory the dynamic leads to Ophtonos, or to deep REM space; in practice in art, all she can show us is Chthonos, the dark black out space where we encounter these things, but know not what they are
that is, I do think that Humeau has created in the gallery an Ambient adjunct space of hypnagogy, derived as a result of a triple loop of meaning having to do with Venuses, animal brains, shamans, and paths to enlightment by way of particular trips, of multiple forms, brought us to a third splat at the bottom of nightmare, or a looping like it; but given us a bounced out Ambient form, where the curtain is pulled across the vision, to say something about the unseen nature of that which art represents, that is, we are given a view of the cave, the state of Chthonos (black out), deep in the lightly dreaming brain, but as a screen of Opthonos, the white in, which is where the shamans go. For this reason, I think this exhibition serves as a counter to Aline Bouvy’s white-in space (see post), by showing us what things look like in a highly theoretical but remote world that we can only encounter by way of the autistic limitations of art seen in the glass darkly of the Chthonos world lying outside of failed dream resulting from a nightmare (Humeau did execute an Ophthonic space in London last year, however).
In sum, I argue that Humeau’s work is being thought through on the level of vigilogogy or hypnagogy; that dynamic agency forces are at work to arrange its ideas in various forms or assemblages; that there IS in her work a kind of ophthchthony, if not strictly speaking, formally, a full formation, then at least some degree of it, involving brains, trances, women shamans, prophecy; that this leads to an encounter with the difficulty of dreaming, resulting in bounces out from splat falls, into either adjunct Ambient space I have called, if white-in, Opthonos, or, if black out, Chthonos. I think that the inner dynamic agency is there, I believe this is ballpark correct. I believe, then, that Humeau, in this incubation, has created a vision of the black out we live in, Chthonos,a world of darkness where secret knowledge lies.
On the micro level, it is also clear there is an underpinning of crystal magic in the work, and the idea, shared by many in the ancient world, that different stones lead to different responses by the universe, so this piece made out of, it is said, a piece of rare alabaster Humeau found in England, the Venus of Kostenski eating the brain of a marmoset, so a more descriptive-narrative piece than the the more abstract ones, in this one the alabaster also counts, as it did in the ancient world
and, indeed, I did notice that in his selection for his Mummy kunstkammer show in Vienna, Wes Anderson showed an interest in the various stones by which Romans made household gods of an intimate sort, perhaps to aid in dreaming of a particular thing, in a form of portable incubation.
Then, too, it is a possibility that the brain caused the person to lapse into sleep, and the visions were got during sleep, in which case, this might describe the inside of a space where incubation took place, and the nature of the stone would again, as the skin of an animal, have a role in which to direct the dream, by being related to a certain guide god, to by its functional assemblage piece of the jigsaw puzzle, lead to better results. I posted on this today.