Devolutions of the body in recent art: “potentials”, “wriggling figures”, “entomes” and other dream forms.

Artists mentioned Titus Kaphar, daphne Ahlers, Nils Alix-Tabeling, Rochelle Goldberg, Brook Hsu, Beth Collar, Suspiria (2018).

Rev., Apr 29, 2019.

In recent scanning of the perimeter for advances in contemporary art, as opposed to simply providing the status quo with fodder for maintenance of it, I have come to see that “body art” has undergone a strange new decomposition. A number of artists, especially in Europe, but involving a few Americans, have begun to address the body from a more “evolutionary” viewpoint, and, then, too, inside a dreamlike consideration of what, exactly, the body is. The issue is the continued power of the binary when it comes to telling us what bodies are, genderwise. Because society at large is controlled by the “mind forged manacles” and those are always generalized and binary, there is little danger that a male-female binary will be entirely dismantled any time soon; but, artists can dream of a time when that happens, or chart paths of mind or dream with wiggle room in them by which that might happen. And it looks like the strategy that has been most often developed by various artists is to return to a prototype space, preexistent to the current binary state, and, then, from that new premise, work up from there.

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that is, they have been working in their particular mode, artist A making art A with various qualities, but ruled by the binary, and then viewer takes that in as “contemporary art” which may or may not make an impression on him or her. The main problem with art made about gender making use of the binary to critique the binary, well, you see the problem, it is just a vicious cycle, a spinning wheel, going nowhere. This sort of batting back and forth of the binary has become, of course, the premise and structure of all the “cultural” journalism disguised as art criticism that appears in the press and is as a result the sixth grade level of discourse that clouds minds with its endless rationalization, and its silly self-defeating ping pong of binaries.

The way out, then, is to leave the debate, to step aside or step out to reject the premises and terms of the binary itself. This is done by the artist undertaking a reagent sidestep to set up their practice on a nonbinary premise, and, for that, most artists that I have run into using that reagent reset have pushed past and through the space of their previous work into a prototype zone relative to it, and then set up a new idea of things in that prototype space.

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in my terms, prototype space is somewhat dangerous because relative to what you have set inside current art in its medial relations, the prototype is real life, and this risks a return to essentialism in some form. But it is also true I have shown in several different ways how movies can backbuild the premise to an ever more essential or root cause of the scare, for by that strategy claim for its fright a primal quality. I have also explored how every time in ancient Egyptian art over many, many centuries, the conventions of the moment began to deplete and feel washed out the Egyptians reagently regrouped by intensifying the art again, and again, and again, mainly by looping back into a previously unexplored prototype space as imagined prior to the conception of the prototype space they were working with (in all cases, the mistake made by the rational mind is that this prototype is a precise, real thing, when it exists as “prototype” only relative to the current disposal of forms or media in the art). What appears to be going on in the discourse of body art is a similar effort by artists of a younger generation to intensify things by backbuilding into the prototype space, the wild west of body art, and see if they cannot find something there that can ground a new movement forward. They have, that is, undertaken a purposeful regression, in order to then, having found a ground that speaks to them, move forward from that.

In his commentary on his newer glass pieces, for example, the artist Titus Kaphar, who has interested me a great deal because he has been deconstructing portraits of the men of the house, ie slaveholders, into haunted portraits, which is, precisely, a deconstruction of the cult prototype image of the world of the slave, in an interview in Artnet (April, 2019), he explains that his method involved retrenching by way of abstraction (and glass, and it is a matter of interest as well that a lot of artists using this mode of approach have also enlisted glass and ceramic for their capacity to perhaps better represent what they conceive as a more intense, mucky, gooey, inosculate and conjoined type of space). My comment on FB

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this, I think, is what he calls a “potential” of the form of a “hero”’

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This is the quote, from Artnet

“A lot of what you’re doing, whether it’s sculpture or painting, is creating a balance in how we view our country’s difficult past. There’s almost this act of negating, or an element of pulling away, from the image of Jefferson to reveal the story of Sally Hemings through this glass vitrine.

So there are a couple significant parts to the material and the approach to the “Monumental Inversions” pieces. You know, we think of molds as a means to an end in a sculptural process. The mold tends to be the thing that gets us to the ultimate object. But I’m fascinated by the mold itself because the mold is also representative of this idea of potentiality. The mold is at once the absence of the object itself and all of the potential for it. And so for me to take these significant and important figures—the founding fathers—and represent them as molds, as potentiality, there is a way where you can recognize both the negative and positive things they did in their lifetime. We either deify or demonize our founding fathers and neither one of these extremes is beneficial from a historical point of view. And so with the works in this series I attempt to stack on top of each other the narratives of the founding fathers—that we have been bombarded with for our entire lives—and the narratives that we have always known but swept under the rug and didn’t want to bring to the surface”.

Kaphar’s word is “potential,” that is, he backbuilds to a state prior to the binary, where the binary elements of it revert back by merging into an undifferentiated whole (the degree to which this is related to the existential, or the attraction to the primal, I leave off for now). The form that his outlines of elements of statues in glass, for example, have, is only in its “potential,” somehow, something will grow from its suggestion, but it will be different, from this point, a different binary or no binary at all might grow, and this is where he works, in the “potential.” Here is his example

0 6Kaphar explains (also in Artnet)

“One of the works in particular, a sculpture I did a little while ago called A Pillow for Fragile Fictions (2016), which is blown glass in the mold of George Washington’s bust. The glass vessel is about two feet long and three feet high. Because it is hand-blown glass the figure of Washington is distorted. The piece started out after a friend read this book about George Washington and his relationship to slavery. To summarize the narrative, Washington had become sick of this one slave continuing to run away. So Washington decided to trade this man for a grocery list of items: tamarind, rum, lime, and molasses. So in this sculpture, those elements are actually what are inside of the vessel itself, this distorted glass bust”.

So, “potential” is the word. Then, even more interesting, on the same day, I viewed the art of Daphne Ahlers and in her press release she also makes use of the word “potential,”

“Perhaps Daphne Ahlers’ works could at first be described as revealing a relation to the body. We see impressions of faces, shapes of female genitalia, or structures that remind one of limbs or body fluids. However, the relation to the body is rather subtle and has to do with the utilized materials that include latex, silicone wads, nylon, or soft shell. With Ahlers, the body is usually not whole but remains a fragment. It is not evoked as an agent or an experiential space located beyond what can be grasped with language in the sense of a mystical or magical experience; and it is also not something that is expanded or altered along the lines of post-humanistic or post-identitary ideas. This is remarkable because especially in the past years the body has experienced quite a revival based on these aspects and potentials and is highly present in contemporary artistic and theoretical discourses”.

one could suspect from this that it might be artspeak or a buzzword in the making but for now its application is so particular and precise, and a dead on description of exactly what is going on, that, no, I don’t think we are in the pile-on moment when people who don’t know what they are talking about begin to exploit the term to use it inaccurately etc. Her realization of the word is also more literal, in that she presents forms which mimic in size, the body, and that is this large cushion form, a kind of effigy formation, and then she “dresses” them in ways that in abbreviating references to gender pushes them back down some imaginary evolution to start over from undifferentiate to by miosis dividing into some other binary state. Thus, in this one

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this one too

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(This from Daphne Ahlers, Die Langstreckensängerin, Halle für Kunst Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany, January 19 – March 29, 2019).

At this point, since this is also a kind of regression from consciousness–which in any time is defined by the binaries of social understanding by which people conventionally live–the scale of the work and then the operation of backbuilding to a “potential” state upon it happens in certain vigilogogic or hypnagogic zones.  Since Kaphar works in glass with forms from public statues, and there is a faint whiff of de Chirico in his strange proto-statues, I think vigilogogy, daydream forms; but Ahlers works in more clothing or even bedding forms and this suggests the intimacy of the gown prowl in horror movies, and, for me, this, if for now only by association (she did a piece on witches burned in Glasgow), places her art in the hypnagogic. It is also in the hypnagogic, simply for convenience sake, I will place other works talked about here, to keep an easy hierarchy.

And there is a hierarchy, as I have mapped out a thousand times, I argue that there is a space in the mind between when the mind nods off into light sleep, falls through certain phases, and then finally drops into REM dream state.  I have mapped out, lighter to heavier, leading to stage five, which is REM, the entoptic, the symbolic (what I call the glass onion), the lattice, and the whoosh; and, then, if the whoosh drops you in a spiral down in you slip into REM and have real dreams. And in each phase there are also segways into adjunct spaces where the mind can stall; and also dynamic dysfunctions, most of them at present worked out involving the ephialtic drop or leap, as a nightmare is experienced as a whoosh, then it splats, and if it splats that means you bounce out of nightmare into some further ambient lost zone. Using this model, and seeing what Kaphar and Ahlers are doing to forms, to backbuild into a prototype space where they are “potentials,” I place them such

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but, then, vertically, I enclose that agentic array inside the zones of hypnagogy. I place them there because the basic human form of the form is still suggested, and still at “life size,” that is, the same scale as a human. They are simplified in order to act symbolically, but in a “potential” way remaining undefinable, that is, no signified or meaning assigned to them. At present, I place these “potentials,” taking somewhat human form, in the lattice, that is, third stage hypnagogy, concentrating on the body, since I have for some time located the single thing concentrated on when the mind gets heavy as very often consisting of the body, with elements of the adjunct lattice being extensions of the sleeping body itself imagining itself differently. I have seen this often in movies, here it is in art.

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I should also say that I have already, in a less discriminating way, sensed something odd in body art over the last five years, and noted as early as 2014 that there was a trend sparked by Tobias Spichtig since 2015 in making use of clothing to represent the body, and then he actually treated clothing to allow it to stand up or sit in galleries, and that’s what he was doing

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But this I called a homunculi, on the model of what is called a homunculi in brain science, that is, a physical representation of the connection of two body systems in a grotesque image of that body. But then, for me, homunculi, I now see, were “further out” toward the ambient, and might even have participated in a discussion of what I call psalliction, the sentient forces of the universe tearing the body apart, and leaving only devastated elements of it. All of this was homuncular art. but I placed it far out to the ambient, and, then, lower down, feeling the first vibes of whoosh to pull it apart. By contrast, as potential in lattice adjunct space seems rather stable, and symbolic, and tends in the devices of its alteration, at least in Ahlers, to use symbolic discourse, so I place it nearer in, and in the uppermost level of the lattice, toward and maybe even crossing over to the symbolic (glass onion). For now, then, this is where I see both Kaphar and Ahlers working with potentials.

But, then, at roughly the same time, I learned another word. Two Czech artists, Anna Hulacova and Zsofia Keresztes, had a show at Colleredo Palace, Czech Republic, in which they described the decomposition of body into some primal state prior to the binary, as “entomes,’ which is the Greek word (which, of course, I love, since I use Greek words to nail down both the specificity of the concept and my ability to remember it, given my increasing memory problems) for insects, which as in-sect, that from the latin, literally means, “alive after it has been torn apart” (the sect part), and this is what they came up with.

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I would hesitate, however, to call these straight on entomes because they look too large and too fluid for insect forms, which suggest something smaller and more “dissected,”

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and this, I think Hulacova

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again, Zerestez, this from a one person show.

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As is, with their curves, and their vertiginous quality, I would have to locate this particular type of entome, which I guess I will call positive-entomes, in close to the spiral of the life force, and near the very bottom, almost about to fall off the lattice, overseen, in fact, I would think, in my mapping, by a caretaker.

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But, then, at the same time, that, I was also watching Luca Guadignino’s Suspiria (2018) and by way dance witchcraft Olga, a rebellious dancer, was reduced to a broken pulp

0 20And, later, it was found that there was yet a room in the school where such reduced-to-pulp broken bodies, almost as if entirely and only works of animation now, alive by the spell on them only, and no other means in them, were left to lie in a dark room

0 21surely, this was a horrifying idea, but a more accurate realization in the flesh of entomes, that is, living on after being torn apart. Since the battery done on them by way of witchcraft and dance was a psalliction, and did tear them apart, I have to take in sentient space, where the energy for that type of witchcraft can alone come from, and then too acknowledge that in the beating of them, reducing them from functioning humans to pulp left-overs of bodily life, but yet alive, that there is an element of suffering the whoosh, but in an adjunct way, so that entomes end up lying somewhere at the bottom of the splat, because they most certainly went splat, but then suspended still in sentience by a spell, and left out to pasture, and so I place them in a spot but relative to a path that got them there as such

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these are negative entomes, lying as rubbish at the bottom of the whoosh, in the splat zone, on the roof, as I call it, locked out of REM by nightmare, so there they are.

I was thinking of another artist in this broad discourse, who is not only working with what appear to be potentials, like Kaphar, and often with glass or ceramic too, but in a more horizontally desolate way, almost in the desert of no meaning beyond, and in this context to she seems to have some awareness that when moving in hypnagogic space you encounter forms by the nature of the movement, and so she named her particular guide figures, which I generally place in the glass onion, as intralocutors, figures that ghostly move in and out of the door, basically helping you in or out the door, Rochelle Goldberg, who is also part of this discourse, but I have written of her before.

0 23Then, more recently, I come across a few more artists, in this case, all of them women, who seem to be working in the same terrain of prototype space, a primal space before binary creation, in which forms grow in undifferentiated form, to create new forms, Brook Hsu and Beth Collar. Hsu seems to have also retrogressed to some original dreamland where Pan rules, in an ambiguous way, and then there is a muddy pool at which horned skeletons drink, for some cult reason. It seems a rather desolate place. I have written about this too (see previous post).

But, finally, now, another artist comes on my radar, and he seems to have, in front of my eyes, developed along some chain of association in the space of the potential, this is Nils Alix-Tabeling.

Nils Alix-Tabeling, Limules, 2018, Robot, animated wood carving, resinated papier maché, peacock feathers, speakers, ormeaux shells, trinkets, 7min sound piece looped, 70 x 70 x 110 cm

0 24purely anecdotally, in the context of the story of Syrinx, whom Pan wanted to rape, she ran, the earth god covered her up and planted the spot where she was taken down into the earth with reeds, which made a melancholy sound when the wind blew through them, and these Pan tore up in a rage; but, then, found something soothing in remembering her, and in guilt at what he had done in a moment of lust, forcing her into this drastic, if not suicide, at least a complete decomposition of her current state of being, for another–and this model seems to reinforce this piece as entirely partaking of the entome, of the negative sort, because it was body part, then it waved some peacock feathers mechanically, then it let out a plaintive da da da, it was, to me, almost an uncanny realization in contemporary art of things on my mind, reading of nymphs in ancient Greece

As to the title, I had to look up Limules, it refers to limulus, related to the word limn, and it means, as in the manner of a crab, to move sidelong, that is, limuluslike, and seeming locked into that limulite motion. This is, again, but another example of the broken body imagery that continues to flow out of European art (It may be that USA art lacks this certain broken quality because our rhetorical grasp of art as something to inspire and literally bring on social justice prevents us from telling the truth about the situation of body culture in the current age. If you always have to be a hero, it represses truths of struggle). But, the important point,  I placed entomes as fragments out in the adjunct areas of some state of being past or bounced out of nightmare, so I would guess stuck in the Chthon, the black out. But, this term, limule, is much more specific, it says the same thing, this is a being, with a body, reduced to this, so it is past an entome, but, even more so, its limitation is that it is restricted to a very limited script of action, in a negative sense, as in it cannot do anything else. As a result, it is an entomes, truncated further by a limiting of its scripts, and its activities—what is the word when unused muscles lock together—and for that fixed state, it is a limulus, and controlled by a demon, that is, it is not free, but has a closed system, is not open and free, it lives in a caged state far below freedom of will. This is the limulus. Since the limulus as described is a sidelong movement only, like a crab, that is, moving crabwise, then I can only at present assume that it is a creature of the dark path over the top of the REM state, and toward the Cursed or Seventh deadly door, as it passes out to the ambient zone.

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that is, it is a creature of this zone, at the bottom of the whoosh, but, then, the added detail is, it is bound by a spell or demon, or another, thus it exists inside brackets, derived from a higher source, such as this

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and then it lives in that life, period. So I place these here, but, then, the instructional thing about Alix-Tabeling’s progression in his art is that a few years ago he was making figures like entomes, but of more serpentine bodily form, that is, up the ladder of development in the primal space, as positive entomes, perhaps.

0 27But, then, maybe by way of thoughts of formaphilia, he began to see that there was more interest when these forms were trapped by a higher power in another type of object, so he began to both break down his positive entomes, make them more furniture like, and then work them out as pieces of furniture, with a memory of St Clair Cemin here, figures trying to wriggle out. I use the word wriggle, from May, 2017 to recently, January, 2019, I argued that the situation in terms of discourse politically in the West and possibly in the world had become so topsy-turvy that artists had begun to start with the chaos then wriggle back to the light. I pictured this as a difficult wriggling, through a darkness, not unlike wriggle figures of tight fits and bodies all but trapped in them which you see in cave movies like As Above, So Below (2017). As a result, I guess for the moment I will simply call these figures, wriggling-figures. They exist here, in my charts

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that is, they are at the edge of the whoosh, living in the whoosh, feeling all currents and changes in a panic, they partake of panic politics; and, then, from that edge, almost in ambience, they begin to wriggle their way in. I place this wriggling as as a kind of narrow-arc’d horizontal whoosh, but the opposite of a whoosh, a pulling through, to approach, but not get to the light, and I saw a good deal of wriggling sculpture to confirm my view. I did, in fact, give a shout out to an Alix-Tabeling in 2017, I might have called a piece of his a wriggling figure.

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another view

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for some reason, which I attribute to dislike of the white cube, I have noted that, by a desire by some artists to leave the white cube, to go outside its walls, then, in that crawlspace view it differently, then come back in, to then inhabit the gallery in an all but backwards, hesitating, entirely negated way, the spindly leg has become a form in contemporary Euro art, in Aline Bouvy, in others, and here.

0 32But, then, on its top, and in its form, a wriggling narrowing, this is a figure that has wriggled, he has done a lot of it, and now is close. But, then, as he approaches enlightenment, it looks like the back of his brain is shot out, as happens a lot in zombie movies, and from that brain, empty, springs, not Athena, but a kitschy Roman style chariot group in ceramic (like the kind I wanted to buy in the window of a shoe shop window on Smith Street near Union in 2012), and this seems to materialize in a miniature allegory right there the brain state of a wriggling creature, that to get from a to b in his wriggling he makes use of tropes that rotate in the cingulate in his head, and if they happen to be dated or nonsense urban legend-like models, or just scenes in movies, like Ben Hur, it doesn’t matter, he will make use of whatever it is in his brain that is actionable in order to push his wriggle on. Thus, I see the outbreak of the miniature form here as evidence that this particular wriggling statue has come close in.

And, the interesting thing is, finally, it appears that in order to get to a point where he thinks he can work without any interference by devices inherited from others which he is not interested in using anymore, it appears that Alix-Tabeling has as an artist enacted a purposeful negative devolution down the chart from Potentials, through Positive-entomes, through wriggle figures, and, then, finally, in his latest work, which I think is in fact his leanest and meanest and the work best suited to develop into something new, to the negative entomes at the bottom of the splat. But is there “room” for him to wriggle in, vertically? I think there is.

Other terms continue to emerge, for example, just to make mention of them for future reference. There was also a show in Brussels on transfusive forms that evoked entities like “geniuses” or lares in Roman art, so, I place geniuses at the entoptic level, a conjure figure would be one; at the glass onion level are the Potentials, then below that you have the entomes; but then at the bottom of the whoosh, the limuli. Another new category, in a show in 2017, is the hypokeimon, which is the theorized essence that remains after all elements and artifacts are gone, an essence, so there is a class of forms that somebody considers evocative of the hypokeimon, another category. This I will place down in the realm of actual REM past nightmare.

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Finally, at bottom, the word worm is showing up a lot in this sort of art discourse. It is apparent that there is a kind of race to the bottom, to represent the body in as primal broken down forms as possible. As a worm form, I picture this as being pressed by a fever or external demon force (see the exhibition, Fever dreams, previous post), from the entome state to a state prior and lower even that that. Beth Hsu is also going here, and in her cultivation of the green slime of this world she has raised the word holometabolys, that is, very early insect forms, in fact, egg, pupa, to imago, the life cycle of (again) insects, with a radically restricted Umwelt (yes, I think all this derives from von Uexhall), and she does the green slime

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And then Collar the pupalike form (see previous post). So at present, I will place these as splat forms that have, by external pressure, been pressed through the membrane of REM dream and hover in the sliver of space where some small consciousness remains, as one dreams, or lives in a dream

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So there we are. A full somatic cosmology of the body that is being torn apart, by psalliction, in the universe of today: theory is, the Euros are feeling it, as their traditional sense of who they are is perhaps being pulled at from outside; while in the US we are still entirely in an aspirational state, with the ego or the demon of the exploitational mind often propping up a semblance of real bodies, but in a binary way, even when we talk about nonbinary, that is our blockage, our demand for immediate social outcome in this

This is a system in the making, at present, in the graph derived from just going through notes on the artists, Titus Kaphar, daphne Ahlers, Rochelle Goldberg, the movie Suspiria (2018), then the work of Nils Alix-Tabeling, and the work of two artists in the Fever dream show, Brook Hsu and Beth Collar, a taxonomy, in a hierarchical treatment of dream formation, takes shape, I have identified SEVEN pre-binary forms of body forms being explored by artists either side of the Atlantic at the moment.


This piece is a companion piece to an entry made about Brook Hsu et al, in Fever dreams; as well as my treatments of Rochelle Goldberg, and others. It also cross-references with my ongoing explorations of forms in horror movies, and with my treatment of likenesses, like doppelgangers and other forms of homoioma, or likenesses, another word (they exist in a mirror space across the nexus, no doubt), in the context of twinfire.

Charline von Heyl and the possibility of mapping agency in abstract painting.

Rev., Jan 7, 2019.

Note: This is a speculative POV piece; all pics from CAd von Heyl file.

In a recent post, I parsed the abstract painting of Charline von Heyl, and decided that the spontaneous outpouring nature of her work meant that she worked in a way that just put her into a hypnagogic-aware state, and then just painted as accurately as possible what she “saw” entoptically (Increasingly, I find that it seems more likely that one can touch upon agency in hypnagogic events). This then would result in her being in that state, and, gradually, over time, finding a variety of possibilities, beginning to map out the entoptic, or at least the Land of Nod in the lightest stage of sleep.

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and so, in my working out of it, this one represented a simple closing of the eyes, and reading something symbolic into the dark flow of entoptic imagery, in the Purkinjee forest, the first two, one dark

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then it kind of lightening up

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then as I have sometimes posited it, more romantically than normal, after weeding your way through you come to a clearing, of sorts, where there is a singular tree, either the Hecate tree as I have found at the edge of town, like in the devonsville Terror (1984), or just the tree on which the Hanged woman will be found, but the idea is, she has, for this image, moved a bit deeper into it, and out into it

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this could be another version of the same thing, come at it from a slightly different angle

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and then that encounter entails a close up element, the Hanged woman, as I have posited in my currently posted use of the term about the movie In a dark place, the hanged woman represents a figuralization of an occlusion in the entoptic in which a reside of blue dots or such now build up into an obstruction, which you then step around, and because there is that step around, I have also (poetically) argued that there is a map of where else to go, on the bottom of her foot. So, this painting, again, as a painting per se, it doesn’t seem to make any sense. It is a mix, I can see the formalists arguing over what it is. I think that all it has to do is strike a certain weight, a heaviness or a lightness, to represent a state of mind one is at, and in that mood alone it serves as a psychopomp to lead you into darker places where things might have to be confronted. The fact that this is a strange combination of an almost facial element, and of a witchy nature, and then there is a double loop of more painterly elements that could be read as a map, this SEEMS to work

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then you come to the Black Bog itself, this is a slightly deeper place, it represents a heavy float of a blue dot horizontally over your entoptic eyesight, as you lie on your side, and if you focus on it, and let it take you down, you can by descending into it, go deeper in. I guess too then the nature of it is that it reflects things, or not. But here the issue would be, why, in a body of work that is going off in other directions, does von heyl just stop and do a simple large gesture wash, and then leave it at that. It is because the thinks of this as a threshold piece, the black bog, it simply represents in this particular body of work that she got there, there it is

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but then the best one here, and the one that set me off, to even make this proposal, is this one

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read as just an abstraction, with a formal interest in varieties of painting, etc. it does all the abstract things I suppose you can make it do, but, for me, it is uncanny, because it does capture all but perfectly, a kind of entoptic event, in hypnagogy, when, that is, you have nodded off, and are, in fact, sleeping, if only lightly, when all the light-on-black entopic effects with no dimension, sudden flip to black on white, and have a scenic dimensionality. This really to me in that context can be read as a map, the black is the path to and the Black Bog, the first scrying pool you come to in hypnagogy. This Bog is, often, surrounded by abstract elements, as, for example, on the grounds of an English country house, then as you gaze into it, it sees things, raises them up, places them on the shore, and if they are ruins of classical objects or the like, they go on the lower shore, the Village of dreams, or, if ramshackle, on the upper, Amityville. That is, your gazing pulls up some objects, then distributes them either side. And so in this one that form in the middle was somehow drawn up from the previous forms, to situate itself as a perfect abstract equivalent to the Village of dreams

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as an abstract painting, per se, it means nothing to me, it is just a chess piece for the modern material-rationalist mind to play with, without agency; but, taken as a psychodynamic painting, and as a hypnagogic-psychopompic painting, its presence, its form, its combination, all speak to heading out into dream, and as such acts as an intercessional, gateway or other sort of intercessional painting. It has, in short, agency.

Then, she delves more deeply into the Village of dreams

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as to this, I had a very strange Morning Fog dream this morning. They always happen between 630 AM wakeup, then falling asleep again til 930, but, all the time, thinking myself awake, but in a light sleep, in the village of dreams. In it, I imagined I was in a weird Oliver Stone movie in a small tented village and every time one character told a story, very vividly, dimensionally curvy, he or she somehow spun around to become the story, or the space to accommodate the story and every one worked their way of telling out by any number of reagent feints or movements. This is purely scenic, for instance

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that is, each time A, a different A, told a story they turned the space around them in a different way, something else, in the way of a haunting, or appearance, or a transport to a different place, happened, and each time there was a downward arrow of reagency to a resulting condition this also involved, as per the dynamics of the Land of Nod, an osculation from vigilogogy to hypnagogy, thus the feeling I have in these things of being always awake, and then “watching” and trying to work out all the combinations, and of course with Presque vue (and it might well be that this variation, this overlapping suturing, is the very dynamic that causes Presque vue). And then, when I was up, my experience in “a perfect example of the Village of dreams encountered in a Morning Fog, I was in a state of splat sleep drunkenness, and in that state was thinking of how my own life, as it gets smaller, and “spirals down” into inactivity, is also being pulled on by these reagent forces of perhaps a negative sort, ie side effects (this a graph of the effects of a med re AMI, on dreaming).

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So, in that regard, in addition to being a place loosely constructed of imaginings pulled up out of the Black Bog, in the Purkinjee woods, the Village of dreams might also be a place to collect oneself, to pull together by rationalization some elements of what has been going on, to work on them making sense, so here above we have the black tears motif that I like so much, and then some sort of glass onion heraldry bit, and then there is even, in my mind, a hint at moving to the glass onion, more symbols. I also associate this movement as red, so I place that there, this is an entoptic Land of Nod Village of dreams psychopomp augury work of art, bespeaking a state of psychological wariness in approaching deeper truths.

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I also want to place in the Village of dreams, a figure, who can offer you some help along the way, especially with regard to avoiding demons. Related to psychopomps, the thing about Bird Box (Netflix) that I liked was that Surgat, a  very specific demon, was mentioned

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the sigil of surgat

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Bird Box (Netflix)

sep 16then related it to trump demonization news art

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the sigil like play with the mic booms

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with possible related sigils, one

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there are, in fact, some paintings by von Heyl that have a sort of sigil demon look, as well, so, to be continued.

And, then, as I do, in post-related reagent swings around issues that I address, I made a locale for one painting up but with, I think, validity in the system: I imagined that at the end of the Village of dreams is the beginning of the Ambient desert, and from there you can see the Black Pyramid, way at the end, it possibly even being what you can see of the Sentient, from this point, way off in extrapsychic space

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which I place roughly here (note: since I have posited the Black Out space, the Black House, and the Grindhouse, as other places in Ambient mental space).

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So, is this valid? well, in a show last fall in Berlin, a theory of vitalistic economy painting, was the premise, as such.

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the text

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And von Heyl was in there, along with others I admire, Kersten Bratsch

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and the von Heyl

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for their features of that sort. The curator left it at a formalist level, though what she was describing was an agentic relation between the viewer and the artist, but not differentiating cult from others, as I would

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but, then, for me, she just sets up a generic relation, which could be construed as simply asking for more Stendhal syndrome, and feeling, and contextualization in content, when what is really required is the coming alive of an actual agentic solicitation of particular meaning, or agency, as there is no such thing as “general“ agency, except as something being talked about; there is only, in reality, specific ones, apparent in dynamic formulations, but I have separated off into four, so I would posit that this vitalistic response occurs in four different ways, which she refrained from making

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a vitalist response to painting cannot be made by simple appearance of agency, by emotion; it cannot be made from a premise residing in the zone of brackets, that is, the rationalizations with which we have encumbered art for the last 200 years, the cult of the artist is not an agency, but a rationalization of a cult, cultism in the bad, exploitational sense, a false god; no, a vitalist response is a response to the painting alone and itself as an acheiorpoetoi with numinous power to cause this coming alive, this epiphany, it, that is, represents, the only thing that it represents, the LIFE FORCE, the ELAN, as Platt would have it, and this can only occur in an apotropaic, intercessional, votive OR cult posture, in front of which a painting from any node, one, in activated agency, responds to the art’s aliveness, its ability to speak, its mysterious nature in terms of production, and then as a thing that actually feeds the loop of involving projections one has it, in relational space, operate in. THIS is the answer, she got partway there.

At present, I simply pose this idea, I have no idea if it works, but at least it opens a door to a post-zombie formalism reading of abstract painting, going beyond the forensic by finding the actual agency in art, or art that is imbued with authentic agency.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019) and the ambient nightmare. Part 2.

Please see Part 1, previous post; caution with some images as it was necessary to compare with, see previous post, The Helter Skelter Murders (1971) treatment of the killings.

In The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019), there is one more transition, before we get to her nightmare recreation. The movie crawls through the house, we get the American flag again, almost to serve as a relay point, to carry the stress created by him previously, into the house again.

a 0 75then the camera moves oddly over the teddy bear in the nursery that Sharon is none too happy about Abigail having done it all for her, the teddy bear takes on the typical dead Eyes of the World trope.

a 0 76we pass by the stereo deck in the office, clearly meant to be, as a vertical black thing, an object related to the ka-bala.

a 0 77then Sharon is just a sweaty mess, not able to sleep at all, cursing Roman for not coming home with her, full of insomniac anxiety

a 0 78she then makes a gown prowl, without the gown, we have a screen wipe of a black figure moving around, the inference being that the creepy crawlers, known for messing with people for purely psychological reasons, are in the house.

a 0 80then as she tries to cool off her headache, another figure, supposed to scare us

a 0 81and this whole business culminates with the dog running away (the dog oddly named dr. Saperstein, the doctor in Rosemary’s Baby). Thus, there is a strong suggestion of insomnia, leading to a feeling of being haunted. In hypnagogy, this all comes under the aegis of the High Light.

The next night, under the low full moon, all orange, she goes to sleep

a 0 82this is the High Light, in a formation of dream. The High Light shines on after a blue dot high in the head as you fall into light sleep dissolves into a sleep image. But it remains to as if stay turned on to always in that dream pull you up to wakefulness. It is as if you are unable to get to any really deep sleep, because the high light is on, and it keeps part of you awake.

a 0 83

as I see it, in the dreamwork of the movie, given the array of hauntings going on, Sharon is in a highly agitated, nervous state, lower right; this means that the High Life, above, does, indeed, keep shining down onto and into her dreams, making for a fitful sleep; but, she is prone in this state to nightmare, so there is a splat, then a bounce out, this awakens the Black out zone, Chthon; from that, this black out has a power I have not ascribed to it previously to generate from it its own counterreality, but which is parasitic, or composite, like the Cthulhu Ouija board, it reaches it and ‘strangles” the life force, then pulls it into an adjunct space, its eight ball blocks out, as in an eclipse, the High Light, then there is a whoosh, and an ambient spin, just as in the device of the Ouija board, and the nightmare plays out in that form. It is a demon, in hypnagogy, at present I can only call him Eight Ball. This is the Eight Ball formation, derived from a splat bounce out to a Black out, coming back in. It is a black out dream impersonating a nightmare, or a reality, it is a dream that, as we see it, seems like reality, we cant tell. And what that means for us is, we cant tell if it is movie, or dream; if she is awake, or asleep; thinking of things, or dreaming of things; it is in between, so we are left to be fooled. As a result, a new scene starts, it feels like this is it, the killing. We see Abigail sitting on her bed, in the iconic spot, giving the toodle-oo

a 0 84Woytek is also in position, as he was, at the beginning of the killings, on the couch, by the American flag (which was not there yet).

a 0 85So everyone is in position, as recorded historically, but, then, Sharon is not. She is not sitting on her bed talking with Jay, she is fast asleep at this point, only then to be awakened.

a 0 86but, for that, there is a fear that something, again, is going on in the house

a 0 87once again, the camera pans through over the teddy bear,

a 0 88and, just as Abigail having presumed to decorate it all, when it looks like Sharon wanted to do it, so here is where the hand at the window appears, this is the weak spot, where the criminals get in.

a 0 89Since, if you know the sequence, you also know this is not the sequence, then you look for other signs in other scenes playing out the scenario, to see if there is something wrong which would indicate that this is Sharon dreaming it all. The fact that the object next to Abigail’s bed is a black globe, echoing on the black eight ball of the Ka-bala game, would certainly relate, making of this but another spin of her paranoia.

a 0 90Before we get into it, there is one thing, having mentioned it, that seems to have some sort of meaning. Again, a teddy bear is a toy, and, as such, in a horror movie, usually means the dead eyes of the world trope, that is, its dead eyes communicate the fact that the world does not care about you. But it also represents the second person with Sharon, her baby, who is, at this point, pretty much ready to come out. But, then, there is another possible, but highly intertextual meaning. In a reading of The Shining this summer, Agers argued that the bear symbol in the movie represents danny in a state of being sexually abused by his father. That is, it is a malevolent figure, of a force out of control in the house. The teddy bear, then, could, on this level, simply represent in figurative form all of Sharon’s angst on behalf of her comfort and her baby. But, then, there is an even more intertextual possibility. It is spooky that Sharon did a shoot with a teddy bear, the bear, of course, allows her to cover herself, so that she is not bare to the viewer, but, it is odd, it signifies a child, a baby,

a 0 91Making this whole shoot, more so when the teddy bear serves to cover up her private area, where a child will come from, and is positioned as maybe a baby would be, if she was sitting on the ground, holding it. Though I am making no claim, it is odd, it might well be that the art direction people chose to represent Sharon’s anxiety over her baby by a teddy bear, to signify the fact that the story is haunted at a whole other level in that a baby was also killed, that is, in truth, six people were killed at Cielo drive.

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But, then, we get into it, around the side of it, ambiently doing a gown prowl, Sharon searches for a noise, the music

a 0 93there she sees the figure of the Eight Ball, blocking out the High Light, but having the same effect

a 0 94immediately, she is closed in on, with the classic trope of the face behind, the someone is right behind me, isn’t she, meaning you are in it, a particular kind of nightmare. We still maybe think she is only having a gown prowl

a 0 95but now they lead her in, and it is underway, just as it has been worked out in reality. However, there is a strange detail, that picture

a 0 96I have not yet looked closely at the art in the main room in 10050 Cielo drive, most of the time I have only seen this picture, as shown earlier

a 0 97but here there is a sampler of sorts, which riffs on traditional household blessings, this one says god bless this pad as opposed to god bless this house. The odd thing here is that, with the venetian blinds, and that strange object, this was, in fact, the picture device that was in the room when Jesse James was shot. This might then speak to a general idea that this is another famous killing in American life, and indicate by this ‘off’detail that this is not reality but Sharon dreaming it, her dreamwork imagination of course working from its store of knowledge, only.

a 0 98but, now, it is it, the killings

a 0 99the thing about this showing of it, if I could shot by shot compare it to other renditions, it is all closeup oriented, and focused on the stabs, that is, the propulsion of the stabbing, up to down, almost as if to 3d the stabs toward us, this is Tex taking out Jay.

a 0 100Jay is then shown all crumpled the first to go.

a 0 101the movie, like in HSM in 1971, does go under the line of the couch, to the horror happening on the floors, but, it happens under the lamp, which usually indicates intimate space, as opposed to outside the lamp, when that space is broken, this might be another clue that we are looking at it from the POV of inside of Sharon’s dreaming mind.

a 0 102Then there is another simple spin, one

a 0 103two

a 0 104three, as Woytek tries to get out

a 0 105Then, in a far shot breakaway, Abigail runs, Sharon still on the couch, she said, run

a 0 106this is also seen by the killers, but under the lamp

a 0 107there we get a very in your face Susan killing, saying to Sharon she has no mercy, another of the famous lines, it too is a simple squeeze in close up

a 0 109two

a 0 110then, out on the lawn, Abigail gets it from Pat, one, two, down

a 0 112double down, again, simple binary depiction, as if as a maledicta balloon to set up some space, for each victim to say their famous line, that is, informed by acoustics, things heard.

a 0 114then the final whoosh Sharon pressed down on, on the couch, splitting between stars of knocked on the headness, and spatters of red stripe blood, she was not in real life here, the flag was not here, so this speaks to Sharon mainly thinking about her. This is the splat.

a 0 115then she pops up, it was all a nightmare, she is all sweaty, she is awake

a 0 116here is the wake up stab, the nightmare moment

a 0 117and the bounce out, all sweaty (signifying she is awake)

a 0 118so, it was a nightmare! The whole Manson killings of Tate et al is recapped as a prophetic, clairvoyant, premonition nightmare, inside the head of Sharon Tate, it is haunting.

a 0 119thus the inside of her head was the eight ball, represented by the lamp; each killing was depicted in a simple spin, as per the limbs of the monster in the Ouija, and of course the form of the whoosh, it is a series of as if glitches or skips of the whoosh, happening four times, then going back up; then there is at least one spin, Abigail, and that fills it out. It is consistent with what could go on in her haunted head is she is having an Eight Ball formation nightmare-form dream constantly upset by insomniac vibes, to make her miserable, to haunt her. That is, I think the dream as shown is consistent with the state of hypnagogy she was in.

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but, now, how then does it compare to other renderings of the killings? here in the very poor House of Manson (2016), Jay and Sharon are interrupted in a tableaux

a 0 121Abigail is also in a tableaux, close-up, all posing, again the famous toodle oo

a 0 122then it is all close up blurs, Abigail going

a 0 123close up binary-stagey fighting

a 0 124then a breakaway, an emphasis on Abigail running, even with her thigh gap expose

a 0 125we see her actually get run down

a 0 126Then a close up of her famous comment

a 0 127just as in the entirely cursory rendering of the killings in Season Six episode second from last in American horror Story, which is contemptibly exploitational, contemporary renderings of the killings seem to jettison the layout or the sequence, to just rush on to the climactic kill shot, a mano a mano shot, in close-up, as if in the glass onion symbolic level of dreaming, but, as if, almost to get it over with, and not be seen. For that, when we see here that this is a nightmare, and not the real killings, even though, in history, it is the real killings, this may or may not be a critique of the way that bloodthirstiness has rendered the scene in as it were foreshortening in time until we only focus on the stab and the blood, but it is also a bit more logistical than normal, it is a not bad rendering, even though it is, in fact, entirely parenthicated in its formality by the limits of the inside of Sharon’s head, so it is hanging eight ball, then whooshes, then a few wide spins, then done.

At first I was like, are you kidding? But, then, the movie surprised me, a moment of cinema, once again, in a rendering. As Sharon wakes, and screams for help needing a hug, or whatever

a 0 119we see Susan, presumably still in the dream, but here playing on the opposite side of her role earlier as the psychopomp who abducted Sharon into the scene, now she is in the aftermath saying goodbye to her, but still in a “witchy” way, she is painting the letters PIG in blood; but, oddly, the effect which to me acts as the core symbol of where the movie is, in terms of the locale of its hauntings, the ambient haunting, on the window of her bedroom, not the front door. What this means is this is a cinematic rendering of the last cobwebs of dream having been brought up by Sharon, still there, still trying to be dispersed

a 0 129and then it is as if she, as Sharon wakes up, dissolves into the letters, into the blood, Susan then runs to the background, we see them as blurs, leaving, it is over, the dream is dispersing, and, nice detail, indicating that in this version these letters were construed as the last cobwebs of dream that hung over in Sharon’s mind as she woke up, there is a cord on the right, also in red, which kind of pulls in on the letters, to imprint in Sharon, this is very nicely done indeed.

a 0 131but then on the night of the actual terror, the movie rewrites through the entire actual murder sequence, to turn it around in each case, to let one of them live, so Sharon runs down to get help from Steven, so as a result of that, backing up away from Tex, Steven does not die in that spot in the car, as he did in real life.

a 0 132then the girls have trouble getting in the windows

a 0 133they do, the scene begins to coalesce into what really happened, Sharon is brought to the couch, it is on, but then

a 0 134Abigail, as she was separated off, in Sharon’s dream, she is up in the crawlspace, in a counter position in the imagination to where she was in life

a 0 135she gets a knife to Sharon so Sharon can take out Tex, yep

a 0 136she drops on Susan, to take her out

a 0 137Pat gets it in the bloody bathtub by Woytek

a 0 138Then Tex gets it in the trailer as noted, in each case, the compressed vertiginous rendering of the killing in Sharon’s nightmare, reversed in form, to push the other way.

a 0 140so then we find out what the movie meant, when it posted at the beginning, this quote from Poe

a 0 141As they are there, but, now, we realize, having talked of reincarnation, or rewriting one’s histories, or living one’s histories over, changing the story, they seem to walk away.

a 0 142but it turns out they are ghosts of another telling, looking over the morning after of the telling of history in which they really were killed, this actually quite touching

a 0 143but structurally what it means is that, this trick ending is the third splat and leap, then, surprise, of the movie, so that the movie is not only Sharon’s haunting, but, then, there is a wide ambient haunting further out from even the hills, where the spirit of Sharon dreams another version, which is this movie, and that is the truth shot of the movie, the fact that, it happened, but maybe in some other realm, now, it didn’t. They then in a nice shot acknowledging they are just ghosts watching history.

a 0 144this is much more art than one had reason to expect in a movie like this, it kind of makes it, of course, a horror movie with a strangely happy, even philosophical ending, but its dream structure is solidly built, it results in a number of clever weaving ins of haunting forces, it develops in response to that a strange state in Sharon’s upset head, symbolized by a Ouija board, which is an excellent property, that she had a High Light style Nightmare but one in which because she was in a strange dream state in the movie, as being dreamt by the ambient spirit, it is an Eight Ball formation, her in black out, the killings as whooshes, each one a nightmare, repeated, as if in a skip of a record, and from that the killings as were were a nightmare in her head, then the killings as reimagined, the second nightmare, when they were all sleepwalking, and then the third leap happens at the end, when she ends up as a really awake presiding ghostly spirit who can look down through time in ophthchthony to the truth of events in history, by way by the telling one does in a way live on forever. For all of this, I rather liked this movie.