member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ashes and Snow: Gregory Colbert

"This collection of images and artefacts from around the world expresses a timeless realm in which animals interact and coexist with humankind."

Please go and visit the page, which is a wondrous visual experience, a dream of such a world of coexistence made true. The project includes not only photos, but letters, films which are narrated with fragments from those letters, and art installations as well. The collection originally traveled the world in a Nomadic Museum, which was built specifically for these works and evolved as the show moved from city to city. Wikipedia declares it the most attended exhibit by a living artist yet.
Most importantly, these images are not tampered with! These relationships between humans and animals are occurring!

From Gregory Colbert's page:
"Codex refers to one of the greatest contributions that Roman culture made to the world in the first century: manuscripts in the form of books as we now know them. In medieval times, bestiaries collected stories providing physical and allegorical descriptions of real or imaginary animals along with an interpretation of the moral significance each animal was thought to embody.
Codex Ashes and Snow evokes these traditions in what amounts to a poem, a field study, an illustrated collection of nature's masterpieces and a compilation of ancient artefacts and letters.
This bestiary of species [you can "flip through" 24 such marvelous books on the site], both actual [photos] and mythical [a fictional account of a year of a man's travels, told through daily letters to his wife], is made from meticulously restored 17th-century vellum bindings and handmade pages of photographic artworks by Gregory Colbert, original manuscripts, ancient maps and letters."

He prints his images on Japanese washi paper.

Ashes and Snow - Lisa Gerrard - Patrick Cassidy and Lawrence Fishbourne

Sunday, March 29, 2009

joanna chrobak

From joanna chrobak

In the image above, the birds seem to float, more like fish; the ornate and formal clothing stops short of covering the women's breasts and the headpieces are otherwordly, almost futuristic. Below, clothing begins but fades out, or the cloth disappears to nowhere; the expressions of the women are unfocused, or focused somewhere else. Joanna Chrobak's paintings hover on a line between dream and religious expression, or rather personal myth (dream) and public myth (religion).

From joanna chrobak

From joanna chrobak

Here, two beings that could be women or classical statues lack arms but continue to use their hands.

From joanna chrobak

From joanna chrobak

Note how the horse is not complete, though his carpet adornment is, how the woman's hair floats, how she holds the wine glass. In the background, a horse with a woman's head, regally topped, gazes into the opposite distance...

From joanna chrobak

… "The [above] painting expresses my emotions when I am listening to the musical piece called Good Night. To me, especially its first two movements sound like the night, night and silence with the time flowing through it. Figure of the woman connected with the black veil of the night is a symbol often found in iconography. She holds Asfodel in her hand, a flower symbolizing the dying. Asfodel, otherwise is the Golden-Hair flower, known in Antiquity as the plant which grew over the Elysian Fields, a place where among those flowers, the deceased took walks"--Joanna Chrobak
(Inspired by music of Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki "Good Night" Opus 63, 1990)

Good Night: III. Lento - largo: dolcissimo - cantabilissimo - Henryk Gorecki

From joanna chrobak

This one is St. Sebastian, who was shot full of arrows and left for dead when it was discovered by his fellow soldiers that he was a Christian (in the 200s). He did not die, and was nursed back to life by the ones who found him. He was credited with giving a blind girl sight and a mute girl her voice.
Speaking of religion...her style of painting seems to borrow from the ancient iconography: the odd angle of the hands, or the completely sideways tilt of the head (for example of the angel); the round of the bellies; the fingers posed in (though here indirect) blessing. Except that in her paintings, many of the bellies shown are those of women.

From joanna chrobak

Below is a video put together by Alcyna of YouTube of some others of this painter's beautiful work:

And her newest work to date:

From joanna chrobak

Please note that all images are links, and can be followed to their original size.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Margo Selski

bizarre and fascinating, and in keeping, i think, with all the themes here...

once again, art odyssey made my post easy, since i was too lazy to write...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

To combine the physical flexibility with the mental flexibility, to experience an intimate magic, go to the Cirque du Soleil. There is nothing like it for mystery and inspiration. They create their shows from the ground up, the story, the music, the dance, the costumes, the acrobatics and trapeze, the clowns, all are put together just for the show. They have phenomenal singers and musicians. Everything is shown to you under a tent, no huge arena where you end up watching the whole thing on video anyway.
It is a complete experience, and these videos are just a small taste, nothing like being surrounded by the sound and the costumes, nothing like the trapeze artists soaring above you and the flame's dance of brightness and shadow across the crowd and in your eyes.
Still, they are amazing videos.

Here is the hula hoop act, by the amazingly flexible Elena Lev:

and her father's high bar act:

Both are from the show Alegria.

Then there is the show Quidam,a show about:
"The nameless passerby,the person living lost amidst the crowd in an all-too-anonymous society. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming, going, living in our anonymous society. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all. This is the "quidam" that Cirque du Soleil is celebrating.

A young girl fumes; she has already seen everything there is to see, and her world has lost all meaning. Her anger shatters her little world, and she finds herself in the universe of Quidam. She is joined by a joyful companion as well as another character, more mysterious, who will attempt to seduce her with the marvelous, the unsettling, and the terrifying."

Here is the opening of the show "Quidam," plus the German Wheel Act:

From their show "Corteo":

and Varekai:

Friday, March 20, 2009


Finally, a more complete collection of Maggie Taylor's photography which helped inspire this site (from Athina on imeem):

and also Abelardo Morell's (zoe on imeem):


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Consensual "Reality"

Charles Tart, a professor of psychology at the Davis campus of the university of California "found two graduate students, Anne and Bill, who could go into deep trance and were also skilled hypnotists in their own right. He had Anne hypnotize Bill and after he was hypnotized, he had Bill hypnotize her in return. Tart's reasoning was that the already powerful rapport that exists between hypnotist and subject would be strengthened by using this unusual procedure.

He was right. When they opened their eyes in this mutually hypnotized state everything looked gray. However, the grayness quickly gave way to vivid colors and glowing lights, and in a few moments they found themselves on a beach of unearthly beauty. The sand sparkles like diamonds, the sea was filled with enormous frothing bubbles and glistened like champagne, and the shoreline was dotted with translucent crystalline rocks pulsing with internal light. Although Tart could not see what Anne and Bill were seeing, from the way they were talking, he quickly realized they were experiencing the same hallucinated reality.

Of course, this was immediately obvious to Anne and Bill and they set about to explore their newfound world, swimming in the ocean and studying the glowing crystalline rocks. Unfortunately for Tart they also stopped talking, or at least they stopped talking from Tart's perspective. When he questioned them about their silence they told him that in their shared dreamworld they were talking, a phenomenon Tart feels involved some kind of paranormal communication between the two.

In session after session Anne and Bill continued to construct various realities, and all were as real, available to the five senses, and dimensionally realized, as anything they experienced in their normal waking state. In fact, Tart resolved that the worlds Anne and Bill visited were actually more real than the pale, lunar version of reality with which most of us must be content. As he states, after 'they had been talking about their experiences to each other for some time, and found they had been discussing details of the experiences they had shared for which there were no verbal stimuli on the tapes, they felt they must have actually been in the nonworldly locales they had experienced.

Anne and Bill's ocean world is the perfect example of a holographic reality-- a three-dimensional construct created out of interconnectedness, sustained by the flow of consciousness, and ultimately as plastic as the thought processes that engendered it. "

--pp 143-44 The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot

A visual aid:
Embroidering the Earth's Mantle, Remedios Varo

A view of the convent student's life (as she was, in fact, a convent student)...

Embroidering the Earth's Mantel

--and rebellion...
My apologies for this photo, taken from the computer's "eye," but here is a close-up of the shadow just visible underneath the left-hand slit, through which the world's mantel, which the girls embroider but cannot take part in, falls:


Here, Varo and her lover abscond: Varo has "used this most genteel of domestic handicrafts to create her own hoped-for escape. Unlike Rapunzel and the Lady of Shalott, Varo's young heroine imprisoned in the tower is not merely a metaphor for confinement, but also an agent of her own liberation." --p21, Janet Kaplan, Unexpected Journeys

So, she has taken the reality accepted by others, the reality she was born into, and created something else of it-- using the tools that "reality" gave her, she escaped into a dream, which now (in the painting) exists. There is physical evidence. Soon, as the couple descends, all will see them, and they will become part of the accepted reality.

She spent much of her life in escape attempts, and that fact is shown in her paintings time after time. Her first escape:

was with Gerardo Lizarraga, whom she married briefly, thus escaping the socially confining role of "daughter" and freeing herself to live away from home, where she could act more freely. Her family supported her artistic endeavors, allowing her to go to art school, and in fact she had learned to draw by endlessly copying her father's engineering drafts as a child, but still she felt the weight of disapproval from society as a whole and especially from her older brother. She was escaping academic art to join political artists and to move on to the bohemian artist's life; she was escaping the confining and disapproving gaze to which she was wholly subject as a "minor" (unmarried):


(entitled: Rupture-- she breaks with her old life and begins anew.)
Though the marriage didn't last long, she and Lizarraga remained friends to the end of her life, and were always near each other. This painting, "Huyendo," shows not only the idea of escape but also a visual theme that would be repeated often throughout her works, that of self-propelled beings, whose capes act as sails, umbrellas as ships; often their coats will open slightly to reveal that their feet are wheels, or their mustaches will serve as handlebars, steering the curve of their beards. Varo also was forced in her life to flee Franco's Spain, and then the Nazis in France, and she settled, finally, in Mexico, where her particular style became fully developed.
Another major theme was the magical nature of connection and creation. Varo was extremely interested in the occult, alchemy, and mysticism, and it showed in the magic potions, test tubes, and beakers scattered throughout her paintings. Her characters often had the ability to pull music from the air or the light, or by careful placement of important objects (flowers, leaves, mathematical formulas, rocks) :

(again, I apologize, another "computer eye" photo)
Remedios Varo

as well as to create life (here, "a scientist-artist in the persona of Wisdom-- the owl--sits at a desk drawing a bird. Using primary colors distilled from the atmosphere, she draws with a pen that is connected through a violin to her heart. Moonlight--the domain of both owl and woman--, captured and magnified through a triangular lens, illuminates the drawing, stimulating the drawn birds to come to life and take flight out a window" 181 Janet Kaplan):

because (and this brings us back to the quoted hypnosis) all things and all beings were mysteriously interconnected.
The artist's task was to find and emphasize those connections, to bring them to their highest point of power, thus escaping the seeming rigidity of forms by discovering their true potential for metamorphosis, for transcendence. Magic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mike Worrall

Born 1942 in Matlock Derbyshire, UK, he now lives with his family in Australia.

A mostly self-taught surrealist painter, he has also worked in film. The set of Alien 3, for example, had the advantage of his bizarrely beautiful talent, and Roman Polanski got the idea to film Macbeth from one of his paintings. I was absolutely struck by the magic and mystery of his paintings...

"The Looking-Glass Room"

Many of his works, for example this one:

and this one:

have the atmosphere, color, and vivid dream-like-escapades quality of "Glass Books of the Dream Eaters," the fantastic novel of detection and adventure by Gordon Dahlquist.

Manual Of Detection: by Jedediah Berry

This book is perfect. The character that guides us (named Unwin) is a clerk, suddenly promoted to the level of detective and feeling lost, drowning, completely out of his element. He has no wish to be a detective and tries very hard to return to his position as clerk, where he has worked to become quite highly appreciated. However, in order to return to his clerkness, he must find the missing detective for whom he clerks. The further we delve into the case that forces him to continue in his promoted status, the more things become like a dream. And, in fact, it is in a dream that he meets with his missing detective, who tries to give him clues from his own bathtub. This scene is important, and will repeat later in the novel:

In this dream he had risen from bed and gone to take a bath, only to find the bathtub occupied by a stranger, naked except for his hat, reclining in a thick heap of soap bubbles. The bubbles were stained gray around his chest by the ashes from his cigar. His flesh was gray, too, like smudged newsprint, and a bulky gray coat was draped over the shower curtain. Only the ember of the stranger's cigar possessed color, and it burned so hot it made the steam above the tub glow red.
Unwin stood in the doorway, a fresh towel over his arm, his robe cinched tight around his waist. Why, he wondered, would someone go through all the trouble of breaking in to his apartment, just to get caught taking a bath?
The stranger said nothing. He lifted one foot out of the water and scrubbed it with a long-handled brush. When he was done, he soaped the bristles, slowly working the suds into a lather. Then he scrubbed the other foot.
Unwin bent down for a better look at the face under the hat brim and saw the heavy, unshaven jaw he knew only from newspaper photographs. It was the Agency operative whose case files were his particular responsibility.
“Detective Sivart,” Unwin said, “what are you doing in my bathtub?”


The novel follows the logic of a dream, which is to say that each thing that happens follows, makes sense, is logical, but not in any of the ways you would have expected, and only within an environment that has the vivid, perfect oddness of an almost-lucid dream. And that is what the novel is, it's a mixture of hard-boiled detective fiction and lucid dreaming. And then you, the reader, arrive at chapter 13. Chapter 13 is a jewel, and it makes everything that came before it more perfect. At the beginning of that chapter, there is described a liminal space, thus following from my usual blog entries, so I will quote it here. The chapter is titled “On Cryptography:”

A distance of perhaps fifty paces separated him from the chairs, one pink, the other pale green. Unwin felt drawn to the warmth of the electric light, to the languid music playing there, to the voice that could only have been Miss Greenwood's. It looked to him as though a cozy parlor had been set down in the middle of a cavern. He went toward it, feeling alone and insubstantial. He could not see his arms or his legs, could not see his own shoes. All he could see were the chairs, the lamp, and the phonograph. All he could hear was the music.
The floor was flat and smooth. A floor like that should have set his shoes squeaking, but they were muffled—by the darkness itself, Unwin thought. He kept his mouth shut tight. He did not want to let any of the darkness in.
He stopped at the edge of the blue rug and stood very still. Here was a boundary between worlds. In the one were chairs, and music, and light. In the other there were none of these things, nor even the words for chair, or music, or light.

The book has everything: creepy, shadowy criminals straight from an abandoned carnival, mesmerizing beauties, treachery, deceit, love, a haunting melody, and a fine mist of rain over it all. Finishing it is waking up from a dream and wishing you could dive back in.
Go and read it now!

From Blogger Pictures

Mia Araujo "Sleepwalker's Serenade"