Saturday, April 19, 2003

“A bridge between imagination and reality must be built.”

Raoul Vaneigem

“To change life we must first change space.”

Henri Lefebvre

mental asylum

I was born here in 1962. My mum was rushed to this place because there were no beds left in Glasgow. She claims to remember hearing the lunatics howl beyond the windows. Was I born on a full moon then? Were the patients/inmates allowed to bathe in the moonlight? Did the liquid cosh move into overdrive on these nights? Can all of this have had some sort of effect on the course of my life?
All I know is that I was drawn to this place, had to see it. Subsequently I have been told that when the hospital was closed and the patients moved into the ‘community’, some few of these made their way back to the site, living rough in some tumbledown cottages there. I suppose it was all they knew, and far better than some grim half-way house on the outskirts of Glasgow.
Believe Everything
Believe Nothing

“The strata of the earth is a jumbled museum. Embeded in the sediment is a text that contains limits and boundaries which evade the rational order, and social structures which confine art. In order to read the rocks we must become conscious of geologic time, and the layers of prehistoric material that is entombed in the earths crust. When one scans the ruined sites of prehistory one sees a heap of wrecked maps...”

Robert Smithson. ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects 1968’.

“We’ve chosen the trajectory as a form of expression which accentuates a place by physically tracing a line through it. The act of traversal, an instrument of phenomenological knowledge and symbolic interpretation, is a form of psychogeographical reading of it comparable to the ‘walkabout’ of the australian aboriginies.”

Francesco Careri. ‘Walkscapes: walking as an aesthetic practice.’

“Not to find ones way in the city may well be interesting and banal. It requires ignorance - nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city - as one loses oneself in a forest - that calls for quite a different schooling. Then, signboards and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest, like the startling call of a bittern in the distance.”

Walter Benjamin. ‘One-Way Street.’

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni*

Much of the work I am doing right now is heavily influenced by my dissertation. In which I attempted to explore the connections between radical and utopian political movements in the 2oth century and millenarian religious fervour during the middle ages. I’d become aware that belief was the common denominator here. Religious and political fervour were one and the same, and the secular and rational veneer of leftist groups was wafer thin.
The emphasis within both camps was on a radical transformation of the self, through the apprehension of another reality, adjacent to this one.
Groups such as the Dadaist’s, the Surrealists and the Situationists; theoreticians and artists like Walter Benjamin, Robert Smithson, Michel Foucault and Michel De Certeau were delineating a territory where space (and time) had become malleable and ‘subjective’. Open to individual interpretation.
This ‘space’ is currently being explored by a number of groups. Such as Stalker in Italy, Social Fiction in Holland and the Equi-Phallic Alliance in England, to name a few.
My contribution to this was to form the aforementioned ‘A Company of Vagabonds’ as a basis on which to construct my own mythopoeic deambulation.
(a surrealist term meaning an ‘exploration between waking life and dream life.’)

As ‘convenor’ of the outing, I handed round the sacrament. Everyone partook, and after around fifteen minutes the landscape appeared to subtly shift. The spirit of Old Cernunnos led us to a nearby Fairy Pool, where we experienced (...) a cunning man broke down the door of the old century, and we were summarily removed from the constraints of aristotelian logic. Moving ‘widdershins’ through the gap in the stones, we thereby ensured our continued ability to produce children.
A pataphysical dwam descended on the company, who then decided to make their way to the birthplace of the ‘convenor’, Lennox Castle Asylum for Mental Defectives (as was). After a rough and tumble derive amongst the heathery expanse of the Craigmaddie Muir, and an interminable forestry commision plantation, we located this imposing ruin.
We came upon it via a sunken roadway, which rendered it all the more impressive. Gaining entrance through a window, led us into a room tiled entirely in institutional green. It seemed likely that bad things had once happened in this place. Things concerning electricity, industrial-strength tranquillisers and coercion.

(1) A sense of the _meta-rational_ ("metanoia"), ways to go beyond laminated thinking into smooth (or nomadic or "chaotic") thinking & perception; (2) an actual definition of self-realized or liberated consciousness, a positive description of its structure, & techniques for approaching it; (3) a coherent archetypal view of epistemology--that is, a way of knowing (about history, for example) that utilizes hermeneutic phenomenology to uncover patterns of _meaning_ (something like the Surrealists' "Paranoia Criticism"); (4) a teaching on sexuality that assigns value to pleasure rather than self-denial, not only for its own sake but as a vehicle of enhanced awareness or "liberation". (italics are mine)
What does all that _ mean_ ? Everything is contingent. We’re either robots , or we make it up as we go along. Or rather, we have the ability to construct our _own_ reality tunnels.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?