Hidden Panthers, Oh My!

The jungle in shamanic practice is a dreamtime filled with plant and animal spirits, as well as ancestors, guides, demons, protectors. Here are some Rorschach panther totem visions.


One More Batch of Forest Goddess Glitches

These particular glitch effects harken back to the 1980's when I was using analog video synthesis and processing equipment at the Experimental Television Center in Oswego, NY. The short "takes" remind me that I have stacks of 3/4", Beta, Hi8 and DV video tapes (many from those days as an artist in residence at the ETC studio) on the shelf that need to be digitized. Fragments. Fluxus. Zen.

Glitch Glitch Glitch

Here are a number of explorations reprocessing a Forest Goddess image with successive glitch filters and processes.

Forest Goddess Glitch Animation Tests

While obscuring reality of the Goddess's spirit realm literally and metaphorically thru a screen of shifting leaves, I wanted to continue with my glitch investigations. Glitching data to create a noisy transmission channel seems appropriate to me for someone working in a digital art medium. The noise obscures a clear vision of the world represented. Much like our inculcated cultural mindset makes it so difficult for each one of us to release the 'signal noise' of expectations, judgements, memes, and so forth. Meditation and shamanic practice provide pathways beyond the inherent limitations of our minds. How else can we move toward what Terrance McKenna called the 'felt nature of direct experience?'

IF you are interested, here is the original glitch test that I created for this Forest Goddess. See more at this previous posting.

Forest Goddess Animation Tests

Last year I started to play around with animation of the obscuring leaves which hide the goddess,  (Based upon one image from the Forest Goddess 03 series below). 

Forest Goddess 03


Hidden Nature

After working on the Forest Goddess series, I began to think about visibility / invisibility and it occurred to me that the jungle environment could provide another impenetrable screen, helping to conceal hidden things not quite obvious, dream-like, perhaps secret. And of course, the jungle is a realm of shamanic practice - the realm of ancestors, plant and animal spirits, ayahuasca visions.

I set about creating a leaf 'screen' based upon iconic jungle foliage. I wanted to make this leaf pattern repeating so I could tile a number of such blocks together into a larger  panoramic aspect ratio. In this process, the adjacent and overlapping leaves began to form symmetrical totemic / figurative forms. The impact was similar to Rorschach inkblots.

If you look carefully (in the enlarged images) you may begin to resolve images of figures and animals concealed in the jungle.

Jungle Panorama 01

Jungle Panorama 02
Like any Rorschach image, your interpretation of what you see represents a shifting understanding / vision based upon a mix of cultural indoctrination, personal dreams, phobias, emotions, etc. 

As a viewer embodying a more traditional 20th Century Western mindset, the jungle is dark, all-encompassing, unknown, unspeakable: it is the "Heart of Darkness" to be avoided, symbolizing a potentially life-threatening path into danger, loss of self, even madness.

For other viewers who embrace the 21st Century "archaic revival," this Western view of the jungle as something to be feared and avoided is 're-coded' with an indigenous world view full of respect, awe, and mystery. It can be a place of healing, self-discovery, and revelation.

Hidden Nature #3

The most current jungle landscape in this series is built up from panels of two sizes with various background leaf patterns that can be re-arranged (like lines in poetry stanza: ABBAABBA) to allow reconfiguration of the work. It would also allow the piece to "wrap around" corners in an exhibition space. Reminds me of James Rosenquist's F-111 wall painting.

Jungle Panorama 03

CU: left side
CU: right side