Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Skipping through a Mind Yomp: Graphic Thinking

 This is part two of an ongoing series of attempts to explore what happens to the mind when you explore unfiltered graphic representation of abstract thoughts. This round was conducted at an 8-day retreat of intense dialogue at the Krishnamurti Foundation in Ojai, California. Serendipitously, I was housed in the Annie Besant room. Besant was one of the founders of the Theosophical Society and a pioneer in the whimsical world of thought forms, and this virtual proximity with Besant across time seemed too ripe with possibilities to pass up.

A Conversation with the Self

Internal dialogue

A Conversation with Another

An underlying issue with both of the above attempts is that they were, in themselves, a conscious projection of the conscious, linear mind. I hit the jackpot on day 7 when, after switching out the toilet paper roll in the bathroom, I glanced at the now-empty cardboard roll, jumped up, went to the desk, and produced the object below. An initial urge to enclose a scrap of paper stating an "answer" or "conclusion" was mighty strong until I realized the box itself posed a perfect spiritual riddle on its own.

How to Get Out of the Box

Toilet paper tube as spiritual artifact

The riddle solved

And now I turn back to more practical matters like eco dyeing and stitching, though come to think of it they too produce mindless moments of wonder. And as always, you are encouraged to experiment with nonverbal expression of the mind at work on your own. Peruse Annie Besant's "Thought Forms" to give yourself a nudge.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Reality Weaving: Graphic Translation of a Conversation



This is a new foray into untangling thought, words and communication, and proved to be such a fascinating experience I thought it worth sharing in the event others would like to experiment. The point here is not artistic merit - materials used were paper bags (scrubbed to soften and alter the texture), printer paper watercolored in different shades and then cut up, and lettering from an old vintage stamp set.

The challenge was to capture an absorbing, dense conversation with my sister at Saratoga Hot Springs in Wyoming.

Pages 2&3 (click to enlarge)

Pages 3&4

Pages 5&6

Pages 7&8

Pages 9&10

Back cover

I plan to continue experimenting with the graphic translation of thoughts, conversations, and encounters as an exploratory practice that is somehow outside of either art or language.

Bonus Fodder for the Mill

Shortly after completing the little booklet above and sending it off to my sister, I stumbled across the fact that a book by Annie Bessant, called "Thought Forms," is now out of copyright and available free on Guttenberg.  Click here for Thought Forms.

This little booklet by one of the founders of the Theosophical Society absolutely fascinated me as a 19-year-old student in India back in 1968, and it fascinates me even more today. I find her ideas delightfully absurd and a wackadoodle, but have to admire her determined attempt to translate thoughts into images. A few of those images are offered below.

Let the experimentation continue! One small effort to rage against the apocalyptic night.

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