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Bruce Nauman: My imaginary doppelganger

March 07, 2011 - View Single Entry


By Bruce Nauman 

 Bruce Nauman is my imaginary doppelganger. We speak in the same tongue. It's uncanny to me.

And how do you do?


Visual Sound Proof

December 28, 2007 - View Single Entry

This image elicits no sound
and I think I know why:
because all the edges are sealed.
Not even sound can escape.


Power in Periphery

December 16, 2006 - View Single Entry

In a dream, I was playing the piano, using this image as written music. The picture was seated on a music stand on my left. I could easily play the shape of the mountains as long as I viewed the image in peripheral vision, but as soon as I turned my head to look at it directly, I lost my power and it turned back into a picture. Is it possible that in order for synesthesia to take place, one must not be overly focused? And if so, isnít it ironic that one must be in a partial state of unawareness in order to be the most aware?

Behind the Symbols: Layers of Thought

May 18, 2006 - View Single Entry

This image perfectly represents what a layered thought looks like to me. When I see a word, or a symbol, or an icon, or a number, I  see an additional version or layer of meaning behind it, and I mean that quite literally. I see a second or third version of the visible, though I "know" what I am looking at isn't "see-able" to other people. (At least, I know that as an adult.) In this image, the dark shape in front represents the visible while the white shape behind is equivalent to the version I view automatically on the otherside of consciousness. Even as I look at the additional layer, I understand that it is generated from the object in front of it. That's the reason the edges are indistinct and the shape is amorphous, much like the nature of meaning itself.


Pictures from the Cave . . . A Mobius Strip

May 14, 2006 - View Single Entry


I was once sent to a researcher in light therapy because I had a sudden depression no one could explain. My doctor was trying to determine if light therapy would help. He attached a computer to my wrist which I wore for 3 days and 3 nights. It measured my Circadian rhythms. After reviewing the results, he concluded that light would do me no good.

"The problem," he explained, "is that you have the Circadian clock of a cavewoman."

Not knowing if this was good or bad, I naturally asked him to explain. He told me that I have a 26.5 hour day and that aside from that, I am impervious to my environment. So, tonight I had a revelation: if synesthesia stems from the oldest part of the brain, doesn't it make sense that it would show up in the mind of a cavewoman? Further, if it is also true that in evolutionary terms, synesthetes represent the future, doesn't that make sense too, since time is circular?

He was wrong about light, by the way. As it turned out, I used reflected light to cure my depression. I discovered that by looking at reflections, I could travel out of my feelings. Of course, I didn't realize that I wasn't actually going anywhere. Nor could I see that my emotional life was the underside of a Mobius Strip I'd managed to flip over, by viewing the world upside down. From that angle, I could spot the necessary shapes into which I poured my inchoate feelings. And by the time I developed the pictures, the emotional shapes had gelled.

Mirrors and Molecules . . . Bucky Balls and Consciousness

April 15, 2006 - View Single Entry


To me, a Bucky Ball is the perfect self-portrait and ideal symbol for the self. When I look at this picture, I feel like I am looking in a mirror. This is why: I see the orb in the center as my "self" while each polygon is a double-sided portal that allows information to travel back and forth between myself and the world. The polygons are like sensors (as well as censors), some of which are open, some of which are shut, some of which are sealed. I further picture the whole thing orbiting not in space but in time. As each has its turn in n-o-w, it may be open, shut or sealed. Thus, they act as transoms that let information in and out of consciousness. How many are open? It varies from person to person. But the number -- if indeed they are amenable to counting -- is vastly higher than the usual 5 attributed to the senses in western culture. Furthermore, I suspect that they operate in realms that have nothing to do with sense but everything to do with sensibility.

The picture of the Bucky Ball is from a site in Germany

Musing on My Memory

April 04, 2006 - View Single Entry

When I was growing up, my nickname was ďThe Memory BankĒ because I remember not only everything that has happened in my own life but also everything that has happened in the lives of my friends -- even if I was not present but only heard about it. Debby, my best friend from childhood, will call to ask me for a specific detail of an event from her life that happened 40 years ago. She knows that if she told me about it at the time, I will be able to repeat it to her exactly as she said it then.

Why can I do this and what does it mean?

Itís hard to explain how normal this feels to me. I have never thought of this ability as a sign of intelligence since no effort goes into remembering whatsoever. It is just there, as if my memory is a tar pit that preserves whatever falls into it. Once I know it, I cannot not know it: if I own the memory once, I own it for all time. I sometimes think the birth of the self begins with the first memory since it is the first possession.

How I learned to ride a bike

March 16, 2006 - View Single Entry

The way I learned to ride a bike is that I dreamed it first. This was after several months of training wheels followed by a few failed attempts of going up-and-down the drive on my blue girl's Schwinn, my father's hand resting on the back of my seat to balance me so I would not fall.
"Not yet, not yet!" is the only thing I remember saying, which meant, "Whatever you do, Dad, please don't let go, I'm not ready yet." What was balance anyway, I wondered, how could I possibly learn to suspend myself on moving wheels? I despaired I would ever be able to ride a two-wheeled vehicle when that night, I dreamed I could.

It is one of those dreams that I remember still in detail. The image that floats to mind first when I think of it is a wet portrait of me in-motion  painted in pastels: but the key is in what I am feeling in the dream, the sensation of balancing as I ride my bike in the dream.

It was so strong a feeling -- so convincing a "fact" -- that  when I woke up the next day, I ran downstairs, jumped on my "real" bike, and rode all over town. I never experienced fear or hesitation again because I had already succeeded in my dream and remembered how it felt.

Proton and Neutron

February 23, 2006 - View Single Entry

Hoops by M. Smilack

I took the picture above in Amsterdam a few years ago. Then, the other night while surfing the internet, I unexpectedly came upon the image below. I found their resemblance uncanny. Yet, the picture below is the plotting of electric fields of positive and negative particles; the image above is a reflection of a bridge on a Dutch canal. What does this mean? Is it evidence that universal shapes recur in Nature and Art? I can only tell you this: that at the moment I saw the picture below, I felt the gestalt of recognition from having seen the same shapes on the water.

Deuterium by Arden Barker

Music and Math

February 06, 2006 - View Single Entry

Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting

- G. Wilhelm Leibniz

Recurring Shapes

January 08, 2006 - View Single Entry

When I look at a picture of a brain -- before I have time to "think" or recognize what I'm actually looking at -- I see a person in a fetal position. Only secondarily, do I realize that it is also a picture of a brain. So I have a question: is this recurring shape an accident of Nature or is it the ultimate example of good design? I love when Nature puts forth its own symbols. I don't believe in accidents.

Portals of Consciousness

December 28, 2005 - View Single Entry

In reality, the past is preserved by itself automatically. In its entirety, probably, it follows us at every instant; all that we have felt, thought and willed from our earliest infancy is there, leaning over the present which is about to join it, pressing against the portals of consciousness that would fain leave it outside.

by Henri Bergson in Creative Evolution, 1907

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