Richard Brown – Alchemy, mimetics, immersion and consciousness.

In this paper I discuss a number of ideas on the representation and perception of space, time and energy and how these ideas have been inspirational in creating experiential art works. Areas I have explored include the concept of a fourth dimension, alchemy, mimetics, immersion, artificial-life and ideas about the nature of consciousness. I carry out these explorations through “art as a mode of enquiry”, producing experiential artworks rather than written theory. This paper summarises a number of ideas I have found useful and inspiring in creating artworks that explore the perception and experience of space, time and consciousness.

The fourth dimension, space-time-energy, alchemy, mimetics, immersion, artificial-life, consciousness.

I regard myself as an explorer, inventor, experimenter and amateur alchemist. I use technology and science as a palette for expressing ideas concerning the perception and contemplation of space-time. This is not a new idea, artists such as Duchamp and the Cubists were inspired by ideas of non-Euclidean space and created works that explored alternative perceptions of space-time.
For those interested in finding out more about the historical relationships between 20th century art, science, mathematics, theosophy and the fourth dimension I would highly recommend reading “The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art” by Linda Dalrymple Henderson [1].
The 20th century notion of the fourth dimension encompassed science, art and theosophy; simultaneously accommodating both a rational, reductive and an arrational, alogical synthetic approach to an understanding and conceptualisation of space-time.
I believe that consciousness is not amenable to simple reductionism and is poorly described by mechanistic and computational metaphor. Consciousness is something that is experienced and is perhaps best evoked looking askance, sideways, perhaps through story telling, the visual arts or some new and novel multi-modal methodology. Ouspenksy in Tertium Organum [2] discusses multiple modes of expression that might accommodate a new language of philosophy suitable for evolving an understanding of the deep complexes within that govern our consciousness of space and time.
I would like to suggest there are novel and as yet undiscovered means of expression that can simultaneously encompasses the rational, the emotional
and the mystical. In The Glass Bead Game, Herman Hesse describes a similar philosophical ideology [3].

My aim is to create experiential constructions that somehow represent or evoke essential deep mental constructs that are not amenable to rationalisation or linguistic reductionism. If these works are to be immersive, they should be able to communicate, deeply and transparently, evoke a visceral and emotional resonance, and produce insight into “something other”.
I see this ideology of evoking a deep resonance through physical processes present in the practise of alchemy.
That through the symbolic and contemplative interaction with key physical processes, the inner self might be changed, purified into something higher, personified by the infamous quest to make gold from base matter – the so-called Philosophers Stone.
A full discussion on the nature of alchemy is not possible within this paper, here I present a number of key ideas and references that I find significant and inspirational.

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