:: Bruce Rimell's Independent Research ::

Research Home     Current Projects     Essay Archive

In addition to being a visual artist, I am also an independent researcher, the explorations of which often run parallel to and interact with my arts practice. My diverse research interests include: the religious and ritual practices of the Minoan civilisation of Bronze Age Crete; the origins of human symbolic cognition and its implications for twenty-first century epistemology; visionary and religious experiences in light of the cognitive science of religion and evolutionary psychology; the Palaeolithic art of Europe; the emergence of cognitively modern human behaviour and ritual culture in the African Middle Stone Age; queer-themed creative mythologies; ‘spiritual’ and creative practices as beyond-the-self exploration; and the many-faceted symbolic meanings behind the world’s myth systems.

:: Visionary Humanism ::

I am devoting an increasing amount of my time to developing a philosophy of 'Visionary Humanism', which is an attempt to liberate a more holistic image of the human being in the context of symbolic cognition, the collective unreality and subjective meaningfulness of our inner and outer experience, and twenty-first century scientific knowledge. To this end, I have so far completed two books: the first, On Vision and Being Human (Nov 2015), being a general statement on the matter, focusing particularly on the 'otherness' of visionary experience and its foundation upon the evolved human propensity for symbolic thought, and Liminal Contact (Oct 2016), a development and application of Visionary Humanism to the problem of the alleged ‘death’ of painting in art.

A third book is due for release in late 2017: They Shimmer Within: Cognitive-Evolutionary Perspectives on Visionary Beings examines the problem of the ubiquitous human experience of wild spirits, genii loci, ‘machine elves’ and visionary beings in light of cognitive science, evolutionary psychology and anthropology.

On Vision and Being Human Book     Xibalba Books Link     Liminal Contact Book     Xibalba Books Link     they shimmer within

Several further volumes in this series are planned. The first is entitled Mindful Of Blood and will consist of a diverse series of musings on the 'Female Cosmetic Coalitions' model at the centre of On Vision and Being Human: perspectives taken will include the embodied, the cognitive and the visionary. The second is called The Two-Hand Model of Gender and will be an intersectional analysis of Queer Theory, Postmodernism, Feminism, Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology to liberate an image of gender as a complex of dynamics which surpasses the simplistic and often antagonistic biology/culture discourse.

A third monograph, entitled Pseudoscience And Pseudo-Religion, will examine modern atheistic caricatures of religion from a cognitive perspective (and find them to be often erroneous or too simplistic) and then use the insights from this to liberate a cognitive model of how pseudoscience and pseudoscientific theories arise and become culturally significant. Other volumes in the more distant future may include The Queer and the Visionary and A Manual of Sacred Play. The series will then conclude with a collection of essays which are intended to constitute a full and detailed statement of Visionary Humanism and its usefulness in building a new kind of bridge between science and spirituality as beyond-the-self exploration.

Research CV

Bruce Rimell is a visual artist, poet and independent researcher, whose work explores the visionary, the mythological, the archaeological and the alchemy of the the cognitive and the ethnographic. His academic background was astrophysics, but his love of ‘origins’ and regular interventions of migraine experiences since childhood led him upon a humanist quest to discover the world’s mythology and the evolution of our species, and the fusion of these elements led to a creative and synthetic approach to thinking about ourselves which forms the bedrock of his research, and indeed his perceptual world. At length, he became an artist upon seeing that the painted image could act as an important vehicle for that approach. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in the U.K. and is currently developing a philosophy of 'Visionary Humanism'. He lives delightfully in love with his partner Chris in the city of Bradford where the urban sprawl meets the wild moorland.

BC2017 Talk
Watch Bruce's presentation 'On Vision and Being Human'
given at Breaking Convention 2015 psychedelic conference,
University of Greenwich, London, July 2015
Read the text of Bruce's talk 'They Shimmer Within'
given at Breaking Convention 2017 psychedelic conference,
University of Greenwich, London, July 2017



They Shimmer Within: A Cognitive-Evolutionary Approach to Visionary Beings July 2017 Breaking Convention 2017, University of Greenwich, London, UK
Origins, Themes, Techniques Mar 2017 Cupola Gallery, Sheffield, UK
'Come, Dance, See What We See: Visions and the Female Cosmetic Coalitions Model' Jan 2017 Radical Anthropology Group, University College London, UK
'Liminal Contact' Aug 2016 Patrick Studios, Leeds, UK
'On Vision and Being Human' Jul 2015 Breaking Convention 2015, University of Greenwich, London, UK
'The Queer and the Fernal' Jul 2015 PoMoGaze 2015, Leeds, UK
'Musings on a Fernal Language' May 2015 Dreams & Divinities Conference, San Francisco, USA
Artist Talk Feb 2015 Inkwell Arts, Leeds, UK
'Creative Mythology, or Queer Authenticities' July 2014 PoMoGaze 2014, Leeds, UK
'Creative Mythology, or Queer Authenticities' Mar 2014 Dreams & Divinities Conference, San Cristobal, Mexico
'The Minoan Epiphany' Mar 2013 Dreams & Divintiies Conference, Toledo, Spain



'They Shimmer Within' Nov 2017 Third 'Visionary Humanism' publication. Xibalba Books, 450pp.
'On Vision and Being Human: Towards A More Holistic Image' Jul 2017 Paper in conference publication from Breaking Convention 2015
'Liminal Contact' Oct 2016 Second 'Visionary Humanism' publication. Xibalba Books, 200pp.
'On Vision and Being Human' Nov 2015 First 'Visionary Humanism' publication. Xibalba Books, 340pp.
'Eleusis' Aug 2012 Art/Research publication. Xibalba Books, 52pp.
'Notes on the Origins of Art' Nov 2009 Exhibition monograph. Limited Edition, 40pp.



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