:: 2016 :: 50cm x 75cm :: Acrylics, Inks, Markers and UV Lacquer on Canvas ::
This work in some ways represents a new thematic direction for me - the interplay between the cognitive and the visionary - and the first step towards integrating my artistic practice with my emerging philosophical speculations in Visionary Humanism. Increasingly central to this quest is the knowledge being liberated about the human mind from fields such as cognitive anthropology and evolutionary psychology, both of which take an understanding of the human mind as content-rich at birth and filled with an array of evolved and deeply unconscious 'modules' whose processes are not available to conscious attention.
Agent detection is one of these, an ancient piece of prehistoric (and possibly pre-mammalian) cognitive architecture which assumes the world is filled with conscious minds watching you. This might seem an odd thing to have in one's mind, until one realises that this is a good way of detecting predators: when one is a prey animal it makes good sense to be alert and even a bit paranoid! Agent detection is theorised to be at the root of our human abilities for social intelligence, and also sits at the fundament of many of our cultural forms and perceptual expectations, not least religion and the belief in gods. Religion posits that the world is filled with (often but not always) benevolent minds (ie, gods) who are watching you, and the connection with agent detection and its interaction with our human propensity for symbolic thought can be easily seen here.
These thoughts have occupied my thoughts for some time now, and this dual-image artwork grew fairly holistically out from these lines of thinking. We see here a depiction of agent detection interacting with visionary sensations to generate meaningful experiences. In the daylight image is seen a human woman dwelling within the complex wonders of her own mind, gazing down in wonder at the gods she has created, while behind her, scenes of predator detection, social interaction and a vision of spirits is seen. In the UV image, a personification of agent detection is seen, sitting at the heart of all the generating multiplicities of human culture.
:: Hover the mouse over the image to flip between daylight and UV images ::
:: Tablet Users - Tap the image to see the UV Image::
:: Tap outside the image to return to the Daylight Image::