Did you get in trouble for daydreaming at school? We all lose track of the moment from time to time and become immersed in our own imagination. We either reminisce or fantasise, playing back what we remember or inventing what ifs and if onlys. Sometimes we put our imagination to use and give ourselves an inventive goal with the information that we know. No matter what the imagination and the mind's eye is being used for, the principles are the same. The skill of using the imagination is how we create new principles and objects. Our ability to create systems with rules and to produce structures and items that do amazing things based on known principles is phenomenal. Doing this is extremely difficult, too.
The imagination offers a genuine respite from unpleasant circumstances or thoughts. Sometimes we can escape a waiting room or an evening of boredom by letting our imagination take us somewhere else. Of course, there are all kinds of things out there to help us do this like music, books, and films but we don't need these things to let our imagination take over. So not only is the imagination a route to new invention, it's also a backdoor to the present situation. We can take it to where ever we want.
Imagination helps us to change the way we perceive things. Sometimes we need to imagine a different perspective before we see it in reality. The way other people look at the world is not always the same as yours and in these cases we must be able to imagine what it's like for them or we we always act contrary to their needs. Empathy is what keeps us together and enables care beyond familial relationships and this is based on the imagination. When we feel another person's emotions, we imagine them from their perspective. Sometimes it is so strong that the feeling is as strong as if it were our own.
Planning and implementing ideas involves thinking about the future and choosing which future processes will be required. By being able to imagine this in full, we can choose the best route for this time even though we are not there yet. We can achieve our results faster because we are able to foresee the work we will need to do. By assessing the various methods available to us we can decide how to best move forward. Daydreaming is the only way we will ever draw this map through time.
So it's not all fun and games. Sometimes the imagination can give us trouble. When we can't control the things we imagine for what ever reason, this can become problematic. We become the boat on the ocean of our subconscious and this takes away our ability to hold our mental processes. The inside influence from an untethered imagination can be extremely harmful. Catastrophism and wallowing with outlandish paranoias can easily push you in every possible direction. Even if you are able to filter this from your outward expressions, the inner work of keeping it in check is exhausting.
This is why the art of using the imagination needs to be paid attention to and definitely not ridiculed when done inappropriately. We need to educate each other in the way to harness this utility of mind in order to use it for our best interests.
A ventriloquist since the age of ten, comedian and performer Lachlan Werner brings his entertainment company to Brighton and Hove in the South of England. Winner of the Culture Connex x Brighton & Hove Pride Bursary, Pointy Finger productions are offering an hour of puppetry and silly voices. Unveiling various horror stories through physical comedy and an array of talking characters, spectators can enjoy the safety of congregation while feeding their morbid fascination.
Expect to meet an ego—centric witch puppet, who goes by the name of Brew, and her light-hearted sidekick Lachy. The pair invite the audience to partake in a cartoonish occult festival which of course goes wrong very quickly. Raising a destructive entity, Brew and Lachy are tasked with handling the situation. Maybe they need some of your help?
Already the act has enjoyed a sold-out run of shows in London last October, and this time the people at Brighton beach are treated to a significant diary from the 6th of May to the 5th of June. The Pointy Finger company are also running an event called Sara Segovia: SUPERNUEVA which takes on a different guise entirely.
If this is something you'd like to see then you can get your tickets online from the Brighton Fringe Website. And, according to Broadway World, you can get two for one tickets with the code POINTY.
An up-to-date field of human psychology is the study of what is termed The Museum Effect. When we visit a gallery or museum, our cognitive processes are involved with a unique environment. Instead of familiar sights and sounds, we are surrounded by something we have never seen before. The layouts and the decorations that frame our journey from exhibition to exhibition all present something unusual for our minds. Instead of being a stressful situation, most of us actually calm down during our visit. What is going on?
Some of us might not find the idea of art and culture being relaxing. It can be intimidating to be presented with an array of unknowns, not knowing what to think or say about what you see can be awkward and embarrassing. When you bear in mind that there is no wrong way to enjoy art, no wrong thought to think about it, it can be less tense. If you have something to say, say it. People value novel input.
When we look at art, we are often reminded of things from our own lives. We are given clues and pointers to various information that we hold or imaginary paths that we explore. The message of the piece is not necessarily the same for all of us, even something as well-known as David and Goliath can mean several things to various people. This process of seeing, absorbing, and inventing personal reference is something that can aid well-being and health.
When our well-being and health are promoted and encouraged, this is called flourishing. What does this actually mean though? Flourishing means that our quality of life is improving and our health is not getting worse, or if we are il, it's getting better. Fitness levels, contentment, financial freedom, psychology, and all kinds of qualifiers all go into the holistic measurement of flourishing.
Museums and art galleries have a proven effect on our quality of life. They help reduce stress and help give meaning to life. The pleasure we get from enjoying art, music, and culture is a direct solution to many minor issues that can cause our psychology to be negative. A positive outlook is essential for a good quality of life. If we let the creations of other people take our minds away from the ever day stressors and concerns, we're offered an escape from what ever might be grinding us down.
According to psychologist Dr. Jeffery Smith “In essence, the museum effect contends that when we enter a museum we are able to enter into a state of heightened contemplation that allows us to reflect about ourselves, the communities to which we belong, and society more broadly.” Therapy Tips.
The safe space presented by galleries and museums alongside the new and interesting provocations within each work, our thoughts are teased from their subconscious yarns and knitted into unique and self-relevant garments. As we explore the new ideas and reminders of things we feel strongly about, we add to our escapist story and allow the outside world to melt away. With a combined effect of new surroundings, new visuals, new sounds, and plenty of things to read and listen to, our entire living space is redefined within the confines of the exhibit.
Attempting to properly understand the principles of the museum effect can help curators better define their process to allow for the most positive experience. Interested?
Recommended read: The Museum Effect: How Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Institutions Educate and Civilize Society
As a person who's job it is to provide media that helps prevent radicalisation, delinquency, and crime (as stated on the Homunculus Media homepage), as soon as I saw this title I knew I wanted to read it. The book is not too long and yet covers a wide scope of aspects within the social phenomenon that is evil. My aim, as a writer, is to develop a style that allows people to fully embrace a positive mindset through inspiration and education. It was natural for me, therefore, to want to find out what professionals are saying about this subject so I can further enforce my own personal values.
As the book begins, we look at the role of the word evil in our lives and what it suggests. The psychology of labels with negative connotations makes the word especially potent. We know that evil things happen all the time, and what one person considers evil is not necessarily the same for another. There is a blurring of lines in what qualifies for this premium spot in the hall of shame. We're given an insight into the most basic element of evil in the way we draw pleasure from other people's suffering. Laughing at the misfortunes of others is the small side of the scale, causing serious harm in order to gain satisfaction can be the top end. Sometimes we feel that a person deserves pain and suffering and we gain pleasure from providing it. Is it evil to lock up a murderer and throw away the key? Is it evil to gleefully watch as they rot away in their cell?
What makes people want to cause harm and death to others in the first place? We get emotional about things and react in ways that society doesn't approve of. Our animal nature is brought out of the human veneer and we take actions without due regard for the future or the other people. We ascribe evil to this kind of behaviour when it would be expected from a rhinoceros or a silver-backed gorilla. What about being a human being differentiates the evil behaviour from natural reaction to pain and suffering? Is it because we feel our pain abstractly in the form of language and metaphor that can be fuelled by the collaboration of others?
There are things out there that we might call evil but are not, we can project evil onto things because of how they appear too. What is it about society that gives us the impression certain things are evil, and is it deeper than our culture? If we are shown a particular kind of face with verbal evil attributions is it to be expected that we learn to associate this stereotype with evil and frame our thoughts accordingly? Or is this in fact an evil behaviour in itself? Why is the unusual person who says different things frightening? Why do we fear the strange? A lot of these questions are looked at with genuine thought.
The author goes into the disturbing reality of bestiality and paedophilia. Sexual deviance has such a wide scope. There is a common thread in modern society that bi-sexual and homosexual people are sexually deviant. In many pre-western cultures such people were not shamed or regarded as wrong. There are behaviours that are universally regarded as wrong. A lot of zoophiles regard their relationships as consensual and loving. Is it right or acceptable to a human to claim this? We know animals can display body language in mating rituals but can we clearly ascribe this to wanting a relationship? It moves the book onto the next part, if a person is attracted to children and the child smiles and laughs with them, is this some kind of consent? We clearly know it is not. Is paedophilia an evil thing? These people cannot choose their sexuality much like you or I can't, so how does one respond if this happens to be you? You can't go to your friends for help. Society has not achieved a state where a person who experiences unwanted feelings of paedophilia can safely seek help without judgement. Because of this, many paedophiles are put off from seeking the guidance and counselling they desperately need. There are too many cries of kill him from people with others cheering them on for anyone who finds themselves afflicted to find the right help.
We get to look into the psychology of group think and the way we accept compromise on our own ideals when it seems the done thing. Eating meat for example is something many do but these same people find animal cruelty repulsive. This dissonance gives us a problem that we cannot resolve when we enjoy our lifestyle but don't enjoy how it is achieved. Rather than make the steps to rectify our situation we make excuses and end up doing what we know deep down is wrong. The world of business has a lot of financial and social incentives and it is all too easy to do morally questionable things in the name of profit.
It takes us to the final section which looks at why we don't speak out. Why do we stand in silence gawping at the suffering? I like to think this is changing in today's world, with more of the new generation choosing to change their ways and lifestyles to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The book draws to a close on the thought that evil people are just like you and me. We know about the iconic criminals who did despicable things but everyday evil is just as destructive. Being silent in times of deception and oppression, following wrongful orders, going along with the crowd, we all end up looking evil from someone's perspective. So how do we close on this? It's action that is evil, behaviour is evil, people are not evil but the well spring of behaviours. Let's make sure we behave our best at all times.
Local artists and artisans from the Nambucca Valley area of Australia have collaborated their talents to create a once in a life-time merging of ideals. Running from the 9th-30th of April 2022, a welcome relief from pandemic restrictions is surely enough to entice more than just curious art fans. Comprised of well-thought and emotionally charged pieces that speak volumes with their own subtle and extroverted qualities, the Borderline Exhibition has been arranged by Urunga Art Space curator Adrienne Hmelnitsky.
Designed to express emotional clarity and psychological conjunction from individual artists, the story-telling element of the complete exhibition has been designed to Adrienne's own professional aesthetic. She references an “industrial” (News Of The Area) sense of design in the way lines and shapes are arranged together.
The image shown, from artist Sally Hook from Newee Creek, gives us an idea of what to expect. Named Great Barrier Wreath, the vibrant and colourful coral colours have been replaced with a chalky dead cake of blandness. This tells the story of what is happening to the Great Barrier Reef which has been a beautiful attraction and an indispensable ecosystem for generations.
If an exhibition like Borderline was to be produced in your local area, what kind of responses do you think artists would represent? What are the big emotional dilemmas and social problems that seem most important to your community? How would you put this into a work of art? Comment with your ideas.
Chocolate and Flowers
You might think of red roses and chocolate boxes at the sound of the word Romantic. That's a fair image and one that society is given by adverts and marketing nearly all year around. However, it's much more than this, and definitely more than a soft and soppy way of showing your love to someone. The word became used to describe a sensibility during the 18th Century. Romance originally simply meant of Rome. However we rarely think of glorious city when he hear it these days. What does it actually mean though? Why chocolates and flowers?
Evolution of Culture
A gradual process of cultural standardisation began during the Classical era. This predates romanticism and is governed by a rigid set of rules based on theology and feudal tradition. A process of making everything uniform across wide communities took place as various technologies made it easier to do. Printing presses, measuring devices, clocks, and all manner of other inventions began setting standards and uniformity around the world. The way we organise our lives and the things we think we all made to fit a set of rules defined by those with the power to enforce them either culturally or legally. This time-period came to a close as the process of standardisation reached its pinnacle at the time of the Enlightenment. Thinkers such as Newton and Descartes defined the world in mechanistic and predictable terms. The usefulness of God was taken away from many of the universal processes we assumed were under divine control. Everything became mechanical and devoid of inner paradox.
The Art Form
A pushback to this manner of thinking emerged in the form of Romanticism. The total linguistic mechanisation of life and its processes left a gaping hole in the way we see ourselves and the world we are in. People wanted symbols and signs, metaphors and mind puzzles that helped them identify with something greater than themselves. In a way, the Classical era put out the flames of magic and mystery and the Enlightenment was their mission accomplished. We do need to realise the usefulness of scientific enquiry but many people didn't want to let go of that mystical part of human nature. This is where art came forward with the solution. When it's administered to art, magic and mystery, symbolism and metaphor all serve as tools and devices that offer personal insights separately to individuals. Wisdom and intuition, folklore and spirituality could be placed within the artistic and make-believe world of art for people to enjoy and assimilate in their own time and way.
The digital age has brought so many marvellous benefits. Digital pioneers have really demonstrated the power of computing and the extent at which these binary devices can be instructed to help us progress. There is one huge difference in the way we think and the way computers think. Although modern neural networks are capable of having independent thoughts based on active learning, they are always matter of fact. Much like the Newton of the cosmos, a computer sees the world in a very specific way. In order to communicate with computers, we too need to think like they do. We're nearly all brought up with some kind of computer these days and so we all learn how to communicate with these devices using precise and accurate controls. Programmers and coders will know that one false instruction can and does ruin the entire output, and getting things exactly as they should be is paramount.
You can't ask a computer to make metaphorical comparisons unless it has a list of them and their proper use. There is no imagination and no non-linear, abstract quality to the way machines think and follow instructions. Everything is done by procedure and process. Humans are not built this way. Our minds do crave order and process but they also crave richness, diversity, and occulted wisdom. We love to see big pictures that we can't describe as well as look to the little things for their unique detail. The modern digital age has given us the idea that facts must be accurate and information true. This can be great for making the right choices but when it comes to a fulfilling experience of life, we need more. In order to counter-balance the influence that digital machines have on our lives, investing in our ability to imagine, speak in symbols, and express passion without being rationally interrogated is something is going to be essential for our continued growth as a global society.
A new feature for Alternative Fruit, a selection of digital art pieces from the editor Rowan B. Colver. Writing about other people's art is always good but where is my own? Never previously published elsewhere, Crystals of Consciousness are photomanipulations made from a single image which has been digitally altered again and again to produce a series of seven unique and abstract pieces. Without further ado, Alternative Fruit presents: Crystals of Consciousness. Take your time and enjoy each image for as long as you wish.
Crystals of Consciousness - An abstract digital art display by Rowan B. Colver
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