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Can a work of art also be a magical act?

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posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:06 AM
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I'd like to state at the outset it has been my firmly-held opinion that one thing art and magic share in common is that the only effect of either is to cause a change in the psychological state of the viewer. A recent event has led me to reevaluate that opinion.

Here's what the delightful Grant Morrisson has to say on the connection between art and magic:
www.youtube.com...

To kick off a discusion on this topic, I'd like to relate an incident which occurred appx. two weeks ago. I'm a visual artist, and most of my works consist of photorealistic treatments of absurdist subjects. However, I was recently commissioned to paint the Dark Tower from the eponymous series by Stephen King. I am not a fan of King's stuff and have very minimal prior exposure to it, but I read his description of the tower and set to work.
While I generally only utilize source material from photographs I have personally taken, in this case I made a sort of photoshop sketch by creating a composite structure incorporating elements of real-life buildings found under the google image search term "dark tower".

I employed an inversion of the golden ratio when plotting the spacial relations in the composition, hoping that the visual impact would be one of indeterminate "wrongness" in the proportions (and, indeed, this was the result).
I would go into further detail in my description, but I hesitate to recreate the work even in text for reasons which will become clear in the telling.

I work on several projects simultaneously, and the e-sketch took two days to complete. During that two day period my cat would frequently exhibit wall-eye, and while a Marty Feldman cat is in theory hilarious, I found the effect disconerting. Coinciding with her wall eyed apprearance was a annoying propensity to growl up at the ceiling in a corner of my studio space for extended lengths of time. But cats are notoriously weird, and I didn't really give it all that much thought.

The morning after I finished the collage was sunny and gorgeous, I was waiting at a bus shelter munching a bagel. The wind picked up, and In a matter of minutes, the sky had gone from being dotted with white fleecy cumulous clouds to overcast and gray. While this occurred, a song by Glider began to play. I had recently downloaded the album, and had yet to listen to it.

The lyrics later stuck me as eerily significant:
"Wherever I am, I'm in darkness
I can't feel the sunlight,
I can't see the sun.
I sleep in the arms of the grey king and queen"

While the song played, and as the weather changed, a bus pulled up across the street and a man disembarked. He was gangly, wore a trench coat and used a large carved walking stick for support, walking with a pronounced limp. In addtion to patches referring to military service on his lapels, he was covered in jangling charms of every sort; to the extent that when he crossed the street I was able to clearly hear through my earbuds the racket caused by all of the trinkets hanging from his neck, attached to his clothing, and dangling from his wrists.

He was talking continously to himself, and sat on a bench adjacent to the shelter I shared with a young woman. She, for her part, darted anxious glances at the man; who I was studiously avoiding looking at. After a minute or so, she left the shelter, power-walking away, though presumably she had also been waiting for the bus.

At his point, the man limped into the shelter, and I promptly left it to stand at a distance by the bus stop. I tried to avoid looking at the man, but was aware that he had stopped talking to himself and had fixed me with a flat, expressionless stare. During the five minute wait, he did not cease staring at me. All the while I felt a sense of mounting dread. Being a seasoned user of my city's excellent public transportation, I am accustomed to people smelling funky and talking to themselves on the bus. I also believe that those suffering from mental illness deserve our compassion and respect. Still, my mouth went dry, and I had to choke down the last few bites of bagel.

We boarded the bus, which runs through a college campus before turning onto a highway for a few miles. Throughout the ride I noted that my fellow passengers seemed uncomfortable and were looking nervously at this man throughout the ride. I got off on the last stop before the highway, and felt giddy with relief when the man remained on the bus. There is a shortcut from the stop to the main road, and upon climbing the embankment, I heard that jingling racket. There he was, only a few feet behind me on the sidewalk.

He must have asked the bus driver to make an unscheduled stop in the last two blocks before the highway, and had I not taken the shortcut, he would have been ahead of me. I took out my earbuds, and began to walk as quickly as I could, short of running. I was in the grip of a fear my intellect could not account for; heart-pounding, extremities tingling, queasy bowels, the whole 9 yards. I had only experienced fear of this magnitude on two other occasions: in a vehicular collision, and during a physical altercation with a mugger to whom I had refused to hand over my belongings.

I quickly outstripped the man, and after a quarter mile, looked behind me to see his small figure in the distance. And yet, I did not slow down. Now this is where things get weird: at two points during my walk to my destination, I heard with distinctness and clarity, the the shuffling steps, the jangling, and the tapping of the stick directly behind me. The sounds were sudden, and of a couple seconds duration, but caused me to jump with fright on both occasions. I can only think that a. I was subject to an auditory hallucination (which has never occurred to me before or since), or b. I wasn't hallucinating.

I made an intuitive connection between the Dark Tower collage and this event, and intuitive connections are not my strong point. When I arrived home I deleted any trace of the collage and its source material from my hard drive. Although I could have put the money from the commission to good use, I turned it down without hesitation. All of these actions are highly uncharacteristic of me, and I am perplexed.

Still, I'm pleased to report that since my symbolic destruction of the tower, my cat has reverted back to her old style of behaving badly, and has shown no recurrence of her strange ocular malady.

So, I present the question to the reader: did I inadvertently perform some sort of magical working? Have any other ATS'ers explored the connection between art and magic?

edit on 13-4-2011 by mistermonculous because: an errant "with".




posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:15 AM
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What is a spell? is it not a an intent to make something happen, to become real.. what is art ? is it not an attempt to create something from the mind and make it real..
magic is all about intent, be it words , music, or pictures, the intent of the artist influences the outcome..
just my 2 cents

peace.
ps
Aboriginal paintings are often created with "magic" in mind, their art is linked to the dreamtime.
www.newagetravel.com...
edit on 13-4-2011 by sprocket2cog because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:31 AM
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Interesting stuff, if the inversion was the cause, it would be interesting to see the opposite positive result.
I painted Bagpuss for a friend last month (acrylic/canvas), if i involved the golden mean...well the mind boggles.

edit on 13-4-2011 by Eocrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:34 AM
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That was a really interesting account.

It would make a good story, i reckon, but yes, it is possible that you inadvertently performed a magical act, though I would imagine that such occurrences are extremely rare.

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if you had struck up a conversation with the guy you described.

I'm an artist myself, and I do try to make many of my efforts magical in some way, and I must admit, I would be very impressed with myself if I managed to have the same degree of success as you seem to have had, albeit unintentionally.
Then again, if I did succeed in the way you describe, I may feel differently.

I would have loved to see the image you came up with, but alas........


I would suggest you do a google search for an artist/magician called Austin Osman Spare, for some interesting information concerning art and magic.

Cheers.

P.S. Do you have any of your work online?

I'd be interested to see it.
edit on 13-4-2011 by Illegal Alien because: Adding stuff.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 03:29 PM
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That was a delightful read and you are an excellent writer. The way you write makes me want to see your art. I am a big fan of 'high quality low-brow art'. Absurdity and photorealism mashed together make my favorite eye-candy. I am also a fan of Mark Ryden who is a local here.
Unfortunately I am in a place where my concepts of all things Magickal are going under a major overhaul. So I do not know what you may or may not have triggered but artists of all stripes are prone to collecting all sorts of things with their antennae and you are obviously an artist. You probably would enjoy looking in to Austin Osman Spare if you have not done so already (good rec from poster above).
Thanks for the heads up. Please notify me of further posts in the future so that I don't miss them.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by mistermonculous
 





I employed an inversion of the golden ratio when plotting the spacial relations in the composition, hoping that the visual impact would be one of indeterminate "wrongness" in the proportions (and, indeed, this was the result). I would go into further detail in my description, but I hesitate to recreate the work even in text for reasons which will become clear in the telling.


Sprocket said:



What is a spell? is it not a an intent to make something happen, to become real.. what is art ? is it not an attempt to create something from the mind and make it real.. magic is all about intent, be it words , music, or pictures, the intent of the artist influences the outcome


Creepy. Yes indeed, it seems you did inadvertently work a spell. Intent is important but it goes beyond that. Look at any spell casting, occult ritual, etc. It always boils down to the use of symbols of a numeric/geometric nature, which themselves boil down to a certain vibration. This is because those are the principles that underlie our physical reality and are therefore the principles you use when you want to effect a change on said reality. I believe that it was, in part, your use of the inverted golden ratio which accounts for the effects that you experienced. For further understanding/research on this look up Radionics. Similar kind of thing.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 09:48 PM
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Perhaps you were being followed by Randall Flagg himself!


Art imitates life, n'est ce pas, mon ami?



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 09:52 PM
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I wrote a song called "unpaid fines"
true story
cost the police chief his job
when ever I play it at a party
my table just fills up with beer


that
is majic



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:22 PM
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Thank you all for your very interesting contributions to this thread.

I am a long time fan of A.O. Spare.


Radionics smells a bit Reichian to me; but I guess if I were terminally ill, I'd probably hop right into an orgone box toot suite should other options fail.

I am inclined to think that coyotepoet is on to something re: geometry and numerology. As most of the buildings which served as source material were churches or mosques, perhaps the distortion of sacred architectural features tapped into something. The notion of intent being secondary to technique is intriguing.

I would link to my body of work, but would prefer to remain anonymous on this site. I'm quite sure you all understand. *broad wink*

Manifesting free beer = winning, duh!
edit on 13-4-2011 by mistermonculous because: Hah-bleeeeh.



posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 10:52 PM
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Perhaps you can test the theory by creating a new picture with an inversion of the golden ratio?







posted on Apr, 13 2011 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by CIAGypsy
 


*shudder*

I think not.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 04:35 AM
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reply to post by mistermonculous
 





The notion of intent being secondary to technique is intriguing.


Intent is important, a key, but not the key. Merely a way of directing forces which exist absent of any direction. Your experience is interesting to me because, though I knew it theoretically possible, I've never heard of any one that performed a magickal working by accident.




As most of the buildings which served as source material were churches or mosques, perhaps the distortion of sacred architectural features tapped into something.


Depending on your source material, many cathedrals and mosques have been built intentionally according to sacred geometrical principles so using and distorting/inverting features would work with the same vibrations. Also, many are built on ley lines or power spots/vortexes given the images energetic connection to the physical object, also depending on the source material, you could have been tapping into that energy as well.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 05:16 AM
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I am of the opinion that all creative works are a manifestation of magic in some way from artwork, literature and comics to even corporate logos and movies. This is based on my own personal experiences and from what I've read about occult philosophy and ritual magic, especially with regards to the phenomena of synchronicities and "fiction before fact." The mind's eye is a powerful tool that we are still yet to grasp completely. For instance, the subconscious mind supposedly takes in everything whereas the conscious mind is not always aware of subtle hints and allusions (hence the whole controversy over subliminals in artwork, advertising, movies etc). And if it's true that we only use about 10% of our brain's potential one can only imagine what we'd all be like if we were to tap into it fully (ala the film "Limitless"). One need only look at the precognitive aspects to these popular cultural devices that reveal how art imitates life only to imitate art later on (e.g. Roberton's "Futility" and the sinking of the Titanic, Lancaster's "Caroline R" and the tragic marriage, divorce and death of Princess Diana, the pilot episode of "The Lone Gunmen" and 9/11, etc). Indeed, the act of creating a work of art itself is looked upon as a form of ceremonial magic in many parts of the world, even today, and has throughout history, and the mental state of the creator (or magician) is integral to the success of the ritual, hence the caveat given by a few magicians that the subconscious thoughts and impressions are just as important in the creative process as anything else. So, the old adage you must be careful what you wish for holds true or as the British motto puts it, "Honi soit qui mal y pense." Even the comic artist, Alan Moore (creator of "Watchmen" for instance) has attested to such.
edit on 14-4-2011 by cameraobscura because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 05:41 AM
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I have found the shamanistic approach
where art IS an incantation
seems to work for me.
In that context, the intent may come from the higher self,
and so isn't always a consequence of concious intent

some things are just a gift from the spirit world...
for good or bad
somethings are really technology
and aren't magic at all
edit on 14-4-2011 by Danbones because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 08:35 AM
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Originally posted by coyotepoet
reply to post by mistermonculous
 





The notion of intent being secondary to technique is intriguing.


Intent is important, a key, but not the key. Merely a way of directing forces which exist absent of any direction. Your experience is interesting to me because, though I knew it theoretically possible, I've never heard of any one that performed a magickal working by accident.


Ditto.... Which is why I am skeptical that it was an inadvertant experience. And I would have to beg to differ with you. Intent is tantamount to any magickal working. There is loads of material on it to support the fact.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the OP's experience is tied to his commission of the project, but not in the way he supposes.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:20 AM
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Ditto.... Which is why I am skeptical that it was an inadvertant experience. And I would have to beg to differ with you. Intent is tantamount to any magickal working. There is loads of material on it to support the fact.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the OP's experience is tied to his commission of the project, but not in the way he supposes.


Wha-wha-whaaaa?

My intent was to create a visual replica of a structure which, if my cursory reading of the text was correct, is an inter-dimensional manifestation of nothingness penetrating (or rending) the matrix of being. Except cool-looking.

It was certainly NOT to have my cat harassed by unknown forces, nor to be pursued by some low-rent bokor.

Unless your implication is that the individual who commissioned the painting DID intend to manifest this sort of stuff, and was using me as an intermediary. Which, given my long-standing acquaintance with the person in question, is an idea I find preposterous. He's just a King fan, and a very kind fellow.

However, given your customary ambiguity, is it possible you were implying something else entirely? Please elaborate.

edit on 14-4-2011 by mistermonculous because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:34 AM
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reply to post by mistermonculous
 


Holy crapzor, I just re-read the second paragraph of my last post. Okay, then, I suppose intent HAS been accounted for.

I'ma be reeeeeaaaal careful from here on out.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by mistermonculous
reply to post by mistermonculous
 


Holy crapzor, I just re-read the second paragraph of my last post. Okay, then, I suppose intent HAS been accounted for.

I'ma be reeeeeaaaal careful from here on out.


And the lightbulb comes on....


Spectacular thread, I must say, mon ami....
My apologies for the ambiguity. Things we work for tend to be much more highly valued than those we are simply given.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 12:56 PM
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Right! Here's the experiment I propose: adhering to King's mythological construct, the antithesis of the tower is the rose.

I plan to execute a painting of The Rose incorporating the features of my grandmother, who to me is the embodiment of love and the joy of being. I will post the results on this thread in 1-2 weeks.



posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 01:44 PM
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reply to post by CIAGypsy
 




And I would have to beg to differ with you. Intent is tantamount to any magickal working.


I agree, what I was saying is that forces exist without directive intent. To use them however...

which brings me to




My intent was to create a visual replica of a structure which, if my cursory reading of the text was correct, is an inter-dimensional manifestation of nothingness penetrating (or rending) the matrix of being.

edit on 14-4-2011 by coyotepoet because: last quote



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