The aim of these images is to express a sense of the epistemic incommensurability of the subject, to explore aspects of existence at the deepest levels of inquiry and to inspire it’s audience to seek a deeper understanding of the situation in which it seems we find ourselves! It endeavours to explore these themes from both 1st and 3rd person perspectives, juxaposing the simultaneous individual uniquenss and collective commonality of the realm of human experience. Key questions held in mind as the work developed were:
Is the world I perceive an extension of my mind?
Is my mind in the world, or is the world in my mind?
Is it possible for my mind to look at my mind?
Am I a phenomenon or a manifestation – or both?
These works explore the theme of epistemic relativism, which can, and does cause real conflict. According to Duncan Pritchard (2011), from the University of Edinburgh’s philosophy department, the different worldviews held by any two given individuals are unique and incommensurable. When a mind engages a topic it does so from it’s own perspective, thus making a true agreement opon a topic realistically impossible. Although alignment of purpose may be achieved, the world I see is not the same as the world you see due to our distinct, individual, unique configuration of perceptual and sensory apparatus, and cognitive structure. Stetsenko, A. (2005).
The infinite regress of consciousness is explored and we are asked to consider what lay at the heart of our capacity to experience and understand the world of form and phenomena. How do we become conscious of ourselves as beings in the world who are able to query our own consciousness? “The self knowing itself, the subject which is its own object, the fusion of being and knowing, is the greatest of all mysteries, the contemplation of which is the beginning of wisdom … because it draws us into a contemplation of the ultimate ground of existence” Powell, G. (1972) p. 270.
The question of subject/object dichotomy is referenced as the works ask us to consider whether we are the knower, the known, or both. Does the objective world actually exist a-priori to our sensory perceptual engagement with it, or is the activity of the mind required to manifest the world of experience? Çüçen, A. (2013).
Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy describes an approach to the inquiry into phenomena; “Phenomenology may be defined … as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness.” This is a rich and practical field which applies focused attention to sensory and perceptual experiences from surface awareness to very deep levels of interiority. The discipline of phenomenology gives access to insight about our relationship to time and space, nature and culture, self and other. We can engage our experience of manifesting as “beings in the world” through phenomenological experimentation.
The nature of these types of inquiry makes it difficult for the mind to effectively engage with them. I hope with this work to make the concepts a little more accessible through illustrating some of the more intractible facets for the viewers consideration. I feel that extending the visual language used in this series into 3d animations would be exciting and rewarding work.
The .psd digital image files are large enough that they would translate well into giclee printed canvas after rendering as .png’s, which could then serve as a basis for developing mixed media extensions on the theme.
Çüçen, A. Kadir. 2013, Heidegger’s Reading of Descartes’ Dualism: The Relation of Subject and Object, Uludag University, <http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Cont/ContCuce.htm>viewed 12th September, 2013.
Pritchard, D. 2011, Epistemic Relativism, Epistemic Incommensurability, and Wittgensteinian Epistemology, in A Companion to Relativism (ed S. D. Hales), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi:10.1002/9781444392494.ch14
<http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/people/full-academic/documents/EpistRelativismWitt_000.pdf>viewed 11th September, 2013
Powell, G. 1972, Coleridge’s “Imagination” and the Infinite Regress of Consciousness, in ELH, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 266-278, The Johns Hopkins University Press, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2872246>viewed 12th September, 2013.
Stetsenko, A. 2005, Activity as object related: resolving the dichotomy of individual and collective planes of activity, in Mind, culture, and activity, City University of New York, pp. 70-88, <http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Journal/pdfs/12-1-stetsenko.pdf>viewed 12th September, 2013.