Just so they don't disappear in the piles of randomness on my dying computer…

a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words and objects performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence prenatural entities of forces on behalf of the actor's goal and interests (Turner 1977:183)

Ritual can be social, public and systematic

Van Gennep Rites of Passage:

  • Phase 1: separation
  • Phase 2: Transition (Liminality)
  • Phase 3: Re-agregation

Turner focused on Phase 2

Processes involve communitas (comradeships), tribal wisdom, structure vs. anti-structure

Synthetic ritual

  • goddess rituals
  • wild-man retreats
  • native ceremonials

Ritual is cyclical, involves personal transformation.

Ritual is aformal behavior, prescribed for occasions not given over to technological routine, that give reference to beliefs in mystical beings or powers.

Ritual symbols reflected a culture. shifting and changing symbols as a key to understanding a culture.

multivocalic and polysemic nature of symbols and their ability to bring together seemingly disparate significata which are represented by the symbolic vehicle and the polarisation of the referents assigned to the major ritual symbol.

Methodology (Turner) - the interpretation of symbols operating in dynamic systems of sygnifiers, their meanings,a nd changing modes of signification, in the context of temporal sociocultural processes.

Ritual symbol is the smallest unit of ritual which still retains the specific properties of ritual behavior. The ritual symbol is defined by semantic relationships. It also stretches between two poles: the ideological and the sensory. The ritual symbol joins these two opposing poles together and offers both emotion and social values… Sometimes two ritual symbols are placed so that they oppose each other and offer another meaning within the context of a culture.

More simplistic the ritual symbols and their combinations, the more universal the message.

Symbols have 3 different dimensions:

  • operational: shows the simultaneous meaning between the symbol and its


  • exegetic: explanation of the symbol's meaning by the actors within the


  • positional: relationship between symbols.

Ritual systems include actions, objects, events and words for communication with unseen powers.

Each culture has multiple themes which are expressed, and within each theme there exist multiple ritual symbols. The theme promotes a concept or activity within a given culture, and the ritual symbol expresses a theme.


  • manifest: directly related with the goal of the ritual itself.
  • latent: the observer may or may not fully understand later.
  • hidden: related to those thing that are shared with all members of a

Pantheism -Shamanism -Mysticism

Life is a destination —Follow a path towards a bliss (union with God)

The universe is divine. The divinity is everywhere inside you and outside you and you can never be separated from it.

A mind alert to vibrant reality, in touch with the senses…

Body's pleasures are good, not evil.

For transcendental religions, the whole earth, like the body is merely a temporary stage which will be destroyed before the last judgement, or will vanish when we realize that it is mere illusion. But this earth is not a staging post and it is not an illusion.

Beyond dualism: the cosmic egg, all is interconnected, body-world continuum

The world shaman comes from the language of the Evenk, a small group of Tungus speaking hunters and raindeer herders in Siberia: it is a practicioner who can will his or her spirit to leave the body and journey to upper or lower worlds.

Spirits are concious, often antropomorphic, and can also be interpreted as representing the essences that underlie the surface appearances.

Layered cosmology, with the Earth as a center of various upper and lower worlds.

spirit helpers….

Belief in Shamans seems strongest in the hunter-gatherer society. However, because shamanic thinking is flexible and adaptable, it often persists even in complex urban societies.

A shaman, usually a woman, serves as an intermediary between the two worlds.

Death is not the end of existence, it is merely another phase.

Some ancient worldviews are being reintegrated into the chaotic post-soviet debates… Villagers who were converts to Communism collected shamans' drums for public burning.

A trance without a drum is difficult… the Amazonians' use of psychedelics was a minority practice. The much more common method to enter the shaman's altered state of consciousness was monotonous percussive sound, achieved especially through drumming…. monotonous drumming, in a frequency of four to seven beats per second, was another valid doorway to the other reality. This sonic driving is in app. the same frequency as the brain's own theta waves, and its effectiveness is probably due to its stimulation of the brain in that range. Compared with drugs, such drumming was also safe, and its effects were short term… most of the world's shamans use drums or other percussion instruments as horses or canoes that transport them into the hidden reality of the spirits. Sami (lapps) of Northern Scandinavia, still have something called the magic drum.

Shaman tradition in Europe was destroyed in the middle ages by the church and the inquisition.

Shamanism is also a healing practice.

White shamanism is a form of cultural imperialism. Spirituality is not for sale.

Here's community, meaning, belonging - all the connectedness for which the self-absorbed, postindustrial, fragmented individual yearns. There is a bitter irony in turning to indigenous peoples to solve problems of affluent urbanities.

Hildegard von Bingen, Sybil of the Rhyne

She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing

theology of micro and macrocosm. Human as a mirror through which the splendor of the macrocosm is reflected.

Ancient greek cosmology of the four elements/humours:

  • fire-heat-body-choler (yellow bile)
  • air-dryness-blood
  • water-moisture-phlegm
  • earth-cold-melancholy (black bile)

Human constitution was based on the preponderance of one or two of the humors.

First description of the female orgasm:

When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man's seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and as soon as the woman's sexual organs contracts, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can hold something enclosed in his fist.

– the strength of the semen determined the sex of the child, while the amount of love and passion determine child's disposition. The worst case, where the seed is weak and the parents feel no love, leads to a bitter daughter.

Music – means of recapturing the original joy and beauty of paradise.

Hildegard believed in an invisible relationship between science and spirituality, and this spirituality was recognized in art, music and poetry.

Music wakes us from our sluggishness Music makes cold hearts warm. Humans are the musical instruments of god.

Music throughout the past had been a revelation of what is to come in the future.

Melody revealed the true meanings directly to the soul through bodily vibrations.

the binding of music to god: BREATH.

Her compositions were incredibly physical. Quiet, lyrical passage followed by a shocking loud outbursts and shouts. makes the use of parallelism, subtle effects of emphasis within text and music, melismatic melodies, sylabic phrases and recitation styles… early use of thematic material… lyrical speech breaks into rhapsodic emotion. Music was an all-embracing concept. Balanced proportions of the revolving celestial spheres. Music was a sacred technology. … uses extremes of register to bring heaven and earth together.

The heights of her songs are like spires of gothic cathedrals shooting upwards into the sky.

Instruments: means to soften the heart and direct it toward god.

Tambourine inspires discipline. The skin of the tambourine is spread tightly over the frame, like that of a fasting body.

Flute - breath of the spirit

Trumpet: the voice of the prophets

Strings -stir up emotions, earthly condition of the soul.

Harp - heavenly blessedness

Organ - helps create community

Th. Moore: When we have the courage to be ourselves, we leave a mark in this world. When we let our unique gifts shine, we sting the world with our vision and challenge new ways of being.

Other mystics to consider:

  • John Scotus Eriugena: humans are a microcosm of the universe
  • Bernard of Clairvaux: mystical vision of rhapsodic love
  • Albertus Magnus: close connection science mysticism
  • Beatrice of Nazareth (B): female heretics
  • Mechthild of Magdeburg: feminine images in mysticism
  • Rhamon Llull alchemist and magician. interrelation of all things
  • Hadewijch of Brabant/Antwerp: love mysticism
  • Jan van Ruysbroeck: stages of mystical life
  • Richard Rolle: physicality of mystical experience
  • Julian of Norwich: mystical experience at the time of death.
  • Teresa of Avila: stages of the mystical journey
  • Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim: magic and alchemy as

spiritual life

  • Paracelsus: alchemy, astronomy and natural philosophy
  • Valentin Weigel nature mysticism
  • Jacob Boehme: german mysticism
  • Leibnitz: monadology
  • Johan Gottfried Herder: blend science and mysticism into vitalism.
  • Alchemists of transmutation. Trying to understand the connections in the



  • mysticism or virtual reality as opposed to documentation (examples

throughout photography, film)

  • mysticism is less colorful than reality; sharp contrasts between light

and darkness served to create a mystic or sublime atmosphere.

CD Friedrich: european art of symbolic landscape; altar pieces as pure landscape.- combines natural scientific results with poetic interpretation. SEA OF ICE….


Color BLUE: undefined space without limits and borders. Phenomena rather than objects.

  • served as a substitute for the idea of heaven.
  • electricity changed the perception of color.
  • difficult to produce in high quality.

Color and light were separated from each other until a lightened projection screen such as a monitor was created. With the introduction of monitors the qualia of color has changed. – the invention of a dark room: the eyes are stimulated only by one possible source of visual information e.g. with goggles.

dark room as a metaphor of the mind: artists are on their way to visualize consciousness.

Most of these visualisations will put the viewer into a dark room with no objects but procedures and processes in time are perceivable. Although Cyberspace is black and endless, without borders, it seems to transport the sybolic and mystified notion that was connected with the color blue 1000 years ago.

Jean Paul (Die unsichtbare loge): the hero is sucked like a dewdrop into a blue flower. The flower plays a central role in the plot.

The blue and the feminine share an active power of attraction. – gendering of the color blue. Goethe: As we readily follow an agreeable object that flies from us, so we love to contemplate blue, not because it advances, but beacuse it draws us after it.

Runge: diagram conceived of the warm (yellow-orange) side of the circle as male and the cool (violet-blue) as female – responding to the chemical ideals of Steffens – red - a symptom of the contracting, oxygenizing effect in metals, blue as a sign of the more expansive effect of hydrogen. Kandinsky: the other way around (blue-male): yellow excentric, blue-concentric.

The deeper blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure, and finally the supernatural. As it deepens towards black, it assumes overtones of a superhuman sorrow. The brighter it becomes, the more it looses its sound, until it turnes into silent stilness and becomes white. Represented in musical terms, light blue resembles the flute, dark blue the cello, darker still and wonderful sound of the double bass; while in a deep, solemn form the sound of blue can be compared to that of the deep tones of an organ.

The color blue and its history of making, use and interpretation - is it really the same as the one we produce with the electronic media?

Color is an integrative part of an object in the world, being percievable only with a certain amount of light.

Jarman: blindness leaves people with the color blue.

The monochrome is a kind of alchemy, efficiently devoid of all personality. It articulates the silence itself. It constitutes a fragment of an infinite piece of work with no boundaries. Blue is the landscape of freedom.


  • navigable structure is an articulation of space.
  • the sequence in which the spectator experiences different vistas forms

a unique reading of that space.

  • structure has to invite wandering – the correct route is unimportant
  • it is an unfolding experience of exploration and discovery, the

collection of points of view resulting in a personal reading of the work.

  • make the method of interaction as familiar aas possible
  • identity is the reflection of the decisions
  • emphasising certain kinds of relationships, while discouraging others
  • charges space politically
  • limiting available options

Difficult to sense interaction in situations where one is simultaneously affecting all parameters. The interactor's sense of personal imapct on an interactive system grows up to a point, as their freedom to affect the system is increasingly limited. The constraints provide a frame of reference, a context, within which interaction can be perceived.

Freedom exists only in relation to the established structure.

An interactive artwork is loosening the authority of the traditional work but at the same time interfering in the interactor's subjective process of interpretation..

The interactor can easily be pushed beyond reflection to the edge of instinct, capable only of visceral response to the system's stimuli, mirroring the system rather than the reverse.

Interactive artists create relationships; creativity: representing relationships in a functional way.

Environment: a city as well as a myth. Definable through their outsideness component: territories of voyage, endeavor, discovery and conquest, but also territories of resistance, exile and rebelliousness. There is no gap anywhere and at the same time there is nowhere without any cruel split. Disparities shift into a permanent coexistence.

How to represent a world on which we haven't any comprehensive view, nor any global vision. – same as the first greek cartographers

Approaching Urban Virtuality and the Fuzzy topology of Cyberspace, requires to rebuild other laws for global synthesis.

In a perspectivist representation, distances and posititons structure the world and rule the hierarchical power-order on the scene. Perspectivist laws of the space did not protect us from anything.

In the antique world in Greece as in the Far East, the Subject was smelted with his environment, he was living in a body-world continuum.

Beyond military technologies or the video-games that still oscilate between speed, elimination or atomisation of the other.

The search for new adaptive processes able to reply to the collisions between the multi-fold layers of the reality becomes a question of ethical emergency. A morphogenetic matrix is whence initiated for unsettled complexities, turbulent textures and fugitive fluctuations.

The whole as an alive order, with cognitive and intelligence principles.

2 geometries:

  • 1. noe-euclidean for the construction of the VE/world
  • 2. Euclidean for the story elements
    • to distinguish story from environment?
    • familiar in the unfamiliar: mystic visions are of different order than

stories. Stories are thier translation into the common language.

Can the grid of the world be measured while the immersant is interacting, so that every next user gets a new grid, based on the actions of he previous user?

How much video can we use? Do we work with one or multiple participants? How do we use the tactile display: can we make the users crawl ob the floor?

Structure should be seen as geographical choreography: can be based on user's movements, generated on the fly… (mike Murtaugh)

The beginning should always be different: distortion of reality. From the world of stories to the world of visions – interconnected changeable universe.

Time based media should be active only when the immersant focusses on them (walks a step closer, or keeps the eye/head in one position for a some time. If the user turns away, the media textures disolve in the abstract transparent surface. – media – reflections from the organic world.

The environment is built out of contextual architecture. if you don't want to hear any stories, they will remain as vague textures in the environment. You see than only shadows, flashes and whispers of the stories.

Interaction with the story elements: manipulation of the timeline? feel its vibrations? stop and stand completely still, as when experiencing a vision. Breath…

We should trigger constant movement.

If you are interested in a particular story/media element, focus until the texture becomes completely visible, at some point, the texture could be 'hooked' to your movement, so that you can bring it in connection with another texture, and create new context/hyperlink.

Bringing different textures/media closer to each other can generate new passages to other stories. Some of the media, that are contextually incompatible, have a negative magnetic force that does not allow them to be connected. These links can be reversible (if you put two things together that are not too close to each other contextually) or irreversible: you open a big new thread of the stories, that contextually cannot go back.

Videos should be or textures or separate figures integrated in the environment, no media blocks.

Sound: a trigger or guide for interaction. Sent direted from one source. If the head is turned in that direction, the visuals slowly appear.

4-7 bps - trance… maybe from the floor, as vibrations

what do you do when having a vision? the body usually freezes, or is involved in a trance-like, monotonous movements, usually staring at something or behind something for way too long time, until your eyes dry out…

Poetry inhabited. When bricks become pixels, the tectonics of architecture becomes informational. Worlds are portals. Woven through the worlds are several webs of non linear narrative.

… deconstruction of classical spatiality, where the visual detaches from the geometric, where space is no longer comprehended as/in straight lines. The look no longer rests on a spatial plane as a point of deep focus, but flees upon sinuous perspectival lines, targeting infromation on a bias, on curved trajectories.

  • space →spacing
  • distance→thickness of information.

Maja Kuzmanovic


  • goto0_notes.txt
  • Last modified: 2011-04-02 04:02
  • by maja