Do these strange works have the ability to
stimulate the unconscious mind?
help me answer that question. Merely study the artwork on this page
before going to bed and see if you, like other people, begin to experience strange dreams.
Then write back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what happened.
Dream Mandala #1
You may have seen some of this artwork elsewhere on my website. I recently designed an online gallery where I displayed many of these pieces along with my other works. To my surprise, I started to receive email from people telling me that these computer "drawings" gave them strange dreams if they studied them for a while before going to sleep!
I've heard from many different individuals who claim that their dreams were in some way effected and enhanced by the artwork presented on this page. It was produced by "kaleidoscoping" various superimposed and distorted sections of drawings by the Italian artist Giovanni Piranesi. The kaleidoscopic method, greatly facilitated by the layering, inverting, and image rotating capacities of Adobe Photo Deluxe, produces infinite variations and often startling and unusual results. I make no claim for the aesthetic originality of these works, and initially created them merely for use as background images on some of my web pages. However, they began to fascinate me, and I decided to present them as individual pieces. They might best be classified as meta-art, i.e. art which derives its subject-matter from numerous image sources and warps it into entirely new compositions.
I initially thought of these images merely as expressions of recurring themes in my own dreams, and entitled them accordingly on the page where they were originally exhibited. I present them to you now with no descriptive titles of my own. I want to find out what you might see in them. The "drawings" are designated numerically and, since most of them are circular and contain images which basically group themselves around a center, they may be defined as types of mandalas similar to those used by Tibetan mystics as aids in meditation.
Dream Mandala #2
My own dreams were especially vivid and strange during the time when I was working on these kaleidoscopic pieces, and other individuals now claim that these bizarre works stimulate their dreams also. As psychologists point out, the human mind responds to imagery on many different levels. Clinicians still employ a well-known set of kaleidoscopic ink-blot images, or Rorschach's, as diagnostic aids in psychiatric settings. People are asked to look at the ink-blots and talk about what they see. Of course, everybody tends to see something different, but a person's responses often supply important data about the hidden processes occurring at an unconscious level in their minds. Other tests based on the interpretation or spontaneous production of images (such as the Thematic Apperception Test and the House-Tree-Person) are used in psychological assessments. In simplified terms, we use a different part of the mind when we respond to visual stimuli, and certain kinds of images seem especially effective at reaching and stimulating the unconscious depths--those mysterious regions of the psyche where dreaming occurs.
Dream Mandala #3
We all possess an innate instinct to form meaningful patterns out of our experiences, and this instinct seems to be stimulated by Rorschach's ink-blots and also, apparently, by the peculiar works displayed here. They all embody certain features which function as potent activators of this inborn ability. The subject matter of the "drawings" possesses an anomalous quality, and most people's initial response when viewing them is to ask "What is that?" This challenges us to define what we see and activates the inner processes which guide our quest for meaning. However, since the "drawings" are visually ambiguous and present "landscapes" in which apparent boundaries between things constantly shift and change, they are capable of multiple interpretations and therefore keep the inner wheels of our imagination turning. New vistas for interpretation keep emerging as you study the images, and the unconscious processes evoked remain activated.
Such visual ambiguity stimulates the imagination, and the kaleidoscopic method amplifies its effect by imparting to each image a kind of vague internal pattern that arouses our instinct for harmony, balance, and organization. At some subterranean level of the personality, we seek to complete the pattern, and our imagination begins to extend and expand it far beyond the framework of the "drawings" and into the deepest dimensions of ourselves and of the hidden worlds around us.
Dream Mandala #4
Works which embody anomaly, visual ambiguity, and indefinite patterning are able to turn on the dreaming mind and cause a kind of shifting of mental gears. Consequently, the dreaming mind gets a head start even before a person goes to sleep, and begins to work in a more focused and concentrated fashion on the task of producing and exploring dreams.
Dream Mandala #5
Pick one of the images that seems the most fascinating to you. As you study this image, begin to ask yourself questions about it.
What is it an image of? A building? A city? A machine made of wood and stone?
What kinds of beings dwell there and what do they do?
What would it be like to walk along the stairways, halls, plazas and walk-ways of such a place?
What kinds of objects would you find?
How would you feel? Curious? Bewildered? Pursued?
Are you a welcome visitor here, or a trespasser in forbidden territory?
Who (or what) might you meet there, and what would happen?
Are the denizens of these strange locations friendly, hostile, secretive, indifferent?
Is this an image of a place here on earth, or are you looking at some architectural fantasy from another world or dimension?
What is the time-frame? Are these ancient ruins, scenes from the distant past, or visions of the future?
Such questions will lead you into the image, and you will find your mind beginning to wander along pathways somehow pre-established for you by the image itself. You will begin to recognize things as sections of the image stir recollections from your past and evoke memories and associations deep within your mind.
Dream Mandala #6
When you go to sleep after meditating on one of these images, you may discover that you have strange dreams; more colorful, intense, and seemingly real than usual. This means that you are sensitive to the imagery of these works and receptive to enhanced inner experiences. You may find that you keep returning to this page to study the "mandalas" again and again. Experiment with all the images. Each one may hold the key to a different world of dreams, each world related to another, like the facets of a crystal, in an arrangement that mirrors your inner landscape or reflects the pattern of a different dimension.
Dream Mandala #7
Dream Mandala #8 (section of larger mandala)
with the strange artwork on this page.
Return to The Seventh Tower