RARE EARTH SCULPTURES: Neodymium

SMALL MAITREYA SOLAR CROSS, EXO TERRA SUN GLO HALOGEN NEODYMIUM REPTILE LAMP, FEMALE BEARDED DRAGON, DRIFTWOOD, 15:42 min AUDIOTRACK, PHILIPS SHOQBOX BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, TERRARIUM 214 X 114 X 154 CM, 2011/2014

Published in Rare Earth, Sternberg press 2014

INTRODUCTION

E N E R G Y⋮P A N G E A (energypangea.org) is an umbrella identity and multi-trajectory accumulator for the development of transmedia sculptural systems. The project, in its development since late 2010 works towards the idea of structural collapse and reformation as an opportunity for unforeseen cognitive shifts geared towards new perspectives on lifestyle, the economy and the planet. These shifts are taken towards exploring the potentials, speculations, collective imagination and mythical basis which is extrapolated from a co-dependency and interrelationship with the material world, having its foundation and dependency built primarily on tellurian resources. In this sense, ENERGY is taken to mean an exploration of transference between A power supply and its possible or imagined transduction.

Individual projects and developments which fall under the Energy Pangea umbrella are simultaneously created as autonomous artworks whilst also acting within a signified relationship with the designed interface of social and networked relations, intentionally presenting a critical perspective on how meaning and connections are co-created, formed or perceived – in so doing, the project wears the clothes of a think-tank or collective organisation as a designed operating system or interface, however, this is presented within the framework of individual artistic practice.

The Rare Earth Sculpture Project acts within Energy Pangea as a spinal column – providing a structural basis for producing sculptural systems – each project (within the wider project) is amorphous and unified through the meanings and connections which are created via ongoing modular developments which exist around each subject – embedding pre-existing and newly created narratives. Each sculptural system is assigned a unique Rare Earth Element which is worn by the sculpture. The sculpture then acts as part-actual and part-parody of an innovation, metaphorical technology or product which is constantly adapting to its environment and re-releasing itself, one which is synthesized and fabricated through its associative interaction with the narrative potential of each rare earth element.

NEODYMIUM

Neodymium was the first Rare Earth Sculpture developed for Energy Pangea in 2011. As a sculptural system, the project uses a symbiotic positioning array, exploring the relationship between a series of actants, each of which either contains Neodymium or has some kind of connection to the element. The primary agents in the sculptural system consist of a Small Matrayer Solar Cross, a female bearded dragon, a 15:42 minute audio track and a textual component. To accompany these the project also includes neodymium reptile lamps and later has employed a Philips Shoqbox Bluetooth speaker and terrarium built specifically for the exhibition at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.

The project text component reads as the following ;

During the later part of the 18th Century amidst the Industrial Revolution, developments in the coal and iron industries ended thousands of years of reliance on the life-preserving rhythm of the sun in replacement with the dread ticking of the clock. Thus modern capitalism embarked on a two hundred year-long insurrection against the creator of all life on earth. When the coal and iron industries diminished during the 1900s the earth’s rebellion against its creator was far from over. New industries in crude oil and rare metals arose to continue the perpetual drilling, digging and unearthing of the rebel energy sources.

The Small Maitreya Solar Cross is both a sacred and ancient symbol of adornment to the sun’s immense power and to bespoke, high-end products of consumer culture which point their middle finger at the sky. At its retail price of £682.50, it is a shrine to the precious metals that lay within the earth’s crust. The bearded dragon which sits next to the Solar Cross presents another paradox. She basks underneath a neodymium lamp in captivity whilst her wild relatives are threatened in their natural habitat due to global warming.

120bpm does more than move the dance floor; this repetition, this constant meditation on these subjects asks for one thing: we want the Sun back*…

* NEURAL OSCILLATIONS ARE A RHYTHMIC OR REPETITIVE NEURAL ACTIVITY IN THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. REPETITIVE AND MEDITATIVE METHODS SUCH AS BRAINWAVE ENTRAINMENT CAN BE APPLIED TO LOWER THE THRESHOLD OF CONSCIOUSNESS THROUGH DRUM BEAT AND OTHER TECHNIQUES, THUS MOVING NEURAL ACTIVITY INTO A POSITION BETWEEN THE TWO BRAIN HEMISPHERES TOWARDS THE PINEAL GLAND “PRINCIPAL SEAT OF THE SOUL”.

THE PARIETAL EYE, ALSO KNOWN AS A PARIETAL ORGAN OR THIRD-EYE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REGULATING THE CIRCADIAN RHYTHM IN REPTILES, OFTEN VISIBLE AT THE TOP OF THE HEAD.

EXPOSURE TO LIGHT IN REPTILES AND HUMANS ALIKE CAN SET OFF A CHAIN REACTION OF ENZYMATIC EVENTS WITHIN THE PINEAL GLAND WHICH REGULATE CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS.

SMALL MAITREYA SOLAR CROSS

The Small maitreya solar cross is a planetary healing device sold for $980 by a company called Shambhala Healing Tools. The healing tools are sold through the division of a new-age cult called The Church Of Shambhala which has its monastic headquarters in Kelseyville, California USA and a meditation centre and shop in Glastonbury, England. The cult is headed by an American man called Ronald Lloyd Spencer who considers himself to be the Buddha Maitreya. The Solar Cross uses metatronic design principles such as the metatrons cube which reference aspects of sacred geometry. It contains gold, neodymium magnets, copper and lab-grown quartz. Because the solar cross comprises mined precious metals primarily used in high-tech gadgetry, computing and information storage – a tension is made visible between the objects tellurian basis and its narrative, which is representative of the supreme divinity and godly power of the sun.

The narrative, which includes speculative, new age and pseudo-scientific beliefs concerning the power of crystals and the transduction of energies that are difficult to measure and detect is tied together in a complex relationship with the status of the object as a luxury commodity item. To quote the companies website, The Small Maitreya Solar Cross is ;

“Used for meditation, healing and often hung to bless and transform the energy of any space aligning to more harmony and right relationship in life. The Maitreya Solar Cross helps create a sacred, monastic space allowing one the ability to meditate deeply, self-heal and align to higher telepathy and the Monad, the Mind of God.”

The multiple paradox of the status of the object sets the dualistic and contradictory forces in motion which become a transduction of one energy into another, forming part of the Neodymium sculptural system as the mining and plundering of the Earth for resources and its status as consumer object act in contrast to its pre-modern representation of traditional belief structures concerning the role of the sun, employing sacred science and alchemical processes.

ADULT FEMALE BEARDED DRAGON.

Strategically positioned in combination with the solar cross is a female bearded dragon, part of the Pogona reptile genus native to Australia. The live reptile acts to further install the paradox at the heart of the interrelationship between the sculptures actants. Bearded dragons have a well-developed Parietal eye (third eye) which is often visible at the top of their heads. In evolutionary terms, the Parietal eye is associated with the pineal gland in humans and mammals.

The Sun in 2011 and visible Parietal eye on a Bearded Dragon

As an important concept within the belief-systems present in mystical, esoteric, eastern traditions and many ancient civilisations such as those of Egypt, Babylon and Sumer, the third eye has significant importance as an instrument of perception beyond ordinary sight. As an evolutionary biological mechanism, the parietal eye and pineal gland are thought to be responsible for regulating the Circadian rhythms in the organism – having evolved as an early photoreceptive eye. The chain reaction of enzymatic events within the pineal gland and parietal eye effectively instil a direct connection to the Sun in relation to the organism and the planet.

In humans, this regulates the release of the hormones melatonin and serotonin in the brain – helping to establish sleep-wake cycles. In addition to this, a 2013 study found evidence of the psychedelic compound N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in microdialysate obtained from a rat’s pineal gland, providing evidence of endogenous DMT in the mammalian brain. As the calcification and de-activation of the pineal gland tend to occur with age and through a myriad of modern environmental factors, the sculpture aligns with the ancient value and significance placed on keeping the visionary centre or third eye open well into adulthood. Rather than literally crystallizing with age or due to increased pressures of adult life and the modern mechanised technological condition leading towards states of depression, the suggestion is that we need to reconnect with the planet and ourselves beyond capitalism and modern alienation and open up our photoreceptive and psychedelic capabilities.

In combination with this, the idea that developments since the industrial revolution have enabled us to rebel against the Sun whilst simultaneously creating or submitting to the oppressive nature of a synthesised, artificial or symbolic new Sun suggests that this paradox is deep-rooted. Asking how we might reconnect to the planet, to ourselves (or the universe even, in its mediocrity of matter and resources) without being deterministically oppressed by our dependency on it? How do we rebel against the Sun’s tyranny whether or not we are literally or symbolically attached to it? Has capitalism in its industrial and post-industrial manifestations been merely a tantrum against the Sun’s oppression only to reinforce submission to an artificial and symbolic new Sun? Is there a case for actual rebellion against our solar godhead? And perhaps the only way is to reconnect, somehow, indeterminately and without enslavement; through acceleration?

NEODYMIUM REPTILE LAMPS

Coincidentally Neodymium is also used as a component in some reptile lamps. The product description of the Exo Terra SUN GLO Neodymium reptile lamp states that;

“Tropical reptiles and especially desert reptiles such as bearded dragons require the kind of temperatures they would experience in their natural habitat and it is important to monitor these heat levels. A Neodymium coating is used on the outside of the lamp to reduce the yellow glow for a whiter daytime light.“

In its mimicking of the Sun’s energy, the sculpture utilises the neodymium lamp, which parallels the same role as that of the solar cross in its relation to the sun. Effectively, both these objects represent a rebellion against the suns energy whilst at the same time being representative of its power position. In their natural habitat, bearded dragons are threatened due to the effects of global warming. Reliance on a neodymium lamp rather than the life-giving rays of the sun is symptomatic of the effects of carbon emissions and the modernist tendency to synthesise new environments whilst destroying native ones. The tendency to mine the planet for resources and rely on tellurian rather than solar forms of energy is a measured contribution to the Anthropocene, as an example of the effects human activity has had on the planet since the industrial revolution.

SOUNDTRACK

http://www.mediafire.com/file/92y3pb1j6hxahxs/Neodymium_Soundtrack.zip/file

For the RARE EARTH at TBA21 a Philips Shoqbox Bluetooth speaker, a product that is powered by two neodymium drivers was included to play the soundtrack.

The project soundtrack was produced to take into account the context-specific narrative of the sculptural system of interacting components and the principles of brainwave entrainment were employed to lower the threshold of consciousness through drum beat and other techniques. In theory, using a sonic resonance that aligns to frequencies produced inside the brain provokes the unleashing of the repressed or blocked forces of the unconscious which were described by Carl Jung and practised within Shamanic traditions. The use of a lizard along with a rhythmic and meditative episode is at the same time symbolic and representative of the early evolutionary mind or ‘reptilian complex’ located at the base of the brain where it connects to the spinal column. By temporarily shutting down the prefrontal cortex, the suggestion is that we need to re-connect our instinct with the world beyond oil and modern solar rebellion – to reactivate our connection with the planetary system and re-establish humanities innate desires and potential.

EPILOGUE

As well as being the site of intuitive and primordial knowledge, the limbic system in the brain is associated with the territorial and ritual displays associated with the iconic fight or flight mechanism – to these ends, the early brain’s connection with the sun and the cycles of the planet represent the kind of conservatism associated with a return to the belief-structures found in traditional and pre-modern societies.

The importance of the mythology and symbolism of the sun and the serpent found throughout the ancient Egyptian, Mayan and Aztec cultures trace back to Mesopotamia and are found within the biblical tale of the serpent of Eden, as well as the Sumerian depictions of the pinecone-shaped pineal gland and the Egyptian Eye of Horus. The suggestions of an ancient primordial knowing and the divine value placed on this part of the brain, corresponding to a sacred science of the pre-enlightenment are represented by the pineal gland itself or the serpent in its relationship to the sun as the creator.

The war against the Sun – was a three-day conference held in Limehouse town hall, London UK, in March 2013. The conference was part of A Matter of Contradiction – a series of seminars and workshops organised by Sam Basu, Fabien Giraud, Ida Soulard and Tom Trevatt. Its subject considered how the emergence of the project of the enlightenment and the appearance of what has been termed the Anthropocene, developing since the Industrial Revolution and its evolution into today’s advanced capitalist economy has worked together to oppose, control and exploit natural resources. Describing how art has positioned itself as a shield against the trauma of scientific reason, it was argued that Art has adopted an immunological status, having the capabilities for rehabilitation against the shock of the Anthropocene.

In turn, capitalism and the wider rebellion against the Sun causes an array of negative autoimmunological effects on the organism and the planet as Carl Jung suggests;

“Grounds for an unusually intense fear of death are now nowadays not far to seek: they are obvious enough, the more so as all life that is senselessly wasted and misdirected means death too. This may account for the unnatural intensification of the fear of death in our time, when life has lost its deeper meaning for so many people, forcing them to exchange the life-preserving rhythm of the aeons for the dread ticking of the clock.”

But if modernism and scientific reasoning has caused a de-activation of our pineal glands, resulting in autoimmune diseases and a loss of vital energy in the organism, reduced to mere biological mechanism- is the only option a return to the tyranny of the sun? In an essay entitled Drafting The Inhuman; Reza Negrestani says ;

“If according to Freud, the development of the organism is molded by the extensive correlation between the earth and the sun, then what are the implications of this relation for terrestrial thought? For it seems that the earth’s conservative-dissipative correlation with the sun has entrenched its traces in thought as a dominant model for the economy, topology and dynamism of life. This is not just because a major part of formations on the planet (including all human endeavours) are directly contingent upon the sun, but also because the sun’s exorbitant exteriority ingrains a conservative image of exteriority in thought. Such exorbitant exteriority can only be bound as an affordable dissipative tendency which rigidly limits the image of exteriority and in doing so, restricts all other possible ways of binding exteriority. The energetic sun-earth axis has become a burdening chain for the terrestrial image of thought insofar as it constitutes the exclusivist model of death and dissipation which restricts the scope of thought in regard to its own death. The question, to this extent, is how to break the hegemonic model of the sun in regard to death and exteriority without submitting to another star, another horizon or even investing in the truth of extinction whose exorbitance leads to the restrictions reminiscent of those imposed by solar excess.”

(RES) Neodymium, installation at TBA21, Rare Earth Exhibition 2014

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