Dream 11/27/17

My friend Alyssa and I are returning home from a concert we went to together. We’re driving home in her car listening to music while conversing through idle chitchat. We end up stopping for Wendy’s for some food. While she goes to the bathroom for an extended amount of time, I sit alone and eat French fries and contemplate about the concert we just came from.

On the road again, we decide to go to Blacklick Park in Reynoldsburg instead of just going home. I then realized that Alyssa’s presence is different than it normally is. She is no longer toxic and manipulative but she also isn’t the exactly the opposite of toxic and manipulative. She does seem more subdued and childlike. She also seems extremely worried about something. She seems to be trying very hard to be accommodating to me but she is having a difficult time in doing so. She also seems like she is hiding a secret of some sort. She’s on the verge of telling me something but she never confesses to what it is.

The neighborhood we are in is the same neighborhood that my mother lives in which is just a couple blocks away from the park. However, the normal streets to get there were no longer the same streets. Since I am more familiar with the area, I take charge charge of the navigation. We never end up at the park but along the way I slowly began to realize that the typical power dynamic of our relationship has been flipped. I am now the one in control of the situation and I can feel Alyssa succumb to my role as the leader. For a moment, a thought of revenge towards her flashes in my mind but I do not act upon it. Instead, I wish to not have this power over her. This is where I wake up.

Need For Speed

French philosopher Paul Virilio is best known for coining the term Dromology, or the science of speed. He states that speed, specifically the speed of people, has been an important factor in the development of society. The government has always manipulated the speed of its people in order to control the movement of its people. An early example of this is the construction of roads within the city’s walls to better mobilize armies during siege tactics. However, the invention of guns made city walls obsolete yet the roads still remained in the city, now allowing the people to utilize this technology and move faster within the city’s borders. The speed of the people is now being limited to prevent possible revolution. Virilio uses the example of highway speed limits to express this.

Virilio also uses speed as a basis to attempt to understand the current human condition. Virilio writes, “The development of high technical speeds would thus result in the disappearance of consciousness as the direct perception of phenomena that informs us of our own existence” (Virilio, Aesthetics of Disappearance 114). By replacing our interactions with our environment with ones that are manufactured or simulated, our interpretations of the world can then become manipulated. Virilio also writes, “… as if virtual images of informatics as well as televisual images were only the syndrome of a coming transparence that would affect, this time, consciousness itself” (Virilio, Lost Dimension 150).

According to Jung, the things that inhabit our consciousness eventually get stored into our subconscious. Jung would come across this through his relationships with his psychiatric patients. Van der Berk writes, “Jung identified many kinds of such contents: desires, impulses, intentions, affections, observances, intuitions, etc. All of this material can be unconsciously stored, either fully or partially, temporarily or permanently” (van der berk 5). If we consciously digest contents that are fabricated or manipulated, then they can also get stored into our psyche, creating false interpretations of the world.

In Stephen M. Kosslyn’s book, Image and Mind, Kosslyn explores the importance of imagery in information storage. He also goes into depth about the experiments he conducted in relation to images and information. Through his experiments, Kosslyn concludes, “Mental images appear in a sort of three-dimensional space. This in no way means that images occur in a real three-dimensional space, but rather in an environment that possesses certain functional properties in common with that type of space” (Kosslyn 108). This three-dimensional space is the same three-dimensional space that occurs in photographs, film, and computer memory. Kosslyn then writes, “… images also allow one to transform information, to mimic dynamic aspects of our environment… we use our imagery as a ‘simulation’ of possible (and, perhaps, of impossible) transformations in the world” (Kosslyn 456).

This simulated space potentially creates a conundrum. By replacing our own conscious level of interaction with that of one that is simulated, we are subjecting our consciousness with imagery that behaves just like our own mental imagery. This potentially allows our unconscious to more readily store the simulated imagery. Kosslyn also writes, “In addition to possibly serving some role in concept learning, reasoning, and pattern recognition, imagery my well serve to make unconscious thoughts and desires manifest in consciousness, as Freud and others have maintained” (Kosslyn 456).

In Jung’s individuation process, he proposes that the inner transformation of an individual becoming a mature individual within society exists within five phases. We constantly flow between these phases and different parts of our being can exist in different phases as well. Van der Berk writes, “The unconscious mind of this modern person functions in the same way as it did for millions of years. The people from ancient times and for the most part also our own great-grandparents were unconscious of their projections, but they knew how to channel their unconscious drives by means of their projections.” Van der Berk continues, “The modern person, who is predominantly engaged with rational consciousness, represses this unconscious world rather than integrating it into his consciousness.” (Van der Berk 41-42). The difference between the modern man and their ancestors is the evolution of technology and the manipulation of conscious material.

Dream 10/19/2017

I am sitting in my high school band class before class begins. I can only make out who two of the people in the full band room, Polina and Mr. Stevens. Mr. Stevens, the band instructor, is gathering our attention to begin conducting us. I fumble putting my clarinet to my mouth as the band starts to play. I find myself unable to play the music correctly. A short time elapses and slowly the rest of the band besides Polina, Mr. Stevens, and I begin to morph into my mother’s living room. The sound of the band also fades away and all that remains is Polina playing. The sound of her music is no longer the sound of a clarinet but rather a more atmospheric and organic sound. Mr. Stevens continues to conduct her as they ignore me.

Polina is sitting in my mother’s chair and my mother is nowhere to be seen. I then begin to play a handheld video game that I played often at my mother’s house when I was younger. In this moment, I feel extremely comfortable and for a brief time I completely ignore the specifics of the moment.

It then hits me that I need to use the restroom. As I make my way towards the restroom, I find that the bathroom door is closed. The bathroom door at my mother’s house is only closed when in use but I go to open the door anyway. Inside, my stepfather is not wearing pants but is wearing a long enough shift to cover his private spots. He then walks past me into the living room where Polina and Mr. Stevens still reside. I then walk into the bathroom and as I close the door I wake up.

Cut The Kid In Half

I was born on May 16th, 1990 to Angela and Richard Van Horn in Columbus, Ohio. Shortly after my birth, my parents divorced. I have no memories of my parents ever being together except one that might be a memory but it also might just be a dream.

My parents agreed on split custody since they both still lived in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The custody schedule they initially made was every Monday and Thursday I would be at my mother’s and every Tuesday and Wednesday I would be at my father’s. The weekends alternated between the two. This schedule made sense when I was young but it became extremely complicated when I started school.

At some point early in my childhood, I became aware that my parents had radically different parenting values. My mother was more interested in schoolwork and art while my father was more interested in sports and finances. These would ultimately create two different versions of myself. There was the son my mother wanted and the son my father wanted which wasn’t always the same thing. The schedule they set in place would require me to jump from identity to identity multiple times a week. It would remain this way up until I went to college.

The optimist in me used to think that this was only a boon. I used to think having these two dramatically different parenting styles made me a more rounded person. In a way it has but the divorce actually has had deep psychological implications too. For example, I find it very difficult to be in romantic relationships because I find myself bending over backwards to make sure there is never any tension in the relationship, which, ironically, always leads to tension in the relationship. The resulting termination of that relationship would then trigger the same emotional response to that of my parents separating.

Turning eighteen was when I was finally free of the custody schedule legally. Though, as an adult, I’ve been able to choose which values I wanted to keep for myself from this situation, I’m still learning and becoming more in tune with the deeper impact that my childhood has had on me as an adult.

Introduction

My studio practice is the night sky where each star is an idea I am interested in exploring. Among these ideas include philosophy, psychology, technology, memories, dreams, and emotions. After studying these stars more closely, I can begin to draw connections between them, forming constellations. My paintings are a direct response to these constellations.

I am using my thesis as away to elaborate on stars that form the points of my constellations. I’ve chosen to approach this by writing my thesis as a series of fragmented sections that cover my interests including, but not limited to, philosophy, psychology, technology, basketball, distance running, memories, and recorded dreams. The goal is to present the material how I gathered the information. I also hope that then the reader can make similar connections that I did while maybe even make connections of their own.

When I presented this material at our thesis symposium, I decided to make a video piece that better captures how these topics accumulate in my consciousness. That video can be found at https://vimeo.com/259577333