July 31, 2018

Daisy Eris Campbell's guide to artmaking in a world of chaos

Circa 2001, when I was having a non-malignant cancerous growth removed from my face right next to my eye, which I'm only now realising could be seen as literally creating a Third Eye, I was reading The Illuminatus Trilogy. It's a big book so I read it in a lot of places, but the main place I remember reading it was a corridor at Birmingham Eye Hospital, waiting for an appointment with an eye specialist to see how they might cut what was essentially a root out of my face without damaging my other two eyes.

(My Third Eye hole is about a centimetre across and was covered with a flap of skin taken from my forehead. It's usually obscured by my glasses. Here's a photo of it.)

I'm far too much of a skeptic to believe that reading that book programmed the next couple of decades of my life, but I'm open to composing a useful narrative along those lines, a disposable fiction if you like. Because watching Daisy Campbell, daughter of Ken Campbell and, along with Pope Higgs, current bearer of the Discordian flame in the UK, felt strangely autobiographical in ways I'll maybe account for another day.

It's also interesting to note that I saw her Cosmic Trigger play in the months before Instructions for Humans, intended to be a landmark show in my emerging artistic career, opened and decided to integrate Robert Anton Wilson into the fabric of the work, from training an AI on his texts to placing a Golden Apple on the gallery shelves. This could be considered an explanation as to why I'm totally confused as to what the fuck happened, what it all meant, and have been unable to fully account for it in the 7 months and counting since it closed. Maybe I opened a door to something beyond consciousness. Or maybe I just fucked it all up.

When I occasionally talk about magic, Daisy's life experience, recounted in this talk at a Robert Anton Wilson event, is what I'm talking about. It's about seeing patterns in the chaos and going with them. I'm good at seeing patterns. I'm not so good at going with them. Or rather I go with them but I then panic as to What It All Means, when the fluctuating, fungible, subjectivity of it all is kinda the point.

Anyway, watch the talk, ignore the enthusiastic camerawork, stick with the bits where she seems to ramble because they're the best, and remember Alan Moore's advice: art and magic are basically the same thing, but then you've got high-art and high-magic and that's when you don't know what the fuck you're doing.


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