Thursday, December 31, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
railways and cosmology
If we allow ourselves the adventurous abstraction of a "national psychogeography", it would have to be noted that the Norrland limit would probably be an important border in the swedish imagination. The northern two thirds of this elongate country are darker, much more sparsely populated and in popular imagination (both northern and southern) far less civilised than the southern third. The biological and geological border is called "limes norrlandicus" and it partly follows a vague cultural border (if there is one) and runs along the river Dalälven. The lower Dalälven is famous for huge floods and wild nature, including many rare beetles, a lot of eagles, and one of the highest mosquito densities in the entire world. One of the large flooded areas, Storfjärden, with all its flooded dead forest emerging from the water, is probably the original habitat of the original cormorant council (not the dilettants running this webpage). Just north of the outlet is the first norrlandic town, Gävle, with papermills, a coffee roastery and an icehockey team, and not much else. Gävle has appeared in several dreams and interpretation deliria on this site and elsewhere and appears imaginatively important. But we must also ask ourselves more specifically what the Norrland border is about from the viewpoint of the imagination.
Dream this morning:
I am going with the trans-dalälven railway, in a new set of tiny plastic cars. First we're going north, and when we meet the river we turn right and most of the route goes west-east at the edge of the water. It is beautiful but the actual views remind me more of Florida swamps. Opposite me sits a guy looking like a rock musician, pretending to sleep, I'm sure he doesn't have a ticket. I don't know if I have one.
(Flashback: I have recently moved in with a girlfriend in a new apartment in a hypermodern apartment complex - or perhaps rather 60s Science Fiction style. She´s not there, and I'm not comfortable there with or without her. The walls towards the main corridor are transparent, so everybody can see me as I sit down in the hallway, spreading out all the stuff in my pockets on the floor in front of me. I sit there looking at the assorted items in despair, trying to make up a combination of objects that would possibly be valid as a train ticket.)
And here comes the conductor. To my surprise, the rock musician does have a ticket, and something I produce works too. So that wasn't really a problem. The conductor splits into three persons, two continue along the train and one remain with us, looking out the window and holding a soliloquoy in danish. I don't quite understand what he's talking about.
The swamps are lush, and there is large amounts of debris floating around as if from some major wreckage. I keep thinking this is all part of the restauration process, but I can't remember what it looked like before.
On the walls of the car there is a series of framed blackandwhite photographs. The first one depicts two stereotypic teenage girls in white summer dresses looking into the camera. In the following pictures (or do they replace the first one rather than follow next to it?), the girls make some efforts to incarnate some 50s or 60s concept of swedish sin, basically by making really stupid-looking american cheerleader moves, and occasionally flashing their breasts. It's awful, but I fail to look away, because I get the impression that the whole world is suspended between the facial expression of rational resoluteness of one and that of flabby improvisation of the other, and of the firmness of the breasts of one and the softness of those of the other, their opposite senses of being sisters. Yes, those oppositions do sound a bit stupid too but it's very subjectively captivating.
The two teenagers standing next to the pictures might be them. Their stupid name is "Rudy Gullet" (in english). They look ordinary and sound ordinary, but the questions they are posing are interesting enough for me to cut into the conversation, providing whatever information I might possess to contribute to answering the questions. So I tell them about the huge restauration project, the new dams and flooding of new areas. They reply that they consider it similar to their own ongoing experiment of reinventing the world by making a thin dough, covering it with the blood of innocents, then spreading out bits and pieces of everything there might be, and finally smoothing out the surface by applying a transparent lunar matrix. They bake it on the radiator of the railway car. I am somehow very excited to realise how they have reinvented the art of pizza-making in their cosmological quest.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Intentions have been referred to of introducing the concept of dream meteorology at this site, paralell with promises to introduce the concept of synaesthesia. Waiting for the proper introduction of the former I cannot refrain from calling attention to an early morning hypnagogy poem of mine, posted (in swedish) at the Biografier åt okrossbara hälleflundror site, where I experienced a synaesthetic dream weather.
It is one of those half-awake syntheses of desperately struggling to deliriously rationalise an incoherent set of remembered and strongly felt minor dream fragments.
The sky was becoming overcast, a disjunct cover of altocumulus or stratocumulus was painted on the sky as I watched, consisting of the sound of breasts.
This image seems to me simultaneously ridiculous and effective, and I really enjoyed experiencing the reality of it.
We would like to see others' experiences of how weathers are manifested (and what they are actually made of) in dreams-
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
In a study of synaesthetic children Dr Simner has showed that "synaesthetic associations (e.g. a = carmine red) develop from chaotic pairings into a system of fixed, consistent cogno-sensory responses over time". This study and other related research suggests that the neurological basis for synaesthetic cognition is open to change through habits, choices and efforts of systematizing.
In this type of studies a distinction between being a synaesthete (which only a few are) and being a non-synaesthete that can have synaesthetic associations (which most people have) is made.
A developed synaesthetic condition consists in the ability to perceive spontaneously and consistently connections across the separate senses.
Researchers into this field have often repeated that the synaesthetically cognated colours for musical notes or for vowels are specific to the individual synaesthete, and does not represent an objective substratum of reality.
A lot of this research is about measuring activity in neural pathways and comparing the two test-groups. Nevertheless, "full-blown" synaesthetic phenomena are to some degree open to anyone´s experience under certain conditions, for example during periods of insomnia, in hypnagogic reverie or in fever dreams.
Also, non-synaesthetes can have synaesthetic associations in ordinary states of mind. Such synaesthetic associations are of a more ephemeral nature, where social conventions and mental effort play in. Mnemotechnical methods that utilize mental images of spatial arrangements would be an active example of this. Everyday cognition that makes use of visual metaphors to make sense of the world would be a passive example. Synaesthetic associations of this kind are usually not perceived as vividly as the eidetic imagery of non-ordinary states, neither do they occur with the certainty about the correlation that proper synaesthetes seem to experience, but rather take place within thinking (if such a distinction is meaningful).
A reasonable interpretation of the research presented here, is that the neurological basis for synaesthetic cognition is open to change through habitual choices and efforts of systematizing even for non-synaesthetes.
The surrealist group of Stockholm once conducted an experiment in the intersubjectivity of synaesthetic association, where abstract concepts were imagined systematically, in a joint effort, as if they were concrete objects possessing sensual traits. The focus for this experiment/game was on poetic materialism; thus an emphasis on material qualities such as texture, colour, morphology prevailed. If you want to, you can read about it here.
Naturally, an investigation into the concrete dimension of the abstract could be taken in other directions too.
One of the aspects of synaesthesia of space-time was for example called "ordinal-linguistic personification". Example:"You might not have a colour for Thursday, but you know that it's a young girl who has spent too long kept in the house and wants to break out into the world."
This type of animistic thinking resembles mythological imagination, for examples:
Kronos: greek god of general time.
Aeons; immense successive units of time, that were personalized in gnostic mythology.
The Four Riders of the Apocalypse.
(Arguably, modern anthropomorphic personifications from everyday language and scientific jargon, like Planck time, indian summer, the wolf hour, the Gaussian year (365.2568983 days), also play a part of mythic imagination.)
According to present-day metaphorical standards time is usually conceptualized as a journey. But this also implies the traveller; time is crawling, flying et c.
So, what types of moments of time can be "ordinal-linguisticually personificated"?
Taking a lead from the swedish author Göran Palm, who once asked, through a book title of his, "Why don´t the nights have any names?", I´ll ask:
- Who is the night before monday, which person or entity personificates the night before tuesday et c? Let´s fill out a week of personificated nights.
Any method will do, of course, but perhaps finding the answer in a dream from the particular night which is being investigated lies close at hand.
/ N N
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009