"Axis Mundi, Center of the Universe; Communal Cognitive Mosh"

Project Description
PAM PAYNE, Feb 20, 2014

Proposal for: ISEA2014 - 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art
Dubai, October 30 to November 8, 2014

Paper: Axis Mundi, Center of the universe:   circular procession rites and mosh pits, a comparative study

Abstract: Virtually every culture throughout history has a metaphor for the axis mundi or world axis; a bridge linking the earth to heaven, or “normal” wakeful existence to alternate realms. Axis mundi symbols such as the Tree of Life, vines, poles, ladders and columns of light are thought to be metaphors that identify an actual experience of enlightened awareness. The axis mundi is said to mark the center of the universe, also called the omphalos or the earth’s navel, a portal of transcendence. There were several “navels” in ancient Greece, the most famous being the site of the oracle at Delphi who traversed the boundaries of time and space to access wisdom from alternative realms. Although some are fixed in a permanent location there are variations and associated practices which suggest an axis mundi, the bridge to enlightened awareness, can be generated virtually anywhere given the correct conditions. Circumambulation or the ritual movement in a circular pattern, sometimes around a sacred object or area, is a widespread practice that appears in various forms throughout history. One example is the ancient Irish ritual of circling sacred wells. A similar practice is the whirling meditation of the Sufi Dervishes. We currently have a unique opportunity to observe a relatively new circumambulation practice with reportedly similar cathartic effects; the creation of an axis mundi in the form a circle mosh pit at contemporary music festivals. While the correlation of rhythm and consciousness is generally accepted it is not well understood. Rhythm is repetitive pattern, which is oscillation, or circular motion. Do we instinctively pursue a shifted, “heightened” state of consciousness? Why? What insights might we gain from the center of the mosh pit universe?

Project: Axis Mundi, Creating the center of the universe:   Communal Cognitive Mosh

Art Exhibition Proposal: A video mnemonic based on The Art of Memory; knowledge is accessed from alternative realms generating states of inspired lucidity among the viewers as co-creators of the communal cognitive mosh.

A digital video projection/ installation that responds to video web cams and inputs from participants as co-creators onsite and offsite via the internet. The concept is inspired by devices used to traverse the boundaries of consciousness in order to access perspective, insight and inspiration. Borrowing from renaissance alchemist gazing mirrors, or of 13th century Raymon Llull mnemonic wheels, the piece can be enjoyed as a video projection as well as an interactive participatory work. The project is a study of the correlation of synchronized rhythm and consciousness and integrates exercises developed at Stanford University known to induce lucid dreaming - in this case adapted to generate "lucid wakefulness". Viewer participation through mobile and internet selections create a communal cognitive mosh pit and watch for immediate or latent effects in the form of lucid dreams, or unusual ideas and inspirations.

Video Sample: "CAiiA Cairo Circuit" Installation Documentation, Di-Egy Festival 2013

"CAiiA Cairo Circuit" Installation, Exhibited at the Di-Egy Festival 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.

Cairo Circuit Installation

contact: Pam at brickhaus dot com

© 2014 Pam Payne. All rights reserved.