04 Mar Totem: Manifesto
I’ve been toying with its idea long enough. Now is the time to articulate what I have learned and what this series is trying to accomplish. I wasn’t sure what the Totem was in the beginning. As I continued to develop it, the art community started providing feedback. In a way, The series emerged as a collective effort. Drawing together people from around the world. This also represents what the Totem is, a connection point between people.
To explain, the series takes inspiration from Rupert Sheldrake’s hypothesis of memory called ‘Morphic Resonance.’ Conventionally, memory is thought to be stored in the brain. However, locating the signature of memory in brain tissue proves to be impossible. This suggests that the brain is not a storehouse but could act like an antenna, tuned to pick up past experiences.
The question arises, if not localized in brain tissue, where are our memories? If they are outside the brain, could we tune into other people’s memories? Rupert thinks we do. He calls this ‘collective memory.’ In this case, besides an individual’s personal memory, there would also be a generalized background of human experience that we draw upon. Similar to Carl Jung’s collective unconscious.
From this hypothesis, the obelisk in the Totem series stands as a conceptual psychic antenna, representing a ‘thought-form’ of humanity, both receiving and transmitting ‘collective memory,’ resonating with the lineage of collective human experience, one that transcends mind and matter.
This concept goes further by considering that aesthetic appreciation of the Totem is in fact psychic activity in communion with the human collective.
Here, the Totem rises above mere abstraction and instead ‘lives’ as a psychic entity, a point of connection driven by its audience. Its function to reaffirm humanity via aesthetic appreciation, effectively raising Art and art appreciation to a whole new level of cultural activity.