Thursday, 27 June 2013

New developmental image of The Universal Embrace

I am loving the process of this narrative visual document growing in textures, colours, and metaphorical concepts.

As I progress through the important step of playing, (Stasko), I am finding a richness of expression in describing the two men hugging.

It has taken on quite a cosmic quality, and I am finding elements of the relationship, such as its sacredness, is being described visually, and I hope other people can relate this to their own relationships.

I dont even know where the idea of the golden section came from-apart from starting with something thats divine, and contrasting it with the simplifying and complicating of which can happen within that plane.

Tonight, I'll animate another GIG to put on The Universal Embrace's website for some idea as to where it is going.

Also, I have been experimenting with presenting the final presentation as an iBook to be published on the Apple iBook store. In this, I will have to consult with supervisors in that it is going to be an accepted format for my Masters.

I have managed to work out some level of interactivity and sound on the iBook, and to this end it actually does consider and express the interactivity of the piece.

In an ideal world, I would have the skills to make this a total web based interactive design, but my skills in designing something more epic than I can do is limiting my creative expression. Perhaps I can do some courses or ask some tech savvy friends.

I have found that apart from the body of the work I am having to be the technical person as well in the online and / or iBook manifestation of this project, and thats the silent part that I engage with that is separate from the concept. It is important and absolutely necessary though, to be able to express the digitised work in this way.

Here is a still from the interactive design, which I am very excited about! I can't wait to develop this idea further and start adding the interactive component of an audio narrative.

I love how the seen and unseen worlds are starting to resolve visually in the sacredness of a relationship, despite sometimes stormy weather!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Early notes on resonance

There is something macroscopic and microscopic about my visual narrative that utilises a golden rectangle and concurrent spiral emanating from it.  It speaks of the moment of an embrace people at a Buddhist temple, as it has evolved. One of those persons is myself-the other is actually my partner.
It is quite a departure from other dark or disturbing art I have produced in the past. Gone is the angst and worry and isolation. Here it reveals something I cherish-hugging, and especially with my life partner.

In the past, isolation and sexual ambiguity were pivotal in my work, yet this is a celebration, of lived experience that is present. I’m literally re-creating something positive and rewarding in my life-probably the most rewarding thing ever, the affection between my partner and I.

I can not really recall in my artistic past the celebration of being queer in any form, I guess as you get older, you do grow into who you are and become comfortable with directly expressing gay lovers instead of meandering and symbolic frustrations and turmoil.

I have just turned 40, and I was having a drink last night with friends-I have to say that I told them I love being this age. I love to know who I am and its so comforting to be in a mature relationship that makes me whole.

I think the unfolding of the spiral in the interactive design speaks of the infiniteness from which you came from, the journeys and the experiences that led me to this point. It feels nice to be celebratory in this way.

The largest square in the design is the focus of this unravelling, in that the all important heart chakras of us are meeting exactly in the centre. This was pivotal to the design. It cemented the focus on all that’s good about a healthy relationship.

There is a fatalistic dimension to the design, where have these people come from to arrive at this point? The description does not need to be long, for the instant of the embrace is the here-and-now. It’s a dimension that I find myself in real life, and I couldn’t be more grateful. The spiral speaks of a winding past leading to the love sharing of the event, that makes it easy to consider the present more effectively, whilst still validating a long narrative in life and experience to this point. The emphasis though, is on the love between two people.

The self reflexivity and the growing more and more to the concept of self-actualisation has never presented itself more in a positive way in my work, its quite a joy to work on.

Resonance is a concept that is integral to this event. The whole dimension of the interactive frame is underpinned by the golden rectangle, which is realised of the concept of Phi. Philosophically, this means that this instant, this moment, is perfect and complete-it is also the sum of its past, and an affirmation for the future.

I just love the idea and strive to be more mindful of my thoughts as I go about my day, in that I try and catch negative thoughts, record them, and turn them into positive ones. Worry is such a wasted emotion - which I grapple with, but this reflection relies on thinking about the self in all its dimensions.
It is quite startling that in the animation in which I can ‘turn off’ my partner, the image of me hugging no one looks ridiculous! I read an article lately of when research comes to a halt because of a subject being lost. My partner knows my paranoias well, ‘No, Maureen is not saying we are going to break up!’, as Maureen my supervisor had suggested the article.

Being resonant with each others thoughts, so close, is something I have experienced with select people in my life. My partner does not consider himself spiritual, but whenever the TV is on, or I have a slight look in my eye, sometimes he guesses the thoughts I am having at that moment. Its quite funny and extremely intuitive. I want to talk more about intuition later, in where do ideas come from? How are they stored/caught-where do your thoughts go?

The concept of resonance I think also relates to the way how reality unfolds, the unfurling ‘spirit spiral’, you can see across nature in things like fern trees and in ammotite fossils. For example, I was considering a background that had to be exactly half sky, and half earth, to fit the dimensions of the design, representing earth and sky, maybe dark and light, or ethereal and tangible.

I was looking through some photos I had taken on my iPhone from this year and the Buddhist temple struck me so solidly as the one to use! There was no need to go to an airport and take a photo, as I originally planned to represent the transient nature of relationships over a lifetime. There it was on my computer! I love Buddhism and its poetic Zen nature, and although not religious, use the Dalai Lamas words, ‘Don’t use Buddhism to be a Buddhist, use it to better what you already are’.

In all the event is a positive one, and I cant wait to begin analysing it with creative intuition that is yet unmapped.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Meeting with Maureen and Neil (Supervisors)

I met with Maureen and Neil, my supervisors again and was excited to gain the impression that Maureen thinks my whole of Masters work and writing will be online. Neil asked if this was for the purpose of marking and presentation, and Maureen encouraged that it should be.

I think there is a cutting edge way I am studying and recording my narrative because it is live, unfolding, and unfettered, albeit with some problems about the discourse of revealing all scribblings publicly.

There arose the issue that and were problematic in that if they were hacked or fell offline, is there a way to back up my work? We all would not want it to be for nil, so I will try and send an email to gague how secure these platforms are should such an event occur, and how to 'back them up' digtally.

I am already aware that HTML5 is the 'new way' of the web, and that the universal embrace site will last longer in this format which is why I chose

I'll have to look into it.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Development of still interactive layers...(cont)

I love playing with the endless opportunities to express this moment physically, emotionally, spiritually, and politically while playing and having so much fun with it. How will I ever get the complexities of the interactive design to work!? Bring in the programmers perhaps?

Experimenting with laters of interactivity

Here is an image from the final interactive slide which could change over time. After my last post of talking about the Dalai Lama and his views on practicing love and compassion, I came up with this image.

The image is a combination of 'layers' that can be turned off and on in Photoshop. In it, I have described a few things; firstly, there is the Buddhist temple, so relavant to this week. I've also included the 6 chakras described in popular culture and spiritual teachings, for simplicity. This is heightened by what might be the currency of heat radiating off my body, inviting the viewer to construct and deconstruct the image in their mind to see the visible, and also the invisible.

The Playing part that Stasko describes and a philosophy I adhere to is very much happening here, and it's quite exciting to see it unfold before my eyes.

More on this later but for now here is a still:

Its a delightful construction in my view, with the 50% land and 50% sky, all in tune to a mathematical fibonacci spiral, and the buddhist temple just seems to fit nicely! I love how the invisibles I'm wanting to describe are coming to life visually.

His Holiness on Education.


Hearing the Dalai Lama speak.

On Tuesday 18th of June, I went to see the Dalai Lama speak in Melbourne.

His teachings on the relationship to education and non violence, compassion and a secular society bought comfort to me, while I say t there, my usually jittery legs quiet as I concentrated on the screen, and watched him stand up, to talk for over an hour before he answered some questions.

What I liked about the talk, is the compassion I felt, the resonant feeling of the willing audience to listen, the welcome to country from an indigenous elder.

It filled me with a sense of hop, that in the direness of the planet and the problems for people worldwide, that someone, whom did seem very humble, and ‘like an old friend’, spoke with such elegance and simplicity.

When he did not know the answer to a question, he imply stated, ‘I don’t know!’. How wonderful if our politicians oozed the same honesty, instead of trying to save face.

In the Universal Embrace, the location is at a buddhist temple, a place of worship, and symbolising the state of flux of change, and also past history, of building, and of the link in the photo between the symbolic bridge in Footscray to an ancient past and a celebratory moment in the present.

His holiness was very present, very confident to speak, light hearted, often, he giggled and cracked jokes, which delighted the audience.

My project describes a loving present for me personally, and celebrates compassion, and tolerance, and follows in the expression of this in terms of its queer ideology. The description of tolerance in a secular society, especially in terms of education, was paramount to his speech, and although he jokes ‘people call me a buddhist’, as if to throw that idea away, he teaches beyond buddhism, beyond religion.

He spoke highly of christian, muslim, and hindu faiths and said the core of those religions was love.

In my project, it focusses on love. I like to think that a gay embrace can be used in a secular way to exhibit all love between people, and across faiths.

I have had a lot to go though in my time as a person on the planet, including schizophrenia, drugs abuse, some bad decisions, and sexuality issues, including the many philosophical/metaphysical ones.  I have just read in some of my notes, that to practice forgiveness leads to tolerance. I feel a lot of the time I beat myself up for mistakes in the past, and that I should learn to be tolerant of my own past actions. He was saying too-that karmically, when you become aware, you can change actions that have negative outcomes by the practice of self forgiveness and forgiveness of others. In this context, he refers to taking responsibility for who you are and where you are. Its quite a heavy philosophical statement, but the way he described it was simple and easy to understand.

Be kind to yourself, and kind to others, for it is always possible.

He described that across religions, that the secular ethics of human values is strong, and that everyone can contribute to a better world. It was quite funny when he said ‘raise your hands if you’re under 15’, and a few hands went up. Then, 20-50, and lots of hands went up.

He jokingly suggested that the last century is past and that the people inhabiting last century are ‘on the way out’, and you cannot do anything to change it, and that the young people, through the secular values of society via the base of world religions compassion and tolerance, that peace is possible this century-with good education. 

I delighted in the word. Education. For a long time, without realising it, I have been an educator, and also someone whom has made a lot of mistakes! Still, you learn through these, and although my narrative will follow through with a snapshot of my unfolding fibonacci spiral life until now, its nice to know that metaphorical bridge is there between the past and the present.

He reminded us that the Buddah clearly stated that ‘You are your own master!’. I find some excitement and also some fear in this. I’m reminded of two buddhist quotes too: ‘After enlightenment, the laundry’, and that ‘If you are on the path, things are as they are, if you are not on the path, things are as they are’. It seems no matter how enlightened you are, of course there is much work to do! I am here now with what I know and feel, doing what I do, recording a narrative in words and art.

This narrative is a sort of a symbolic path, that will eventually distil themes from my life and through my research that crystalize into new knowledge, and for that I’m most excited.

I'll definitely write some more notes on this soon with reference to the talk. I feel very lucky to have attended-it was a 40th birthday present from my parents, bless them.
The nosebleed section!

A seagull came to visit me whilst having a coffee while waiting to attend the Dalai Lamas talk. I was waiting for a friend, and the seagull landed to look at me, most likely wanting food-but I did not have any. By the time I got my phone out and took a pic, he was flying away, in impermanence.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Realising I became what I thought was missing for others in my upbringing.

For many years, including from the time I wrote 'Recovered, Not Cured...', I have come to realise that I have been a spokesperson for discussing the difficulties of growing up-especially as pertains to peer group pressure, sexuality and drug use and its effects.

In essence, I did not have the person(s) to speak about these issues with growing up, so in my many public talks and lectures that had a focus on schizophrenia, but also more generalised themes discussed above, I was literally becoming the healer or teacher I felt I had missing in my life as I grew up, and became a young adult.

A lot of my talks led me to speaking to young adults and high school children. I would use my experience as detail in regards to sexuality and drugs and also mental health issues. I let them know of the consequences of poor choices, and self awareness. Often I told them I was happily gay, which was true by those later years.

I have realised what I was intuitively acting out and doing in real life was to be that big brother or guardian that I felt was lacking in my early life and early adulthood. Of course I had support in some ways, but not all ways.

I have realised this after these reflections above, and the culmination of 'The Universal Embrace', really, is the crystallisation of those themes.

There is a great amount of self actualisation where there used to be confusion, and in the construction of the embrace I validate a loving male to male relationship in terms of many aspects including spirituality, politics, the emotional and the physical. I'm reflexively describing my life right now, but it is also making a statement-that all loving relationships are valid and tthat this is the essence of a positive and healthy outlook on life which I have arrived at in later life. I hope that it is seen as a guiding force for all peoples, especially gay people, that some resonate happiness is possible, even though you may seem to be misunderstood in your youth.

I didn not realise it at the time I was doing a lot of talks and interviews that my self actualisation and growth through experience had led me to be able to help and heal people. I think this is a really positive thing which is continued with the exercise of creating 'The Universal Embrace'.

'Company' reflected chairs that anthropomorphically represented a cosy couple, which was reflexively describing my relationship in about 2011.