Flammarion engraving and the curiosity along with hope that dies last. A journey into the wilderness of the medieval mind which is not afraid to ask, question, look further


At the beginning of any creation there must be darkness first, when we close our eyes we see darkness, when we look at the depth of the ocean or the earth it is dark again.

About this piece of art

We don’t understand what we can’t see, because our Apollonian ideals within our society made us all too rational and seeking brightness at the expense of everything else, it is becoming a maxim: seek brightness, ignore darkness. We must realize however, that, this same darkness is hiding vast space, containing mountains and valleys in the oceans and caves and the infinity of our consciousness when we close our eyes and can’t see, it is within the layer of the invisible that the world begins. The universe of ideas lives like constellations scattered in our minds, entrapped in darkness which can only ever be illuminated with imagination, a power of thinking and enthusiasm that it creates.

Flammarion engraving is an example of such a constellation of thinking that strives forward and above, beyond the delusions and dogmas that dominated the world in which it was created. The artist is anonymous as it was a sense of honor at the time not to sign the piece of art, an artwork was not only perceived as a result of an effort of an individual, but an effort of a community that nurtured the individual to be able to realize the envisioned. The work of art was effectively the result of so many people playing a role in the life and circumstances of an artist, the pieces created, were also an echo of the collective striving, ideals, a hope and the way forward. Flammarion engraving is obviously this great vision and curiosity that becomes so strong that we are willing to go beyond the comfortable, beyond the tree of life and into the more universal, abstract (from our biological point of view) and fundamental layers of existence. The space beyond the sky is is described with different type of machinery that pushes things forward. Isn’t it interesting to note how even the medieval mind looked up to the concept of a machine as something all too powerful. We created the machine in the image of ourselves but we also admired our inventions as something much more superior than ourselves. We understood the power the mechanical could provide and we must have thought that it was the great architect who constructed this machine called universe which allows life. Flammarion Engraving features the Tree of Life as one of the central aspects, as well as humanized Sun and Moon with the faces full of expressions. Maybe it is the subconscious effort to revive the mythological, even though at the time most of those thoughts would have been regarded as heresy. Maybe the artist perceived the universe as a mechanical machine full of gears and levers which allows biological machine (animals and plants) to exist. How visionary this must have been because we created a machine which has a potential to out perform us in so many aspects.

Charlie: The Machine Stops,…,…,…,…,…,…….. . . . by Foster http://self.gutenberg.org/wplbn0000627598-the-machine-stops-by-forster-e-m-.aspx?

Earling: Are we the machine that made itself out of nothing and is going towards nothingness? The point of singularity where material existence ceases. The violence of biological solutions and ruthless selection of genetics is something Francis Bacon recognized and depicted in his art pieces, I wonder if rise of technology is in fact a race towards solution against biology and perishable nature it has.

Charlie: Everything stops relative to something else or even becomes a nothingness, but then it continues, on a different level. A star collapses for example into itself, it becomes a black hole. A Narcissus that only looks into himself and self destruct into his own reflection, he is a victim of his own beliefs about what matters most in life.

Earling: What matters most in life? I think it is a mystery every single participant has to solve for themselves. There is no universal rule to follow, it is a human construct to create a rule and then rule with it. In fact the rules were the wands of conductors through many century with which first belief systems, then religions, then ideologies were conducting the orchestras we call nations or collectives.

Charlie: It is the game between decentralization and centralization. A very polyphonic melody played between the numbers and those holding the wand of power. Only the knowledge can bring up the change either in one direction or the other, because neither is good, or bad. These two forces of organized society alternate, and 21st century is seeing the trend towards decentralization. Individual has became powerful thanks to all the knowledge available at the fingertips.



Earling: From the social point of view, it is interesting to compare with today’s clear division between a collective and an individual. The polarity of the opposing forces that happens between the trends and the trend setters, it is almost a dance between the hunter and the hunted. How did we manage to reach this stage?

Charlie: Let’s explore the point of view of Francis Picabia, “Papa Dada” an artist who not only embraced the mechanical but he was automatizing the change, a transformation of a human, should happen in the infinite loop, unrestricted.

Earling: Picabia is actually summarizing the fast forward of a human civilization. He believed in the concept of reinvention, hating stability because every stability has a hole in it that slowly leads towards self destruction, a correction of the system only happens through total collapse. In this case the World Wars.



Ideasrexoid no. 23

Flammarion engraving and the curiosity along with hope that dies last. A journey into the wilderness of the medieval mind which is not afraid to ask, question, look further

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas (solid wood frame)

Dimensions: 60 cm x 50 cm x 1.5 cm

Year: 2018

Available as original or print

Collective stream of consciousness at the early stage of this piece

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