Alyce Santoro on The Secret Art

Friend Alyce Santoro has written up an excellent review of The Secret Art. The review originally appeared on Facebook and Amazon on January 9th.

A “radionic apparatus” is a system, mechanical or otherwise, developed for the purpose of receiving and transmitting subtle forms of energy through an earnest practitioner into a subject. Since the early 1900’s, some developers of such technologies have been using the word radionic to describe devices used mainly for purposes of healing.

Mr. Laurie’s book provides a through and fascinating account of the history of this little known and much-maligned field. He suggests that outside of the medical and scientific communities, not only are radionic phenomena heartily accepted, they have been functioning effectively for thousands of years at the hands of shamans, artists, and musicians.

Mr. Laurie’s thesis is that radionics, while by no means a lost art, may be a slightly-misplaced one - the ideas behind it have been discounted by those unable to appreciate the power of forces that cannot be quantified. When presented as science or medicine, radionics is easily challenged. Introduce it as a powerful creative tool, however, and radionics becomes “The Secret Art”.

We take for granted that all human beings are inherently capable of experiencing intangible, unquantifiable sensations such as intention, intuition, inspiration, and other emotional states. Technologies for accessing and working with these invisible forces have been cultivated by shamans, artists, and holy people since the dawn of time. That a work of art or a piece of music can be found “moving” or “transformative” comes as no surprise. Why, then, is it such shock (to the western mind, at least) when a force we find “mysterious” serves as the catalyst for physical transformation? Because our in our culture we have come to look to the scientific method as an all-purpose evaluation tool – if something doesn’t measure up scientifically, we tend to discount it as useless or non-existent.

But as we hurl ever forward into an age of new quantum-techno-science, old paradigms begin to break down. We encounter tangible evidence of the power of the invisible every day as information that arrives via internet and wireless technology routinely shapes our lives. Research into quantum physics alludes to the existence of strange micro-realms that work behind and within the scenes to compose our macro reality.

Ironically, discovery of the structure of DNA, holographic imaging, and other modern scientific breakthroughs are only serving to help lend insight into why many established “intuitive” technologies, such as prayer, shamanic and Tibetan Buddhist ritual, and radionics, actually work.

“The Secret Art” is an invitation to consider that the power of intangible forces and our relationships with them may hold keys to the ways we shape ourselves and our world. Mr. Laurie suggests that it could be artists, unfettered by limiting beliefs and already consciously attuned to subtle energy, who may be best equipped to combine traditional systems with contemporary research to generate powerful new technologies. The book is a radionic device in itself, a call-to-action for those willing to work with phenomena that we are aware of through our senses, but that are yet to be classified by science.

RISD students

Rafael Attias brought students from two of his classes ( 7001 - Interactive Text and 7028 - Soundmarks ) at RISD down to visit the studio. Gordon and I will help mentor the students in their class projects.

RISD students at Duncan's
On the Purr Sofa
RISD students at the studio
RISD students in the workshop

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Purr Generator - Mark II

A new, commissioned build of Gordon and Duncan's Purr Generator will be part of the "Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness" exhibition opening at the American Visionary Art Museum on October 3rd.

Purr Generator - operation

The new Purr Generator, dubbed a "happiness machine" by exhibition curator Roger Manley, features a simplified interface with a single push-button control for operation. It is also sporting a new LED component based on the Peggy 2 from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

Purr Generator - LED panel lit

The exhibition runs through September 2010, a good stress test for the interactive parts of the Purr Generator. There are a series of opening events starting on Sept 30th with a Media Preview, followed by a private Reception on Oct 1st, a Preview Party on Oct 2nd and the public Opening on Oct 3rd. Details can be found on AVAM's Events page.

Purr Generator - box detail

The Secret Art - off to print

The Secret Art

A thoroughly revised and updated version of Duncan's book on radionics and the arts has been submitted to the printer today.

The previously titled "A SHORT HISTORY OF RADIONICS: INSIGHTS FOR ARTISTS WORKING WITH SUBTLE ENERGY" is re-dubbed "The Secret Art: A Brief History of Radionic Technology for the Creative Individual"

The manuscript finally being produced in physical form has been a herculean effort undertaken at the behest of Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books. The text and illustrations have taken shape over the past year through the direct labors of Duncan, Patrick, Mike Bossick, Jessica Paulk and myself.

The book should be ready in time for the upcoming opening of a museum show that Duncan has several artworks in. More information on the show will be available within the week.


MAX in Ableton Live

Cycling '74 and Ableton announce Max for Live...

Max for Live puts the power and potential of Max/MSP inside Live. Create all the instruments, effects and extensions you've ever wanted. Go beyond the common and predictable, and transcend the limits that conventional tools impose. Build completely unique synths and effects, create algorithmic composition tools, or fuse Live and controller hardware into radical, new music machines. Join a society of makers and share ingenuity. Max for Live was co-developed by Ableton and Cycling '74.

link: Ableton - Max for Live