THE SCULPTURE OF DUNCAN LAURIE
Duncan is represented by Atelier Newport.
I emerged from a profound funk in late 2012 early 2013 bored with art and radionics and happy to do as little as possible. I was spending time alone at my place in northern Maine as much as possible. There a lots of smooth, oblong sea finished stones to be found on the desolate beaches in great colors and shapes.
I had grown more conscious of the existence of “cupules”, which are small cup shaped indentions that ancient people often carved into large boulders in unusual locations. Apparently, cupules exist on every continent man has inhabited, and pre date the more familiar petroglyphs.
Having nothing better to do, I gathered some rocks and began tapping them with a ball peen hammer. Slowly a circular indentation formed under the steady tapping, and after a while I had made my first cupule.
What was notable about the experience was that my mind cleared itself of thoughts, and I began to feel quite happy. The compulsive mental chatter gone, a different peaceful awareness arose. Wild!
I tapped another cupule into the other side of the rock. The same peacefulness ensued. Tapping other cups along side of the ones I had done suggested a place for fingers to go; a moment of philosophical transaction between human and stone. No intent; just observation, all from a state of quiet awareness.
Later the thoughts crowd in. Is it possible to make art without identity? Was the cupule the first assertion of identity?
You are a resident of the arboreal forest; you enter a clearing and upon a big rock in front of you there is a cupped dot. Not natural; made by hands. Does a silent explosion go off in your consciousness? You have identity and can express it.
Researching…from Varner; the earliest dated cup markings for pragmatic use: 1.7 million years BCE, in the Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. For what? Cracking nuts, kneading, tool making?
What about artistic usage?
Auditorium Cave, Bhimbetka in southern India. A huge slice of prehistoric art; 40 square kilometers, 760 caves, 500 of which contain beautiful examples of petroglyphs, rock art and cave paintings. Consider this description:
“Auditorium Cave is large, some 25 meter long, horizontal cave. At the far end of the entrance gallery it widens into a larger room with three passageways diverting from it. In the centre of this hall there stands enormous boulder, “Chiefs Rock”, 2.5 m high and 3.4 m wide, whose volume is approx. 9 m3.
“Auditorium Cave was well known but it hid an unexpected surprise. In 1990 there, on Chief’s Rock, were discovered 9 cupules - simple, round hemispheric cavities with traces of red pigment. They looked very old but it seemed nearly impossible to find their true age.
“Next year, in 1991, an important discovery was made—a tenth cupule with a meandering line next to it. These two petroglyphs were covered by deposits from the Acheulian period and later periods. Now the age could be scientifically determined; these petroglyphs were made at least 290,000 years ago. Later research by other dating methods (micro-erosion analysis) gave even more incredible result - that it was possible these cupules were made 700,000 years ago!”
The discovery is confirmed by noted rock researcher Robert G. Bednarek. Cupules are now considered the oldest surviving rock art.
See The Radionic Object essay for more on cupules.
Impatience wins. Out come the drills and grinders. Holes for fingers like bowling balls. The plasma gun; cover them with steel or copper. Color with patinas. Right back at the whole ego driven assertion of man over the environment.
I’m calling them Totems.
I can only make so many cupules with a ball peen hammer. What do I learn? Can art be made from a mindless direction? Will it evolve by itself with me doing the schlepping?
What are today’s cupules? Dots. Dots are everywhere from electronic screens to graphics to mathematics to syntax. They also figure prominently in early geomantic devices and later in radionic design. I will cull some designs from the book and sandblast them onto stone. Not exactly intellectual heavy lifting.
The effect is pleasing, especially on 8″ black granite or marble cubes. The process doesn’t engage much thought so it’s still partially in the cupule world of non-doer activity. I enlist the help of graphic designer and photographer Jim Egan to layout more and more variety of designs. We begin with familiar radionic motifs but soon expand out into unknown territory.
A startling thought occurs. We have crossed the line from radionics as a historical inventory of ready made ideas into our own world. Some type of internal logic presents itself as the designs materialize on the computer. They do not feel artificially thought out but rather emerge from another awareness into our hands. They sit on the cubes well, and I begin to wonder if these could be sculptural radionic devices?
The original cubes have no obvious radionic function. I begin a long written dialog with my one radionics friend, Cow Girl. She has all but stopped radionics today but has retained spectacular insights from her long experience. Her own radionics methodology is also sculptural and free of electromagnetism: crystals, geometric forms, hand made rate cards. Set up the transaction, apply the intent and let Nature supply the correct cure. I’m circling the spot where an art object takes on a radionic function.
Back to making stones. The tone of the enterprise shifts as we explore new design parameters. The ideas seem to self-assemble. I decide to drill holes in the cubes over some of the sandblasted dot designs. Sloppy, but interesting. Now the rocks will hold small capped glass beakers or eyedroppers. For what, potions? Water charged by the rocks? Scents? The link from the observer to the stone appears to be adding dimensionality. The stones begin to resemble technology, technology with no apparent purpose. Can they be used radionically?
Radionic Sphere 3 — 2 1/2″ — Schungite — 2014
Radionic Cube 19 — 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ — Schungite with whitewash — 2014
There are lots of excellent devices available today with which to practice applied radionics. Why should an art object with radionic overtones mimic that technology? Maybe artistic radionics has another purpose entirely?
People that employ radionics prefer results to scientific explanation, which is always derogatory. Artists too, are results driven.
Perhaps adding a radionic component to the art making process facilitates the result. In removing inertial obstructions to the creative process, radionics would in effect be ‘clearing’ the creative process of excessive baggage. In the case of a radionics sculpture, perhaps it could be designed to ‘clear’ the person engaging it of unwanted mental and emotional baggage as well? This thesis must be tested.
A little story. My youngest daughter, Bryn, in tears would swoop into my room crying “I need the ‘Forget’, I need the ‘Forget’.” The ‘Spray To Forget’ aerosol can was a stroke of genius by radionically inspired artist Reed Seifer, first created in 2010. I grabbed the can out of the drawer as requested and sprayed Bryn. Moments later, no tears, no lingering emotional trauma. Wow! This works (even if only as a placebo).
Placebo or Radionic, who cares if you get results. So why not assign intent to a sculpture and see if it functions as designed? That’s the plan.
Cow Girl and I have been discussing what I call ‘Another Radionics’ for some time. We’ve been hashing out our ideas regarding radionics that do not fit the existing paradigm. As important as radionics is in its current form to many, we aren’t completely satisfied with radionics being confined to a narrow spectrum of expensive devices and complicated methodologies. My hope is to expand radionics into art and consciousness study. Cow Girl felt her own evolution within radionics had taken her to a much freer and more expansive view of the field than was generally understood.
Here’s a story from CG about her first experience doing radionics. “My very first client was a little kitten who was dying. It had seen it’s Mother and siblings killed by a dog, it somehow being the only survivor. Her owner was devastated, and took the little kitten to two vets trying to help it survive. They could see no physical damage. But it was truly dying. I asked the kitten (radionically) what it wanted. It wanted the color Blue. I broadcast this to it and overnight it became a different animal, alive, energetic, and survived to live a long and happy life. Who’s to figure, eh? I believe Radionics is one of the things that can touch the Spirit.”
Then I asked her about the treatment itself, what procedure she used?
“I dowsed all the cards I had at that time to see what her witness chose. It chose a Malcolm Rae card that represented the color blue. (You know, lines in a circle, etc. Depending on arrangement of lines it signifies the frequency of what is designated on the heading of the card.) Then in a Malcolm Rae machine (I had just studied and was using only the machines at that time.) I put the card for blue in the card slot and the cat’s witness, some hair, in the receiving well. Overnight she transformed, from a traumatized truly on death’s doorstep kitten to a bouncing well and normal little one.”
After sharing her story CG added the following comments: “Blue is also a frequency (each color is a frequency) so I always thought of it as the kitten asking for a specific frequency which served to neutralize the trauma it had experienced.” Here in lies a window from radionics into art and spirit we both were trying to articulate. The simplicity of the treatment is stunning. Who to better diagnose the kitten’s needs than herself? Truly a simple everyday radionics. A sense of being part of the miraculous. Powers that are gifts we have lost, that we can regain through the way we conduct our lives.
More to follow……