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‘Searching for an Electric Peanut (part II)’: Jonathan Silverman’s liminal art

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Liminality is a strange phenomenon: The Encarta dictionary online defines it as ‘belonging to the point of conscious awareness below which something cannot be experienced or felt’, which is only one of the ways the term is used, but nevertheless gives a good idea of what is involved when you call something ‘liminal’. The point […]

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‘A River Runs through It’

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The film by the name, ‘A River Runs through It’ (Redford 1992) is based on an autobiographical novella by Norman Maclean, similarly titled ‘A River Runs through It and Other Storie’s (Maclean 2017; Kindle edition). He was the older brother in the Maclean family, living in Western Montana – one of the most beautiful states […]

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A stream of consciousness: Art, consciousness, self-consciousness and the unconscious

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What is a ‘stream of consciousness’? This presupposes that one knows what consciousness is, and how it differs from the unconscious, and from self-consciousness. Briefly, consciousness means an awareness of something, most broadly your environment. In this sense, even plants are conscious, as shown by the phenomenon of phototropism. Self-consciousness, by contrast, denotes not just […]

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Tanya Poole and the paradox of ‘being-human’

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The psychologist William James, brother of Henry James, the well-known novelist, once exhorted people to “Begin to be now what you will be hereafter”. In similar vein, Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed that one should “Become who you are” — a formulation that drives the paradox of being-human home even more clearly than James’s words. At least, […]

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Turkish delight too

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It was like entering a futuristic cave, where a culture’s history washes over visitors in a ceremony of initiation, making it a pleasurable sensation of assimilating its distinctive perspective on the world. It was dark when we entered, but only momentarily, before a feast of colours cascaded, as if from nowhere, dappling faces and surfaces […]

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Rome, Caravaggio, St Matthew and money

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Today I saw one of the most beautiful and profound paintings I have ever had the privilege to behold. It is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s The Calling of St Matthew (1602), in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. Even if we had not travelled here to participate in one of the wonderfully […]