ness -ness nest nestle net (2018) or neurosis (over)looked(over) (retitled 2018)
An article in which I consider my own artistic practice as metaphor for Jung’s theory and process of individuation; aiming towards wholeness through a connection of apparently opposing forces.
Until recently I have separated out my self from the place of artistic enquiry. Unconsciously at first and then, in an emerging consciousness, discrediting the appearance of self in order that my work not to be identified as naval-gazing and irrelevant to an audience other than me. But research into Jung’s psychological theory of a collective consciousness has expanded my view as to the relevance (to others) of this undeniably personal enquiry.
To go into the self offers the potential of opening into the deepest and oldest levels of the psyche, to a time before consciousness when myths were created and (re)created, passed on in an oral tradition in order to draw meaning from our shared experiences. To go into the oldest levels of the psyche to a time before the concept of linear time, to a time before differentiation, before we became self and other, offers the potential of wholeness and oneness, a connection between people that emerges through their own myths as they are laid out in parallel.
The beauty of this enquiry is that it simultaneously reaches inwards and outwards, for “when the soul wants to experience something she throws out an image for us to step into” (Eckhart von Hochheim in Ronnberg ed.2010 p6). Stepping into the image prioritizes knowledge that comes from intuition but it does not remain unconscious, rather inuition “precedes thinking” and also “suggests where thinking may go; it is the star which determines the adjustment of the telescope” (June Singer in Downing, C ed. 1994 p387), the lens with which we search for the kernel of the complex, the archetype with parallels across world mythologies.
No longer are self-reflective qualities in my work seen as curiosities, bi-products of more important external investigations. Metaphors that pointed outwards towards Climate Change now also look inwards towards advancing weather systems that might indicate a depression. The word ‘neurotic’ apparently coincidental in a work looking at boundaries and exchange in language and landscape, overlooking internal complexes, emotionally charged ideas that redirect my thinking and behaviour.
In my latest body of work, the field of research was a dream site, experienced whilst on holiday in Valletta, Malta. Encountering material that undoubtedly connected with the ‘inside’ I was unable to project my analysis onto anything other than my self. Each time my research ventured outwards it took a kind of boomerang trajectory, mirroring the journey of my enquiry into the human condition from a study of archaeology towards archaeology-as-metaphor (for depth psychology). The further I travelled from my dream the closer I came back to an understanding of my self.
Downing, C ed. 1994 The Long Journey Home: Re-visioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time Shambbala Press p387
Ronnberg ed. 2010 The book of Symbols Taschen p6