There are many movies that deal with the subject of visions and the marriage of the “real” and the “unreal,” including standouts such as Donnie Darko, Labyrinth, Jacob’s Ladder, and Pan’s Labyrinth. For this discussion, I specifically selected the films [Requiem, Where the Wild Things Are, and Harvey] because, rather than beg the question as to where visions come from, they instead address the tension that we all experience between daily life and our inner worlds of the fantastic, visionary or imaginary.
Excerpt from GLIMPSE film reviewer Ivy Moylan’s “[RE]VIEWS: Requiem, Where the Wild Things Are, and Harvey.” Issue 6, Visions
Read the entire review here.
Image of woman, courtesy of Flickr member, Megyarsh. Image of beetle, courtesy of Flickr member, Zanastardust.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is named after the 18th-century Swiss biologist and philosopher who detailed the complex hallucinations experienced by his 89-year-old grandfather, which included everything from seeing imaginary buildings and birds to men and women, the hallucinations often varying in shape and size … Unlike visionary experiences or psychotic hallucinations, people experiencing CBS cannot engage with the people and things they are seeing—it is as if silent movies were being projected for a viewer to watch, but not interact with.
“We see with our eyes, but we also see with our brain,” explains renowned neuroscientist Oliver Sacks. Charles Bonnet Syndrome, though slowly being brought to light, is still quite inscrutable. We are left to wonder: Is the brain so adapted to a constant stream of external visual stimulation, that in response to a lack of it, it will project even our most basic inscapes outward?
Excerpt from GLIMPSE staff writer Rachel Sapin’s “Our Inscapes Projected Outward: Charles Bonnet Syndrome.” Issue 6, Visions
Read the full article here.
Courtesy of Flickr member: Vincepal
Is the experience of visions, and our capacity to ascribe meaning to them, part of what makes us human?
In GLIMPSE‘s forthcoming Visions issue, we interview anthropologist Michael Winkelman, whose 30-year investigation into the cross-cultural commonalities of shamanism has shown him a thing or two about the biological and evolutionary bases of visions. While he discusses traditional practices involving psychedelics, as well as more ancient evidence painted on Paleolithic cave walls, Winkelman also links the human capacity for altered states of consciousness to a much earlier hominid ability: long-distance running.
If we ran for our lives to the safety of our group, and collapsed into the protective environs of our clan cave or the boughs of a tree, I suspect that the exhaustion combined with extensive physical stimulation led to emergence of lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences.
And these experiences, Winkelman postulates, played a critical role in the evolution of human cognitive development. Here we have what is quite possibly the dawn of introspection–the capacity for review and rehearsal, and “the ability to use the self-awareness decoupled from the body to explore the internal representations of our psychological states as well as the external world.”
But tapping into our cognitive origins is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for Visions, where “seeing” goes beyond the eye…
"Heroes." Courtesy of Flickr.com member, Gastev. Sculpture of Don Quixote & Sancho Panza, by Lorenzo Coullaut-Valera (1876-1932). Installed at Place d'Espagne Brussels, Belgium.
From Don Quixote to Seinfeld, there have always been individuals (fictional or real) who behave contrary to the social, cultural and physical norms. Aside from the shock and perhaps humorousness of these acts, are there other reasons for why we are compelled to look at those who do the “wrong” thing in a situation where the “right” choice may seem obvious?
Describing his own unusual adventures surviving a lightning storm atop Gros Ventre Butte in Wyoming, weaving a “behavioral hair shirt,” fording icy creeks on the highest point of the Pacific Coast Trail, and rejecting airplane flight as a means of long-distance travel, GLIMPSE‘s Visions issue contributor and artist Peter Bergman attributes his wanderings not simply to desultory, college-age behavior, but to an important dream-vision-based, coming-of-age ritual rooted in Native American culture. Quoting the anthropologist Victor Turner, Bergman notes of his own behavior: “A normal man acts abnormally because he is obedient to tribal tradition, not out of disobedience to it.”
Find out why those who enact and create images that are counter to a dominant culture, may have more to teach us than we think in GLIMPSE’S upcoming issue, Visions.
Courtesy of Flickr member: Kyle May
“Hideous faces appeared on the walls, and on the ceilings, and on the floors; foul things crept along the bed–clothes, and glaring eyes peered into mine.”
If the idea of the experience described above disturbs you in any way, if you’d like to avoid finding yourself amidst these occurrences, then John B. Gough has done his job. Gough, a 19th-century orator and advocate of the temperance movement, aimed to scare the thirst right out of his audience by recounting the nightmarish details of his own alcohol-induced delirium tremens.
Gough’s prohibitionist talks coincided with the cautionary art of David Claypoole Johnston, whose provocative works brought these bug-eyed, swarming visions to life. Forthcoming in GLIMPSE, Lauren B. Hewes of the American Antiquarian Society considers Johnston’s work in the time of Gough’s preaching.
So stroll on over to your local speakeasy. Grab a cold one, raise your glass, and stay tuned for more about Johnston’s depiction of the DTs in our soon-to-be-released issue, Visions.