ISSN 2977-0602 ︎

Natasha V. Moody









MEDIUM, single channel video, 2022






Digital petals

soon we will photograph the astro-mental object 
phyto-mental forms 

strands of spirit 
elan trapped on this earthly plane 

speak through my mechanical whirring,
let me be your medium 

past the visible 
beyond the audible
57 octaves below middle C


~ Line 1 quotes a handwritten note, translated from German, in a first edition of Annie Besant’s 1905 ThoughtForms ~





























 



Rootless

Like moss I have no roots
I cannot return to the land I call home, 
those who came before me were planted
Elsewhere. Still, these streets sense arboreal ghosts

yours remains among other trees
szum, puszcza, lull, hush
dense pine towers over brick and mortar,
red stars strewn across the skyline.

Let us read your future in scattered petals
their ley lines of salt, ash, seed, soil,
witch, wick, bend, shape
change

Stars once rose amongst other trees
mythic insects piercing familiar fabric
like lights turning on across the city
the red stars still shine bright.

Lulled to sleep by watery ghosts
I watched the forest grow dark
neon blue feathers sprang from rocks,
mosses, between the ferns

into eternal oceanic chlorine blue
thoughts leach from the ends of my hair 
against absent sky
unreal techno feathers glow with prophetic light

avian neon poolside harbingers
they needed coloured fire but only had ground earths


~ Line 26 is a quote from Annie Besant’s 1905 ThoughtForms~




Phyto-Forms, photographs, 2022




Capturing the living light of other worlds
                                            ~ on thought-forms, black holes, mourning and petals.



In London, 1896, prominent Theosophists, Annie Besant and C W Leadbeater, published an article titled “Thought-Forms” in the journal Lucifer, (subsequently named the Theosophical Review). Here they chronicled their initial experiments in astral sight. Their thesis was that ‘thoughts are things’; thought-forms being the materializations of vibrations in the luminiferous ether, perceptible by those who possessed clairvoyant abilities.


In 1905 they published the book Thought Forms that included 50 colour plates depicting the forms observed by the duo and translated onto the page by the artists, Mr. John Varley, Mr. Prince and Miss Macfarlane. In the foreword Besant thanks these artists for their dedication to the project:


To paint in earth's dull colours the forms clothed in the living light of other worlds is a hard and thankless task; so much the more gratitude is due to those who have attempted it. They needed coloured fire and had only ground earths. [1]


It seems we’ve come ever closer to manipulating such a substance. In our digital realms we have found nascent sparks of such flames. Machines become mediums. LCD scrying.


In the late 19th century, the intersection of new photographic technologies and scientific discoveries, such as the deconstruction of the atom, wave phenomena and theories of n-th dimensionality, provided fertile ground for occult investigation into documenting the phenomena of the astral plane.[2]


*shutter sound*


Capturing the cosmos that lay just beyond the physical limits of human perception was a fundamental drive for both conventional and occult scientists, philosophers and artists alike. In occult circles, spirit photography, the documentation of thought-forms, occult chemistry and other forms of psychical research took centre stage utilising novel photographic technologies.[3] Apparatus that captured moments where adjacent worlds slip into one another.


‘As knowledge increases, the attitude of science towards the things of the invisible world is undergoing considerable modification’.[4]


In recent years we’ve moved closer still to document the perceptible edges of our universe. Artistic liberty still taken to render colossal clouds of astral matter in perceptible colours, radio waves rendered to play melodic notes and blackhole frequencies increased 57 times to reach an audible middle C.


Perhaps the petals I’ve preserved, trapped, pressed, processed, scanned, exposed, developed, digitized are another form of spirit photography. Alchemical essence processed in dark rooms, through calculated flashes of filtered light and whirring liquid chemical baths that suck in blank pages and spit out phyto-forms.


Perhaps an expanded ecological awareness takes into consideration the living light of other worlds.



German inscription in 1905 copy of Thought Forms and English translation






References


[1] Annie Besant, Thought Forms, (1905), iv

[2] Tessel M. Bauduin, "Abstract Art as "by-product of Astral Manifestation": The Influence of Theosophy on Modern Art in Europe." Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion 7 (2013)

[3] See texts such as Besant and Leadbeater, Occult Chemistry (1908), Thought Forms (1905) and Hippolyte Baraduc, The Human Soul (1896) – the latter two discussed in Nicolas Pethes, ‘Psychicones: Visual Traces of the Soul in Late Nineteenth-Century Fluidic Photography’ Med.Hist.(2016), vol.60 (3), pp. 325–341

[4] Besant,Thought Forms, 1



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The Journal of Art & Ecology published by MA Art & Ecology, Goldsmiths, University of London

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