RAPS: Cosmic Consciousness – Reflection

Cosmic Consciousness – Reflection

Although all of these artists were interested in provoking a sense of synesthesia through their work, Brakhage’s work is quite different from that of the Whitney brothers and of Jordan Belson, at least in terms of the visual component of it. In contrast to the Whitney brothers, Brakhage did not use new technologies to create his work. However, Brakhage’s work seems very innovative for the period when it was made, even if it was just through the use of recorded films and paint. The Whitney brothers’ work relied very heavily on the science and technology they used. They built their own machine to create beautiful abstract patterns which they animated. It is obvious that their work was very shocking and inspiring considering how many special-effect artists had them as reference for their work. Jordan Belson was, like the Whitney brothers, very interested in Eastern metaphysics, and in his case, yoga was very influential for his art. But in contrast to the Whitney brothers, he used both old and new technology. He also did very abstract films with many patterns.

With the work that theses artists made and the developments that followed, there was a much bigger emphasis put on the immersiveness of the audience. As the author says, the interest in abstract and psychedelic films “flowed into a sea of mass culture” (159) to the point where bands such as Pink Floyd and the Who had this type of films projected while performing. I think that the fact that some following artists did not have the skills to create such complicated works made the rely on simpler methods, such as mainly working with liquid onto plates. However, Vortex did also use technology to create their films. Where the previous artists’ works seemed to be more intimate in a sense, Vortex seemed to be more our in the public. For me, it is as though the following works moved a little bit away from the spirituality of Belson and the Whitney brothers and more into the psychedelic side of the abstract films.

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