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  • Writer's pictureMartin Cibik

Table Altar

This piece of work attempts to explore different aspects of dreams, subconsciousness, myths and mystical experiences. The work presented is a combination of different objects produced by a variety of techniques, materials and technologies. The installation consists of a table and a chair upon which rest symbolic objects.

I have drawn from indigenous cultures and their understanding of reality, as well as using icons and indirect religious forms in order to induce an atmosphere of a 'sacred' space which attempts to create a feeling of dream-like or 'otherworldly' presence.

The materials used include: wood, metal, clay and animal skulls. The centre piece is an oak-carved torso and head. The hands are kiln-fired synthetic clay. The mandala half-circle backdrop is laser-cut MDF. The interactive technology involves a tablet personal computer with headphones.

The decoration of the table is combinations of ancient and tribal art with the patterns seen on the latest technology (computer chips etc.).

The tablet generates binaural beats which the participants hear through the headphones. This activates specific neurological impulses within the brain of the listener and affects their perception.

Various scientific research has shown the effects of sound on visual perception. An electroencephalogram (EEG) recording the changes in the neurological impulses within the brain of the listener shows that the effect on a person's brain varied according to the changes in the frequency.

Along with the sense of sight and hearing, a third element of the sense of smell has been added to the installation by the use of incense. It is recognised that the sense of smell is closely associated with memory.

The aim of the piece is to induce an experience, both personal and private, within one’s self. It is a way to contrast and draw attention to the 'inner world' of the individual as opposed to the ever present 'outside', 'external' world.

‘Table Altar’ has been created to make a connection, a 'fusion' between science and mythology, to give this synthesis a form in artistic fashion. The ‘product’ of this fusion is the actual state, or experience, of a person whilst interacting with the installation. Scientific, tribal, ritualistic or religious approaches are only different type of tools to experience and examine reality. As I am personally interested in conjunction of diverse mind states, these forms seem to be the most appropriate form of expression.

The binaural beats generated from the tablet are set to 4 Hz frequency. This frequency is observed in deep sleep or deep meditation.

The ‘Table Altar’ was an idea in allegory to compare how much time and effort we put into our outer 'worldly' activities in comparison to our 'inner' world. In meditation one can find the mechanism to expand consciousness and become more aware. To become more aware means to be more present, to interact and understand each other on a 'higher', more conscious level.

The ‘Table’ is not in any way a promotion of any religious or sectarian dogma. On the contrary, it is an attempt to give an opportunity to develop and experience aspects of the self that may be neglected and to re-connect with one’s subconsciousness.

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