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Cosmic Creativity: How Art Evolves Consciousness: Alex Grey at TEDxMaui 2013

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Alex Grey Hmm How art evolves consciousness This painting: “Body, Mind, Spirit” Shows the trajectory of the evolution of human consciousness through the physical to the mental to the transcendental The subject of mortality— whether our consciousness survives bodily death— is a question that haunts us all This is the first drawing that I did of a skeleton, age 5 And we can see it’s a time when the child is filled with magical thinking And here we have a power animal on the shoulder of the skeleton Happy gravestone and a little coffin Five years later, at age 10 I did another depiction of death but here in a more archetypal, mythological kind of portrayal of the Grim Reaper At age 17 I was in art school and I was still drawing the same subject of a skeleton But now from a more rational perspective And I was naming all the bones and everything— more discipline and skill Now age 20 I had a dream where I saw my hair half-shaved like this And so I decided to enact a performance ritual where I’d keep my hair half-shaved for half a year And I did some performances I was a bill board painter at the time And I placed this self-portrait in a dead board and then I did a self-portrait put it in an ad slot on a subway and rode underneath it It was called private subway Now, I handed out leaflets with my face on it and invited people to call me for dinner or throw it down and step on my face Kind of a polarity situation Now after six months I did a piece called “Brain Sack” And this was how I ended the six months So I ate a plate of spaghetti and then I cut my hair onto the plate I placed the brain onto the hair took the universal antidote syrup of ipecac And vomited the spaghetti up onto the brain I put it all in a sack and that was “brain sack” I was severely depressed if if you hadn’t noticed And I prayed to a God I did not believe existed to show me a sign that there is a reason to go on living And within 24 hours I was invited to a party where I was given LSD for the first time And I closed my eyes and I was in a pearlescent spiralic tunnel I was in the dark and going toward the light And the light was God Every conflict and polarity was resolved in this spiritual rebirth canal And I could see that grey brought the opposites together And so I decided that would be my mission as an artist to bring the opposites together And I changed my name to Grey Now Ah The hostess of the party Ah…who…an acquaintance I barely knew in Arts' school had also taken the LSD and by the next day she was the love of my life And… so Alison and I, been together married, studio mates for thirty eight years Within twenty four hours of my prayer I had seen the light and met divine love in the flesh My prayer had been answered I got a job in a morgue to study the anatomy I wanted to make art about consciousness and the body is the box that consciousness comes in so I knew I had to understand it I spent five years studying there Preparing bodies for dissection doing some dissection and it was kind of an underworld experience really in retrospect, I look back and it really helped orient me to appreciating the preciousness of body and soul Meditations on mortality was a performance that Alison and I did Sarah Lawrence, actually she was in white grease paint I was in black grease paint and meditating on a skeleton there at the conclusion of the performance we stepped outside the circle of duality and sensuously merged our pigments became grey This is called “The Beast” and I was dressed in a military uniform and as people came into the room I stamped their hands with the number of the beast Um I was acknowledging what I felt to be the evil of the military industrial complex and acknowledging my complicity with a death machine As part of the installation there was a nuclear crucifixion painting about ten foot wide painting It felt like the same ignorance and brutality that would murder a saint would be responsible for a kind of global self destruction “Wasteland” Mr. and Mrs. X were on their way to dinner when they were surprised by a nuclear blast they arrived at a dinner table in hell to feast on money So that's what we did we ate the money and drank the blood and vomited it up on to the table Some art is like shock therapy to activate us and, and wake us up to it This piece called "Prayer Wheel" and Alison and I were in gold grease paint and tethered to a skeleton and carrying a baby doll and We did sixty rotations around the prayer wheel chanting the ‘Om mani padme hum’ “Living Cross” Alison and I were laying motionless and surrounded in a cross of apples and roses and staring up at the angel of death Alison nursed our daughter Zena in the heart of a goddess made of fifty five hundred apples as I did a hundred prostrations at the foot of the goddess It was at Lincoln Center outdoors and after the performance we boxed up the apples and gave it to a shelter for homeless families This piece was “Heart Net” and it was at the American Visionary Art Museum There's a world map on the back and it was up for a year and we invited visitors to the museum to write a prayer for the earth and about ten thousand prayers were hanging on the web there it was really a beautiful outpouring from the community and a new vision of the world Alison and Zena and I participated in a or created an event called World Spirit where we collaborated with musicians and other performers and really the attempt was to create an experience of unity and healing And there were about a thousand people there in the Bay area to experience that Now, the same motivation went into creating a series called "The Sacred Mirrors" and the Sacred Mirrors started with a performance called "Life Energy" and Alison and I met with a group of people and were…Ah doing exercises to get in touch with our life energy And I made two charts for this performance one was a nervous system and the other was a kind of subtle energy map And Alison noticed how people really enjoying this experience there in the gallery So she suggested that I do an entire series based on this idea And that was the birth of “The Sacred Mirrors” She also named “The Sacred Mirrors” So…you can see it there we have the frame-finished example there And…here is Alison and I doing the frames in our basement back in 1985 and we sculpted them and casted 21 of them in our basement It provides a philosophical framework for the biological and technological evolution of humanity and ascending toward God consciousness When you experience “The Sacred Mirrors” you get in touch with each one of this paintings and kind of meditate on it and feel the system inside So you feel the inner systems and then you contemplate…Um Your various sympathies and prejudices I suppose and attempt to relate to the other person as a sacred mirror and then it gets into the subtle energetic realm and this is the psychic energy system where we have… Um the X-ray anatomy fused with the acupuncture meridians and points the chakras, the auras and all floating in a pranic psycho energetic soup there and ah this spiritual energy system shows the progressive disolving of the… Um physical identity into the light body “Universal Mind Lattice” this is an attempt to portray an experience that Alison and I had back on June 3rd 1976 where we've taken a massive dose of LSD And entered into an… Ah infinite vista of toroidal fountains and drains of light And it seemed like every being in the universe was one of this balls of light kind of like a cell in the body of God It seemed like this was what's really real behind the veil of the material world was all made of love the light was love and it connected us all The divine archetypes Budha, Christ, Sophia they're sacred mirrors of our future enlightenment After the “Universal Mind Lattice” experience Alison and I just wanted to make art about sacred interconnectedness so here we have “Praying” painting and it points to the light in the core of… Ah all wisdom traditions and here we see in the halo Ah… the expressions, the prayers of seven different world wisdom traditions “Kissing” shows the infinite bonds of love that unite us beyond the impermanence of the flesh “The Holy Family” points to a hopeful future where there's a planetary civilization one world, one people Yes! this is the holy child grown up and it's really anyone of us that carries world spirit in our hearts and feels in alignment with the heavens and wants to share our revelations This is “Gaia” it was based on a vision that I had the day our daughter was born our world is in peril and we have a decision evolution or self-destruction “Planetary Prayers” with… with the Earth held as sacred in our minds we pray we pray for the healing of the life web “Theologue” the union of human and divine consciousness weaving the fabric of space and time in which the Self and it's surroundings are embedded “The Artist’s Hand” holds a spiritual tool of evolutionary vision and every creative act empowers every other creative act We can look at the magic, mythic, rational, integral and transcendental thrust of art history and see the entire arch of the evolutionary consciousness, going on when we look back through our history You know the painter channels the creative force into the artifact and this artifact then becomes a batery ready to zap a viewer into a new way of seeing the world Returning to the subject of mortality here we have the painting "Dying" where an active plasmic wisp of the soul is leaving the body and going toward the white light And you can see now from my past this magic, mythic, rational, integral and transcendental reflections on the same subject “Oversoul” Planetary consciousness becomes cosmic consciousness through human consciousness “One” When we gaze into the eyes of the beloved we're staring into a sacred mirror and we recognize our oneness “The Net of Being” was based on an ayahuasca experience and... ah and it was a vista of inner connected godheads each of one of them... a node of an anthropocosmic node of... ah of awareness And this is the “Godself” one node you know we're each one node of an infinitely interconnected self a networked self Now an image can become part of the culture and the rockband “Tool” used this image of the “Net of Being” on on...ah... their Grammy award winning album “Ten Thousand Days” and they also used it in their stage sets and the the image became a kind of icon of the interconnectedness between music and art Here's our daughter Zena wearing a “Net of Being” dress And you can see “Net of Being” tattoos all over the world Now... ah Ken Wilber's integral map of the four quadrants can help us understand how art evolves consciousness in the upper left quadrant we have the origin of art and the inner world of the artist or the individual and... ah the upper right quadrant we have the... ah individual making the artifact in the third quadrant in the lower right we have the systems of integration of that art work into the world and then in the... ah fourth quadrant in the lower left we have the inner world of the collective and that's our culture the zeitgeist it's the interpretation of that artifact so... once we understand things in a new way it creates a new world and then a person will have a vision within that new world and the grand round of art continues Painting is our ministry and we go all over the world to festivals The festival culture wages peace in the world by creating a temporary zone of planetary civilization based on art, music and love “The Chapel of Sacred Mirros” was based on a vision that Alison and I had back in 1985 and it finally came to fruition in 2004 We opened... ah our doors in New York City in Chelsea and for five years it was a nexus for visionary culture in Manhattan In 2009 we moved up to the Hudson Valley to build a temple And this is an experiment in art and... ah... spirit and community We've been collaborating with various visionary artists there's a ground-swell of visionary artists all over the world and our collaborations together are really something to celebrate Now this is our current project and it's called “Entheon” Entheon means ah... a place to discover the god within It'll be a sanctuary of visionary art at CoSM Visionary art matters because a visionary mystical experience is the most direct contact we have with the divine and all sacred art and religious traditions are founded ah... on this mystic state Now the best currently available technology for sharing the mystic visionary experience is a well crafted artistic rendering by an eye witness Creativity is our spiritual path at CoSM and Entheon we want to it to be a consciousness evolutionary accelerator for spiritual friends to experience their unity and...ah with a human family and with the imperiled life web It's being 3-D modeled and it's going to be 3-D printed a new way of making ornamental ah... sculptural architecture The multi ... ah... faces of god each have a world religion in their forehead So this is “The Many and The One” this is the steeple head pointing us toward the one “Cosmic Creativity” art is an echo of the creative force that birthed the galaxies Creativity is a way that the cosmos evolves and communicates with itself The great uplifting of humanity beyond it's self destruction it's the redemptive mission of art Thank you

Video Details

Duration: 21 minutes and 44 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 347
Posted by: turiyatita on Mar 30, 2013

About the Presenter:
Visionary artist Alex Grey began his career as a medical illustrator at Harvard Medical School, but is best known for paintings that present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution. His work has been featured in Time and Newsweek, on the Discovery Channel, and as album art for TOOL, the Beastie Boys and Nirvana.

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