Artist Statement -

Stones That Do What…..?

My objective in making the stones you see on this website is to encourage you to ‘enter’ them. I’ll be satisfied, however, it they enter you. For certain owners, the stones have a purpose beyond their appearance. Some stones have ‘input wells’ drilled into them, which can accommodate a small vial or something else; a liquid, or a message, ashes and so on. The input well is for making a connection inside the rock, bringing something from the outside world into the interior of the stone. Whatever one selects, placing it within the stone is a symbolic act designed to accomplish a purpose. This metaphysical use of the stone I call its ‘radionic function’. Stones without input wells function in a different way. Their purpose is to engage your attention and reflect back abstract meaning or beauty there-by 'entering you'. They should be touched or held. Their black polished stone, Gabbro, has come a long way, most recently from India. Gabbro is a ‘mafic intrusive igneous rock, chemically equivalent to basalt’. It is then carved or etched, often coated with copper, steel, patina or paint.

The power that operates the device/artwork is the need of the operator to fulfill a future condition. In radionic parlance, we call it ‘directed intent’. Take, for instance, the loss of a loved one remains emotionally unresolved. The ashes or any symbolic witness of the loved person is placed into the well of the stone. The stone now functions as a representation of the deceased person, one that can be approached, touched or even spoken to. The symbolically invested stone, once assigned the attributes of the deceased person, conveys present and future benefit to the the user according to their need. Due to the relational structures and processes employed, the stone has become, in a sense, a living entity. I view this process as an analog to whatever drove Neolithic man to carve the stones he marked. The procedures or “Performance Art” characteristics are similar, then and now, for anyone using a stone for a set purpose. Objects employed in this manner connect the Cartesian dualistic view of physical reality to consciousness in a consistent way. In practice, the stone serves as an intermediary, a storehouse of emotion. That emotional energy is directed back to the user, in a fashion designed by them, to heal grief or for any other purpose desired.

There exists an ancient tradition of entering a stone, experiencing it not as an object, but as a vital being embedded in Nature. Up until recent times, carving images upon stones and ‘cupping’ them was practiced for shamanic purposes. Cupping stones date back not thousands but hundreds of thousands of years. Cupped stones exist on every continent man has inhabited. *[] What we are told by tribes familiar with this tradition is, through working the stone, intent is directed through the carving to the beings they believe inhabit the stone, for purposes unknown, but suggestive of a sacred function.

Consider the thoughts expressed in a recent book on British rock art: VISUALIZING THE NEOLITHIC by Andrew Cochrane and Andrew Meirion Jones. The authors present a similar perspective on Neolithic rock art. In their view, the stones to be carved were not blank canvasses, but animate entities with which to interact. Cochrane and Jones take issue with the notion that ancient peoples shared a common ontology with contemporary Euro-American culture. In their view, our contemporary assumption is “...humans have a common capacity to reflect their experiences imaginatively as symbolic representations. Representations, in this account, are expressions of the imaginative capacity of humans visually projected onto a passive material medium. In our ontology, people appear to be able to step outside of the current of daily life in order to reflect their experiences as visual symbols. In our model, the material world—as distinct from human action—appears to play little role in the process of representation. Materials appear transparent here; they simply serve as the substrate upon which representations are overlaid. The material substance is imagined as an inert, stable and unchanging entity awaiting the action of thoughtful human subjects.” (p.4)

What the authors argue occurred in Neolithic art is entirely different. “On the contrary, we propose that concepts are constructed through emerging practices and engagements: concepts do not simply spring to life as 'a priori’ representations, they must be performed and enacted….if we reconsider this assumed ontological relationship we begin to see that in fact visual media, and indeed much Neolithic material, is not the result of an abstract symbolic process that took place in the mind, but is the result of a process of engagement and interaction with mutable materials in the environment, an ongoing process of creating fresh ontological relationships as opposed to generating symbolic representations.” (p.11)“The approach we advocate therefore places emphasis on understanding the processes, performances and relationships bound up with expression. We have shifted in our argument away from an assumption that humans are ontologically distinct from the world that they represent, to arguing that expressions may involve differing ontological engagements with the world.” (p.5)

What is the purpose of the performance? By merging individual consciousness with natural forces, shamanic ceremony aims to disable the objectifying mind, expanding awareness. Trance states are induced, providing liberation into higher consciousness. With the binding force of objective reality negated, bliss and freedom from pain are experienced. Perhaps, in the ancient world, one ‘entered’ the rock through deep one pointed concentration gained from hours of repetitious hammering or pecking the surface. Many rock carvings are found in remote locations where the carver(s) could be relatively safe. In remote wilderness locations, deep within caves or high upon cliffs, work could proceed undistracted, and long meditative journeys could unfold without interruption.

After reading VISUALIZING THE NEOLITHIC, I came across an article written by British sculptor Antony Gormley in the Financial Times. His words struck me as echoing the rock art researchers. “Sculpture, in reaffirming the substantial and not being content to be a picture of things, contradicts the way that, in the developed world, all experience is so swiftly turned into image and symbol……..In a time when art has become commodified and institutionalized and when we go to museums to experience 'Art', I believe in the ability of sculpture as a first hand experience to move us and to shift our goal-oriented consciousness somewhere deeper and wider.”…...”Sculpture’s central purpose in confronting the body with another materiality is to engage the imagination, to make links with all that lies beyond the palpable and the observable, deep in space or deep in the unconscious mind…...The fact that sculpture can exist without walls, without climate control, without the shelter of an intellectual argument or institutional protection allows the medium itself to return to the realm of shared conversation.”

Gormley makes an excellent point. He asserts an inert substance, a stone sculpture, can function in an unexpectedly dynamic way. Just through its existence, the sculpture has the power to challenge cherished assumptions of ourself and our world. For indigenous peoples, animals, plants and inanimate objects all possess a spiritual essence. In their world, a cupped rock becomes more than a symbolic construction. The carved cup functions as a portal for consciousness. Modern radionic instruments mimic this capacity operationally. These devices purport to facilitate changing material conditions through employing the consciousness of the operator. The device acts as a calibration mechanism for directed intent. Through directed intent, patterns or energy fields underlying physical reality are said to be altered and modified. Diseases are halted or cured; crops are enhanced without fertilizers or pesticides; dying forests and polluted sites are reclaimed. Individuals are achieving these results today across the globe using these irrational instruments and techniques. I ask myself, why shouldn't artists be using these tools as well?

More than a decade ago I set about answering that question. I retired from a career in New York as an architectural glass designer to my family home in Rhode Island. I worked with an electronics engineer, Gordon Salisbury and media artist Todd Thille, to study and test various hypotheses in radionics. Our goal was to present the results artistically in form and through sound. Those efforts are documented, to some extent, on our website Todd and I went on to produce a book, THE SECRET ART, which is a history of radionic technology. After completing those projects, I returned to stone carving, more accurately, stone etching. My goal was to produce a series of works that integrated radionic concepts with sculpture. The optimal result would be artworks with simple operational procedures that anyone could use radionically. The results of that effort are before you here. As to how they function, I’ve offered an example for coping with grief from the loss of a loved one that hopefully, is plausible. In fact, each rock owner should develop their own approach to its use. Ours is a very individualized approach, but consider the following ideas as well.

In taking the procedures further, imagine the stone as a generator, an active wishing well. One writes an intent on paper and puts it under the stone or into an input well. The ‘wish’ is a signifier of hope; somewhat more than a prayer; an action taken. Place a vial of water or other substance into the well. The goal is to ‘charge' the water, to make it into a potion to be ingested, applied to the skin or poured into a bath. The role of the stone is to amplify intent, to direct our awareness to alter a condition, mentally, physically or spiritually. The procedure triggers the higher mind, giving ‘permission' to expand our capabilities and potential. The performance describes the task and its purpose. Sounds crazy? Today, placebo medicines used in drug trials have proven to have extraordinary results, even when the subject is fully aware they are taking a placebo. Placebo success rate is so good in many instances that drug manufactures struggle to produce chemicals that can do better. A person taking a placebo is said to benefit 25 to 40% more over someone doing nothing at all. How can this be so? The answer lies within the capacity of our own consciousness to heal by employing directed intent. In an everyday analogy, think of how a good cook uses their focused desire to create an amazing meal. The important question; is our reality more mutable than we think? Can simple tools and procedures prove it to be so? As these stones find their way out and into peoples lives, we shall see….

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