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Warren Neidich, Blanqui’s Cosmology

Neidich’s photographic series Blanqui’s Cosmology, in which Neidich created photographic portraits with light pen drawings made upon the shaved heads of 1200 subjects, references ectoplasmic spirit photography associated with Spiritualism and Psychical Research, which can be both nonsensical and yet also proximate to the less flakey discipline of psychology and X-ray technology. Neidich uses long exposure photography to reference nineteenth century camera discourses that integrated scientific, psychological and parapsychological explorations.[1] Walter Benjamin was also quite devoted to Blanqui, and on telepathy Benjamin says: “The most passionate investigation of telepathic processes […] will not say half as much about reading (which is an eminently telepathic process), as the profane illumination of reading about telepathic phenomena.”[2] Arguably this truism extends to the sphere of art, when dealing with artistic investigations of telepathy. Thus, Neidich’s interest in immaterial mental processes results in material photographs and a sense of gestalt telepathy or group mind linking all the individual heads in his photographs.
 
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SFSIA 2015 – Franco "Bifo" Berardi and Warren Neidich Interview – June 19 from Saas Fee Summer Institute of Art on Vimeo.

 
 

[1] Mark Gisbourne, Fields of Consciousness: The Ghost in the Machine, Photography & Culture Volume 5 Issue 1 March 2012, pp. 53–76, 58, 61, 74.

[2] Walter Benjamin, 1991, “Gesammelte Schriften [Collected Writings].