[-empyre-] echo objects and Barbara Marie Stafford

Christina McPhee christina at christinamcphee.net
Wed Oct 1 10:28:00 EST 2008

dear Barbara and all,

I really like this warning- or inspiration of Barbara's...
On Sep 23, 2008, at 4:39 PM, Barbara Stafford wrote:

> . i still think that's the hardest task facing us: namely, to  
> identify a common issue/s  that is equally rivetting to all sides of  
> the disciplinary divide. i took on questions ranging from mimesis to  
> conscious attention--and, of course, still did not get to the bottom  
> of them. but from my experience with scientists as well as  
> humanists, we'll never get anywhere unless we define  a question  
> that is thought to be equally gripping no matter who you are.

Traumatic memory after violent experience makes for a nest of  
questions. I've been obsessed with trying to show or make a  
visualzation / emulation of post traumatic stress induced nightmare,  
hypnogogia-- the waking dreamscape.  I wonder if you (Barbara),  
Lucette, Paul or Tina can point me to other crossover studies (between  
neurology and contemporary art) that might develop some alternative  
rhetorics or, to borrow from Barbara, generative 'visual analogies',   
around visualizations of what I might call a trigger moment-- when an  
event/dream/chance experience triggers amygdala activation and the  
release of primitive visual content from amygdala to the visualizing  
imagination.   Paul's work on the "Shape of Thought"  seems to touch  
on this but does not isolate specifically to post traumatic stress  
disorder in its etiology (ie what participants are asked to  
remember).  Also,  in PTSD, the sufferer doesn't
recall by request , except (perhaps? ) in hynosis: t's actually the  
most difficult thing to access  in 'waking life" as well as in sleep  
because we can predict the probability of hypnogogic or hallucinatory  
visualzation,  and possibly even chart the aftereffects on it in  
neural chemistry, but to actually capture the moment of traumatic  
visualziation as it might arise, as it were, naturally, is something I  
imagine could difficult for the scientific method.

Looking forward to any tips, refs  thoughts on this direction.

thanks for the great conversation this month, too,



Christina McPhee

Department of Film and Digital Media
University of California at Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

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