Tim Benjamin


Swiss Army Life, 2009 - 120 x 170

Imagination, to me, is reality. I consider the total of dreams, visions and hallucinations, thoughts and delusions as no less real than the reality of the "everyday" world. To me, this "everyday" reality appears to be a consensus, the same consensus an audience accepts when they enter a theatre to see a play or movie and, for a time, pretend that what they are seeing is real.

I see myself as an intermediary or messenger between the "everyday" world and the other supposedly imaginary worlds in the universe. Forces exist in these imaginary worlds and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society. These forces can be good or evil. By evoking specific images as guides, omens, and message-bearers I can communicate with these forces and enter the imaginary worlds on a "vision quest".

It is my intention to create visual spells to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. I enter imaginary realms or dimensions to obtain visions of solutions to problems afflicting the community. I visit imaginary dimensions to bring images of guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the soul caused by imaginary forces. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness.

Hermeticism teaches that there is The All, or one "Cause", of which we, and the entire universe, are all a part. Also it subscribes to the notion that every possible being real or imaginary such as gods and angels, daimons and demons, spirits and elementals exist in the Universe as parts of the All.

String theory posits that the electrons and quarks within an atom are not 0-dimensional objects, but 1-dimensional strings. These strings can move and vibrate, giving all observed particles their flavour, charge, mass and spin. In accordance with the various levels of reality: physical, mental, and spiritual, this relates that what happens on any level happens on every other. This is however more often used in the sense of the microcosm and the macrocosm. The microcosm is oneself, and the macrocosm is the universe. The macrocosm is as the microcosm, and vice versa; within each lies the other, and through understanding one you can understand the other.

In many places shamans are said to learn directly from the plants, animals, stones and stars, harnessing their effects and healing properties, only after obtaining permission from the indwelling daimons or patron spirits. In the Peruvian Amazon Basin, shamans use magic shapes, signs and images to evoke these elemental forces. Before a spirit can be summoned it must show the shaman its shape or sign in a vision or dream. The use of totemic images such as shapes and signs with special powers and an animating force is common all over the world. Such practices are presumably very ancient.

Plato wrote in his Phaedrus that the "first prophecies were read in the shapes appearing on an oak tree", and that those who lived at that time found it rewarding enough to "watch an oak tree, follow the flight of a bird or contemplate the position of a stone or star, so long as it was conveying the truth".

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In my opinion art, literature, music and science, differ little from each other in essence, in that all are attemps to gain more insight into our relationship with everyday reality.
Tim Benjamin