WHY I USE TECH IN MY TOTEMIC WORK
I admit, on the surface the inclusion of technology like CAD design and 3D printing in the creation of tribal-inspired Totemic objects is a bit odd. Did the local shaman of Urucu Brazil use direct light projection printing? Definitely not, bro. But when you dig into the nature of technology, you find something very interesting:
That which differentiates humans from the rest of the animals (as far as we’ve seen) is our ability to extrapolate concepts, create tools, and modify our environment.
So essentially, once upon a time, the primates that we once were had a situation:
+> They had divided into social tribes to take advantage of collective intelligence; for every individual they added, their effectiveness increased more than +1.
+> They had developed territories; limiting non-sustainable resource use.
+> And they were getting comfortable.
And one day, the tool was born.
One of the primates picked up a rock, or possible the femur of a larger animal, and realized that the same amount of force that once swing their fist was now multiples more effective.
From there, as you can imagine, the naturally curious creatures began the process of innovation. Rocks were given handles. Handles were enhanced with stronger but lighter materials. Blunt-headed clubs were given sharp points and edges.
And on it goes.
We’ll talk about how messy this whole process became at another point, but the part that’s relevant to us here: Humans are evolved from, and the single most effective, users of tools.
Extensions of the human body into task-specific objects.
Extension of the human will into purpose and mission.
Extended self into the creation of our reality.
Back to Totems.
This is an object of significant meaning, use, and purpose to a person.
It’s an object that reminds that person of a priority or value that they hold dear. Every time they touch it or see it they’re brought back to the thought, and therefore to the phase-state of that idea.
Call it placebo, call it neurology, call it bio-hacking, call it magic.
Call it whatever you want to call it.
But the importance of these objects is in the connection from concept to aesthetic, aesthetic to observation, and observation to effect.
When I make these Totems -always with my hands, often with tools, sometimes with advanced tech- I am extending my will as the Metaphyst into this creation.
That creation and exploration is what drives me.
If building proficiency in an advanced technology enhances my ability to deliver these Totems, I’m in.
If extending the creation through a process of advanced tech before returning to my hand allows the Totem to carry the idea more effectively, I’m sold.
Remember: the same process that began when the primates picked up bone-clubs is what has extended from clubs into axes into construction into electricity into virtual space into computer design and back into reality in the form of 3D printing.
Resisting that evolution now is about as effective as refusing to use bone clubs while the rest of the tribes were prototyping axes. At some point in the future they’ll be saying the same thing about DLP printing that some jewelers say about hand-carving.
We’ll be sipping our subatomic-replicator tea around the table while talking of the “good ol’ days” when we actually hand calibrated our 3D photo printers. THOSE were the days! There will be nostalgic amusement and the Luddite in the room will laugh awkwardly.
In my position I’m both artist and guide built on a foundation of deep exploration.
Simultaneously doing a thing I love with the tools available, while also presenting useful concepts and powerful paradigms in that art work… all as an expression of an uncontrollable curiosity. To that end, the use and innovation of tools is not only effective but an essential cornerstone of what makes me a member of humanity.
Are the Totems any less power by way of the 3D printing? Not at all.
Is there any less skill involved? No, only a different kind.
Is the result achieved? Yes, definitely.
If that bothers you, that’s ok.
These Totems aren’t for everybody. Truth be told, they’re not for most people.
But for the ones that embrace the intersection of innovation and inspiration,
I might be able to create something for you.