Thursday, January 21, 2010
Dissertation Abstract. Working With the Imaginal: Art-Making With Figures of Soul
The art pieces created during this process express a temporal and psychic shift, emerging from early Victorian repression through mid-nineteenth-century control and sexualization to the embodiment of a psychic space in which sexuality, sensuality, and activity can be freely expressed. This process reflects a similar transformation in my own psyche, as I moved from a deep sense of isolation, repression, and fear of speaking out, into a more open and confident expression of my self, my voice, and my art.
A major challenge facing depth psychology is to understand the nature of the imaginal world and the ways that we can and do interact with it. This imaginal dissertation addresses the challenge by documenting what the dissertation process and product look like when the work is done in the imaginal way, from within a collaborative field co-emerging between the waking world and the imaginal world. Within this field we have access to a wisdom that surpasses the rational by taking advantage of the quantum nature of reality—the psychoid archetype.
The study uses a radical approach that steps out from alchemical hermeneutics and refigures the traditional distinction between inner work and outer work, between thought and action, between research as scholarly reflection and the act of being in the world. It recaptures an essentially feminine way of knowing, and demonstrates that the boundaries between the “real” world and the imaginal are not as rigid as we have been taught. The imaginal is always in between and always co-arising.
[If you would like to learn more about the creation of Ellen's dress, you can read about it here.]