Hyper sublime - Boris Marinin

Hyper Sublime. Boris Marinin


The concept of God eludes us. We do not think of God as a supreme ominous power to be feared.  We don’t feel any awe towards higher being controlling and ruling us completely. We are aware about Nietzschean “Gott ist tot!”. But what does it mean about our culture? How do we substitute the awe? We need this fulfilment of desire. My goal is to show you about the Hyper Sublime – The new sublime. The dark awe. The fantasy, an unreachable symbolic mental location, whose mere approximation entices pleasure. Post-religious experience of spiritual transcendence. Under the harsh conditions of building a whole world of simulations which become the actual manifestation – the hyper sublime. That cultural phenomenon reveals itself in many areas. I shall demonstrate this phenomenon using different current fields of culture, from BDSM culture to video games.

The condition of the hyper sublime is the existence of the Lacanian desire as a simulacra, which leads to an experience called sublime. Lacanian desire always had to be found. It had manifested in religion and its resistance. The desire is presenting in wars and sexuality. nowadays, the desire finds its path through various ways. This is another approach in hyper-realism. It approximates the early religious sublime but in current modern concepts. The concepts in which I will be using, such as Burke, Kant, Lacan, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Bourdieu - are not a condition for the existence of the hyper sublime. These concepts make a profound theoretical explanation for the experience of the hyper sublime in different areas.

The initial qualitative research will describe the idea of Hyper-Sublime and the specific contemporary cultural phenomena associated with it. The research will then focus on shamanic practices, and the correspondence of those practices to hyper-sublime theory. I am interested in connecting contemporary artistic practices not with the representation question derives from Judeo-Christian-West influence on art, but on how non-west shamanic practices can emerge new experiences. The goal is to connect techno-shamanism and cyber-shamanism or other ritual practices to contemporary singular-plural hyper-sublime experience. Based on the results - to develop contemporary artistic practice.

Noble sublime

The word ‘Sublime’ originates from the Latin ‘sublimis’ which combines ‘sub’ – up to, some other state, and limis – border, law, line, limen, beyond. This concept was used by the alchemists that brew the changes in matter from solid to liquid, gas and vice versa. The term ‘Sublimation’ is still being used in modern chemistry, only without any mystical connotations that state the transcendence to a higher spiritual plane. In the 11th century, the word repeats itself in the writings of a Greek author named Longinus naming ‘Do sublime’ (1617) translated by Nicolas Boileau, who signaled a new interest in the investigation of powerful emotional effects in art. Longinus had declared that true nobility in art and life was to be discovered through a confrontation with the threatening and unknown and drew attention to anything in art that challenges our capacity to understand and fills us with wonder. The sublime artist was, according to Longinus, a kind of superhuman figure capable of rising above arduous and ominous events and experiences in order to produce a nobler and more refined style.

Awe-some sublime

In the year 1757, an Irish political theorist and philosopher named Edmund Burke wrote the book "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”, in which Burke states new ideas about the sublime.

The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature, when those causes operate most powerfully, is astonishment: and astonishment is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror... No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. For fear being an apprehension of pain or death, it operates in a manner that resembles actual pain. Whatever therefore is terrible, with regard to sight, is sublime too… Indeed terror is in all cases whatsoever, either more openly or latently, the ruling principle of the sublime. (A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, by Edmund Burke, 1757. ed, Adam Phillips, Oxford university press, 1990)

Burke treats the sublime as certain experiences which supply a kind of thrill or shudder of perverse pleasure, mixing fear and delight. He shifted the emphasis in discussions of the sublime towards experiences provoked by aspects of nature. Which due to their vastness or obscurity could not be considered beautiful and indeed were likely to fill us with a degree of horror. This term is very close to the “awe”. Burk is a very religious person, he describes the god as the ultimate sublime. “The terror from God creates pleasure”.

That kind of mechanism turns the destruction to construction, the fear and helplessness into Consciousness and to the validation of what ruined them. And a sense of satisfaction is created, especially in an environment where satisfaction is virtually impossible, for that it is remade time and time again producing the unfulfilled never-ending desire for the sublime. Burke's sublime is a pleasure enticed by anxiety. Like Longinus, Burke considered the sublime as a source of empowerment, a breathtaking experience, into the superior place - the sublime. Both researchers defined the sublime as a symbolic place.

Reflexive transcendental synthetic sublime.

Kant's sublime, on the other hand, depicts the concept of sublime from a judgmental reflexive transcendental synthetic point of view manifested by the subject outwards. Kant splits the concept of sublime to the judgment of taste, and the judgment of form or lack thereof. For this distinction, I would like to refer to and only to the formal and formless judgment. Kant refers to the form judgment as nature's judgment. "Nature" According to Kant, refers to everything, the base of all things, the form of everything.

Kant’s’ concept of sublime as the judgment of the formless and the formal. The formless judgment refers to the term dynamic, a judgment of force. “Dynamisch” in German. A judgment of an immeasurable thing, such as a lightning storm. The formal judgment refers to the concept of size or quantity judgment. “Mathematisch” in German. This concept refers to things of size and quantity, such as a large quantity of wildlife, or a very high mountain. These two concepts, the formal and formless invoke fear – “Furcht”. On the instances where fear refers to the formless judgment without the frightening object “Gegenstand der Furcht” – This is the terror. Thus, the experience can be without empirical object, but in our imagination, a psycho-analytical experience. This experience cannot be fully understood or controlled. According to Kant we transform the negative experience into positive one, in order to comprehend with it. Important point so far - Kant does not refer to a divine revelation, but awe - a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. Or some sort of romantic enjoyment. In other words: awesome experience. Kant mat well reject Burke’s thesis as empiricism and physiologism, he may well borrow from Burke the analysis of the characterizing contradiction of the feeling of the sublime.

Non-religious sublime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

A synthetic judgment of nature may be considered as a force, meaning a superior force that can be reviewed as a fear, honor and awe-inspiring object. And so, we can concur that a reflexive transcendental synthetic judgment of an immeasurable force is sublime. The sublime is, among other things, a force that can’t understood or controlled. According to Kant, there is a force which actuates nature. It cannot be quantified or mathematically understood, although attempts had been made by science. Furthermore, the force operating nature it transcendent, beyond human perception. By trying to understand the experience Kant repeatedly states the phrase – “If it needs to be – it must be”. Therefore, according to Kant, if there is indeed a force behind it all, then there can be a supreme force that actuates nature, thus such a force must exist.

Kant interpretationally implies here of the existence of god. In his mind, causality is a human trait; therefore, it is human to think that there is a god. We must take note that nowadays, the concepts of causality are being challenged by science and modern art, and thus the concept of God eludes us. We do not think of God as a supreme ominous power to be feared. Nietzsche claimed that god is dead, thus the fear of God is irrelevant to day.

Nature, according to Kant, lies both in the transcendental and in the transcendent. The same mechanism that might be actuating nature may or may not exist in human perception, or in between, that is where sublime is, and it is unfathomable. By “If it needs to be – it must be” Kant amply a need. A desire for the sublime, which had been fulfilled by God in certain cases since the beginning of monotheism. Using the sentence “If it needs to be – it must be” is Kant’s downfall, for this sentence is interpretive and illogical. It is important to distinguish between two approaches – the analytical logical and the interpretive approach. According to Kant, the sublime is an analytical distinction. But trying to describe it as religious experience, Kant fails into interpretive approach. Burke with an interpretive approach, however, describes the sublime only as religious experience. The new, hyper sublime manifests itself through religiousness. With interpretive approach, through a simulacrum of the Lacanian desire, a new sublime is created. To explain if the experience of the sublime as interpretational, the psychoanalytical approach can be at help.

Lacan’s desire

The subject haunted by the absence of something needs not only to fulfill its biological needs but also to satisfy its claim for love and recognition. The desire is the increment between the need and the demand. Meaning, the desire is what’s left after we subtract the biological need from the demand for satisfaction. The other will never satisfy the whole claim. The absence encourages the subject to fulfill his desires in various ways, but the desire always exempts, and cannot be eradicated. Therefore, it is an essential force creating the path of desire for every subject, and is one and unique, while also holding many facades. By Lacan “the desire in its essence is a desire to another desire”. This has many interpretations – For instance, the desire of one to be the object of desire for another, and the will to be recognized by him. Another example may be the desire to own the other’s object of desire; the desire for the primordial other. The movement is from the inside out and is made by the claim.

The desire is a paradox, we mistakenly perceive “the thing in itself” as a rejection of “the thing in itself”. We mistakenly see what is, in fact, the manifestation of the desire, as the destructive search for the desire. Meaning that the manifestation of the desire does not cancel it is being “fulfilled” or “fully satisfied” but rather being made as such, in its circular motion. The Lacanian discomfort does not arise when the object of the desire’s reason is gone. It is the danger of getting too close to the object and losing the absence that causes the discomfort to appear.

The desire always had to be found. It had manifested in religion and its resistance. The desire is presenting in wars and sexuality. nowadays, the desire finds its path through culture and art in selected specific cases. It is a dark hole of fears and dark fantasies waiting, yearning to be filled. The desire is not really fulfilled, as it will destroy the subject. Three is not real death in a video game, virtual sexuality isn’t really satisfying, and the news outlets lie most of the time. But it feels like real, and it fills the dark hole, somehow. God had never been but had satisfied the need none the less. If god doesn’t feel really scary, it will not satisfy the need. No one need the fear of God when one can go to the cinema and watch horror movies. This Need requires our realization and writes it’s porn and war movie scripts by itself.

 The fantasy in the Lacanian theory represents the impossible relations between the subject to the object of the desire’s reason. In most cases, the fantasy is perceived as a scenario that materializes the subject’s desire. That basic definition is quite becoming, long as we interpret it literally. Whatever the fantasy portrays is not a scene in which the desire is realized and fully satisfied, but a scene that portrays the desire as such. A basic concept in psychoanalysis is that the desire is not a given, it must be formulated. It is the fantasy’s role to depict the coordinates of the subject’s desire – and to name its object and locate the position in which it stands. Only through fantasy can the subject begin to desire: through fantasy, we learn how to desire.

 The paradox of the desire is that the desire states its reason in retrospective. Meaning, the object of the desire’s reason is an object that can only be perceived by the “twisted” point of view of the desire, a nonexistent object for the “objective” point of view. In other words, the definition of the object of the desire’s reason is always being distorted because outside of this distortion, “in itself”, it does not exist for it is a mere façade, a materialization of that same distortion, of this excess of confusion and puzzlement as they are presented into the desire into what’s called “the objective reality”. The object of the desire’s reason, when examined objectively, amounts to nothing, and although when looked upon from a certain perspective is shall be given a shape of some sort. It is “an unfortunate” created by “nothing”. The desire “elevates” when something’ its reason’s object, portrays. It gives a positive existence to its “nothing”’ its “void”. That “something” is an object to the subject, an appearance that can only be clearly perceived by a side view. This is precisely the logic of desire that masks the infamous saying “nothing comes from nothing”. The object of the desire’s reason is a mere appearance, but it does not stop it from evoking a chain of consequences that regulates our “material, “effective” lives and our actions.

Lacan cannot be at fault for thinking that the desire’s behavior should be explained by reason. Lacan is making an interpretive judgment and sets it as analytical according to psychoanalysis. The legitimate question, “but why”, comes up by him, like a child seeking for the reason, the causality is a need. However, in quantum physics, for example, the reason behaves differently. As the “nothing” exists there as a fixed, the hyper sublime exists there as a need, finding its way to his own realization. It’s like the movement of Newton’s falling apple is simply a movement until proven otherwise. The need for causality, or the need for subjectivation as is today, is becoming less and less relevant. The hyper sublime is a simulacra of the fulfillment of Lacanian desire, and it is more relevant today than God.

BDSM sublime

 Rituals "imbued with pain and ecstasy, bringing about initation and journeys of altered states of consciousness; punishment, moaning, ecstasy, lament and song, participants exhausting themselves in weeping and grief." (Nomis, Anne O. (2013) The History & Arts of the Dominatrix Mary Egan Publishing and Anna Nomis Ltd) BDSM is not only sexuality manifistations – it is a life style. There are a number of reasons commonly given for why a sadomasochist finds the practice of S&M enjoyable.

The fear and terror from god has satisfied the desire in the eyes of his believers, the passion for satisfaction for one’s self. But the threat never came to pass or had manifested in retrospective as imaginary. Nowadays many threats are lying about that don’t consummate eventually, supposedly. And they shouldn’t. As sexuality teaches us, the satisfaction does not occur when the act is over, rather in the process of fulfillment of the need, the fulfillment of the passion. This is manifested in the sadomasochistic culture, the BDSM. The sadist is satisfied by tuning into the pain, while the masochist is satisfied by the concept of humiliation and pain. The structure of the hyper sublime is manifested in BDSM culture, by the rules it sets.

The simulacra can occur also during a real experience, such as a free fall, extreme sports and the new sexuality – the BDSM. The worst thing is being filtered and controlled. The safe word that can stop the session immediately acts as a milestone of the simulacra. The “rape” is not real, but well defined and calculated beforehand. This is the new sexuality, the sexuality of the hyper sublime. 

 “Slave, pleasure, master. Of sadism and masochism in psychoanalysis – and the review of culture”. By Itzhak Benyamini. De Sade and Jan Mazoch, of the 12th and 18th century, thoroughly embedded in the canon of the European nobility, largely represent the change made by the western culture from the demonism of the religious regime, into increasing industrialism as well as the imposing the dominance of the human scientific logic. That occurrence took place on two axis: 1. Self-perseverance of the Christian religious tradition, especially the Catholic one. 2. The uprising of the bourgeoisie on the account of the traditional religious aristocracy. De Sade and Jan Mazoch defy all of these strangulating spiritual worlds: the good Old Catholic religion especially emphasized the compulsion of the “Name of the Father”, which is The Law, forbidding physical pleasure; and the other “religiousness”, the intellectual bourgeoisie, had also dabbled in actively preventing pleasure. Only that this time, it was made in the name of the universal good virtues, when the compulsion is of an inner intelligent conscience – negating the need for relaying on an outside divine element.

 In a rational and bureaucratic manner, De Sade designs his pain recipient bodies for sculpting in meat, into a functional design for his pleasure. He uses the penis and organs as nails in order to connect the meat planks, for sawing, fusing, shredding… In this Newtonian mechanical world perception, a secular religion is formed, transmuting an object for an object. The whip and the boot replace the symbols of the priest’s staff and ceremonial glass. In this manner the ritual sado-masochistic discussion can exist alongside the religious rituals, when the pain in nothing but a symbol of another meaning: the whip isn’t the cause of pain, rather than telling “Now you are hurting!”. The masochist does not take pleasure from the act itself, but instead enjoys the verbal queue: “I’ve been beaten…I am hurting”. The pain and pleasure aren’t confined to the physical body alone, but also go through processes of allegory and abstraction.”

On the framework of the bourgeoisie parodic standpoint, De Sade has an attempt to elude the look since he is supposed to be the highest authority of the looks. He is observing, while the others are looking and being looked at, invaded by the violent gaze. On the other hand, Mazoch has honesty, as if he is saying: “look at me!, behold me!” because he needs that look to confirm his subjectivity. However, in both cases, either the prevention of look or the constant need of look, originates from narcissism that places itself in the middle of the experience

BDSM culture – This main concept contains several sub concepts: B – Bondage, D – Discipline, S&S – submission, sadism, M – Masochism.

For any relationship to be considered a BDSM relationship it must first and foremost include a conscience transfer of control to the other side but doesn’t have to include all the secondary characteristics of said activity. The participants of the BDSM activities originate from all genders and sexual orientations. As a result, the BDSM groups have been in the frontline of the attempts to create a mutual ground between the heterosexuals and the LGBT communities. The S/M people are everywhere. There are national and independent local organizations that support those who live the BDSM lifestyle.

This sexuality is banded in a complete and thorough rule book. Sane, safe and consensual are the first and foremost rules. “Safe word” Is a word agreed upon before every activity, or entrance to the “dungeon of pleasures”. Every activity of S/M nature is preceded by a process of agreeing upon boundaries, what’s accepted and what’s not, in order to avoid crossing that line and making real irreversible damage. There are necessary conditions to the existence of the simulacra. Like a horror movie, the fear is real, but the frightening object isn’t. The fulfillment of the need is more important and satisfying than the thing that caused it in the first place. Watching the news is satisfying not because it is real and something bad happened in real life. The sadist doesn’t really enjoy hurting others, instead he enjoys the intention to hurt. There is nothing satisfying in hurting or killing. Like a glass of wine repeatedly refilled in video games. This replaces the need for refill and gives new meaning to satisfaction. Who would want to drink real wine, as overdrinking can cause nausea, if you can drink a never ending wine that will never make you sick?

For the same reason, the job of the horror cinema genre is very important. But like any drug, satisfaction demands even more. One can even wonder – if there wasn’t horror cinema – how would we have satisfied the need for terror? Did the movies dealing with homicide decreased the number of people murdered? In Kubrick’s movie “A clockwork orange” one of the characters is restrained to a chair without the ability to close his eyes or look away and is shown horrible imagery of violence on a screen in front of him. The intention behind the torture is to satisfy the need of the viewer, to create a kind of “saint” that has no longer the need to fill the horrible black hole full of fantasies and fears. Even watching someone watching the horrible content on screen – Is only partially satisfying. But what will happen as the horrible thing shown in the news will cease to affect us because our sensitivity had eroded? When watching an ISIS video will descend to a mere YouTube video. Then we will have to invent our own dead, to incarnate them and watch them through an iPhone screen.

The same sublime awakens due to fear and anxiety depicted by Burke. In response to those feelings such as anxiety, fear, pain etc. the body secretes pain relieving substances that alter the mood. For example, endorphins are a part of chemical substances that naturally reside in the brain, and assist in relieving pain and improving the mood, much like opiates. They are usually defined as neuromodulators, materials that alter the activity of the synaptic cell or regulate its activity. The endorphins are released during intense physical activity, sex, happiness, smile, laughter, massage, playing video games on the smartphone, and watching cinema. The same divine experience is, in the end, the pleasure produced from fear. This experience is well known to users of drugs such as opium and morphine that connect to the same receptors used by the endorphins, which may point out the function of these neuromodulators.

This Is exactly what happens in close quarters between the sadist and the masochist. If you take a whip, which seems painful, added with all the rules of the simulacra, and elements of horror films – The victim will begin to express fear. Like a movie where the bloodshed happens off screen leaving the viewer to imagine it as horribly as his imagination lets him. BDSM uses imagination and memory. If you subtract the hit from the effect of the hit, the endorphins will still be released. If you subtract god from his fearsome decree, an opium effect will still take place. The same applies to cinema, news, literature, arts etc.

Jean Pierre Bourdieu simulacra’s and simulations

I shall use the term “simulacra” to help in explaining how the pain and terror can exists and still cause pleasure. From the book Jean Pierre Bourdieu “simulacra’s and simulations”: “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.

“The simulacra has a Latin source. It is imagery, impression, sight, ghost, fantastic being – endowed with the appearance of something or somebody who seem real. The simulation is verbal noun derived from the verb ‘simulaur’, which means pretense, appearing as real in order to deceive, confuse mislead, elude.”

Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - it is the map that engenders the territory.

But it is no longer a question of either maps or territory. Something has disappeared: the sovereign difference between them that was the abstraction's charm. For it is the difference which forms the poetry of the map and the charm of the territory, the magic of the concept and the charm of the real. This representational imaginary, which both culminates in and is engulfed by the cartographer's mad project of an ideal coextensively between the map and the territory, disappears with simulation, whose operation is nuclear and genetic, and no longer specular and discursive. With it goes all of metaphysics. No more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept; no more imaginary coextensively: rather, genetic miniaturization is the dimension of simulation. The real is produced from miniaturized units, from matrices, memory banks and command models - and with these it can be reproduced an indefinite number of times. It no longer has to be rational, since it is no longer measured against some ideal or negative instance. It is nothing more than operational. In fact, since it is no longer enveloped by an imaginary, it is no longer real at all. It is a hyperreal: the product of an irradiating synthesis of combinatory models in a hyperspace without atmosphere.

 In this passage to a space whose curvature is no longer that of the real, nor of truth, the age of simulation thus begins with a liquidation of all referential - worse: by their artificial resurrection in systems of signs, which are a more ductile material than meaning, in that they lend themselves to all systems of equivalence, all binary oppositions and all combinatory algebra. 

It is no longer a question of imitation, nor of reduplication, nor even of parody. It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself; that is, an operation to deter every real process by its operational double, a metastable, programmatic, perfect descriptive machine which provides all the signs of the real and short-circuits all its vicissitudes. Never again will the real have to be produced: this is the vital function of the model in a system of death, or rather of anticipated resurrection which no longer leaves any chance even in the event of death. A hyperreal henceforth sheltered from the imaginary, and from any distinction between the real and the imaginary, leaving room only for the orbital recurrence of models and the simulated generation of difference.

It is important to state that when the common man went to church, he knew that he was afraid of god, and must not sin nor transgress the rules or he will be punished. The lawmaker is the most horrendous and the most beautiful thing in the world all at once. The fear of god had supplied the desire. The need for the satisfaction of desire also takes place in BDSM. The most extreme fantasy and the biggest fear are both realized at the same moment, in the framework of the simulation of both the most horrible and the most satisfying. Like watching a horror movie, the fear is real, unlike the frightening object on the screen. That dark black hole requires its fulfillment, its satisfaction. The hole is different with each one, of course. One of the common themes is death. Watching death on screen whether it’s real or staged satisfies the fulfillment of the darkest hole of the darkest fear.

Those black holes are less and less pleasing. Horror movies are not as frightening as they were at the dawn of cinema. The news of murders, rapes and theft do not satisfy the need of the desire, like the ISIS news with its lively depictions can. The image on the screen like Jesus on the cross provides the need for victimization or the need for human sacrifice at the dawn of monotheism.

 There is a reason why people love drugs. Not for the taste. The whisky is bitter, and the cigarette has a bad smell. The addiction is to the feeling, the experience provided. The alcohol is bitter but causes inebriation. A quite simple distinction. Furthermore, there is a relation to the visual aspect, as well as the experience. For instance, watching the news screen. The sight in itself is in no way enjoyable; however the excitement derives from the emotion created in that engagement. That rush of excitement has a close likeness to the effect of drugs.

The singular plural hyper sublime

Jean-Luc Nancy refers to the human being as estranged, living in a general feeling of detachment. He had lost the meaning and left only with the need. That remaining need is the deepest one, the desire left in us to be filled. The single person bringing his issue up for discussion makes the loss of meaning prominent. Man’s existence is dependent of sharing. being with one another. One’s singularity cannot be detached from another’s being. Both existence and meaning cannot exist without the other and without their cyclical sharing.

The hyper sublime has no meaning unless shared with another. The other, too, has no meaning unless he is sharing. The sense of pleasure from fear and horror in the individual singular case is unacceptable in society and communal life. Religious ceremonies were usually an expression to communal life, and even if a ceremony were to be held individually, it meant sharing the experience with the community later on. These ceremonies had incarnated to today’s social networks. Breakfast, or many of the day’s activities, has no meaning unless documented and shares online. The togetherness of the social networks offers the same experience as in the religious communities and rituals.

Man has no meaning, for he himself is he meaning. But that doesn’t mean that the man is the substance of the meaning or its realization. The man is the meaning by being the element in which meaning can be created and evolve. Moreover, meaning is created by the connection between the “me” and the “self”, and also between the “me” and the other. The desire is a paradox, we mistake “the thing itself” as a rejection of “the thing self”. We mistakenly see what seems to be the realization of the desire as the destructive search for the desire. Meaning that fulfilling the desire does not annul it’s being realized or satisfied, but as being made as such, upon it’s circular motion.

The hyper sublime is the realization of meaning resulting from the destruction of meaning created as a simulacra to the actual meaning – the void. Realization is created in time, circular motion, sharing with another. Identifying the spaces between the other to the “self”, is sculpting the negative, which produces the meaning. In other words, realizing the desire by destroying the meaning made as a simulacra for the realization of the desire, when the desire is the negative for the being.

The desire is a circular periodical movement in all direction at the same time.

The “us” is said in behalf of the totality of all beings, in the singular plural necessary form. We attribute all beings and entities to ourselves under the word “us”. The collective experience of the sublime, the emotional group orgy. The sublime is depicted as total, uniting. God is everywhere, in everything and at all times. The same us transcends as being the meaning of everything, with the permission to rewrite the rules. But the mere setting of the nothing as a meaning desolates this meaning. Not if a simulacra for the desire is created, for its realization, in the international way. In such global case, the simulacra of desire can destroy the subject by the mere enhancement of the simulacra in group form.

But the destruction of the subject caused by the amplification of the simulacra to the desire will come to be only if the desire is not progressive and up to date. Like drugs, a smaller or weaker fix will not suffice. Because realizing the desire through simulacra does not really cause physical harm, if the boundaries and safe word are being held. In order not to expose the real, but to unite with the real through the merging of subject and object, and object and singular plural object, which creates and realizes it’s desire in a circular repeating eternal motion, without the need of the simulacra. As a single organism, as exposed flesh, live and sizzling. An upside down uterus. The “us” won’t be relevant at this moment.

The hyper sublime as a cyber reality

The objects around us are screens projecting the object, but that screen also reflects the man observing it. The man is reflected inside the horror upon he is gazing; he is created from the desire. The man is reflected by smartphones screen through which he consumes his current replacement of horror. Reading the dreadful news of the adventures of the terror. Playing video games, killing monsters or each other. But the hyper sublime is not present in the video game, but in the reflection. The reflection is the need. That same reflection is the main part, because it is – the reflection is the desire. The screen is a simulacra for the sublime, the ancient and the religious, when it is beyond the grasp of the man representing himself through it.

The smartphone screen is already a main and integral part of the human being. An inner organ. A merging with technology, a similarity to the other non-influential divine great.  On the screen this desire is different every time anew. The wars, most of them in behalf of religion and value, the economical breakdown, when money no longer exists. that same quasi object still exists not as a physical mediator, but as a symbolic one. Once people used to talk face to face, and nowadays, very much the same, people talk to each other through the application Whatsapp, which is even more intimate due to its pure symbolism. This is actually the early phase of transferring thoughts directly and uncommitting.

The screen can be any user interface to singular plural, contemporary, cyber, hyper-sublime experience. The UI will take your sins, it was made to look at, like Jesus.  You need the screen, just like your need to fulfill the desire.


In order to develop a practice inspired by shamanic practices it is important to explain who are the shamans. With an increasing interest in shamanism in Western societies during the last decades the character of the shaman was–with an act of identifying–implanted into the cultural perspective of many subcultures. Due to the widespread psychologization of shamanism an overgeneralized and oversimplified view of traditional shamanism gives a matrix which creates the different popular conceptualizations of the figure of the shaman. Selected areas are: neoshamanism, the ‘urban shaman’ as cultural critic and rebel, technoshamanism/cybershamanism, and the field of performing and visual arts. Looking at these areas one can find ten elements of the shaman myth which form the popular image of shamanism in Western societies and which constitute the attractiveness and the fascination of the figure of the shaman.

In order to reconstruct a wide range of the popular concepts of shamanism in modern Western cultures it may be helpful first of all to outline the character of the traditional shaman as emphasized in many general theories of shamanism, as well as some of the main points of the shamanic cosmology.7 American psychologist Roger Walsh mentions some fundamental elements of shamanism:

Shamanism can be defined as a family of traditions whose practitioners focus on voluntarily entering altered states of consciousness in which they experience themselves. traveling to other realms at will and interacting with other entities in order to serve their community.

If we take the word “shaman” and simply replace it with “artist” and the word “Shamanism” with “artistic practice” it will be clearer what I mean. Artistic practice can be defined as a family of traditions whose practitioners focus on voluntarily entering altered states of consciousness in which they experience themselves. traveling to other realms at will and interacting with other entities in order to serve their community.

The crucial points are: the deliberate entering into altered states of consciousness with the intention of gaining information, service for the community, the assumption of one or more realms of “other realms” (Non-Ordinary Reality–NOR) to which one can, in principle, have access, and the communication with entities: power animals, spirit helpers, etc.(entities: artistic inspirations) in this NOR. The two latter points are fundamental elements of shamanic cosmology, which is shaped by the assumption of mutually pervading realms of reality. During the state of trance the NOR can be travelled using imagined points of connection such as trees, caves, ponds, etc. The elements of the “travel” are natural, as the “nature” explanation by Kant it is everything around us.

Two other elements are of great importance in understanding shamanism. On the one hand the shamanic world view is animistic. The whole natural environment is experienced as being alive, and during altered state of consciousness the shaman can communicate with animals, plants, stones, etc. The animistic approach can be discussed with the help of Object Oriented Ontology. a 21st-century Heidegger-influenced school of thought that rejects the privileging of human existence over the existence of nonhuman objects. This is in contrast to what it calls the "anthropocentrism" of Kant's Copernican Revolution, as accepted by most other current metaphysics, in which phenomenal objects are said to conform to the mind of the subject and, in turn, become products of human cognition.

The shamanic assumption of one or more realms of “other realms”, can be connected to Lacanian desire theory. This “other place” described in the book “Looking from the side. Introduction to Jacques Lacan through a popular culture. Slavoj Žižek”. Lacanian “desire” described there as a place in popular culture cinema. A place where all the horrors, the edge, the rebel town, the prostitute’s neighborhood where the murder happened, all those ideas are familiar to us. Marc Augé coined the phrase "non-place" to refer to anthropological spaces of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as "places". The shaman (the artist) “travel” to those “other realms” in order to withdraw his inspirations, and with the help of simulacra (Mimesis?) to present it in his artistic practices. By experiencing this art work the participant may encounter an awe-someness, jouissance or enjoyment, in other word – sublime.

The experience of hyper sublime as enjoyment can be connected to the shaman (the artist) as master of ecstasy: a figure who promises intensive experiences on a physical, an emotional, and a cognitive level. In doing so he remains the ‘master’ of events, not becoming a victim of the ‘invocated spirits’ and/or the induced processes, in contrast to the sorcerer’s apprentice. The shaman personifies the seemingly paradoxical combination of will power and control with abandonment and letting go.

The shaman as an exponent of an alternative, individualistic spirituality is the key to post religious experience of the sublime. The spiritual embedding of the shaman is anti-hierarchical and individualistic. There are no gurus and there is no ecclesiastical hierarchy. The connection to the divine is individual inasmuch as every shaman search for his own, very personal spiritual helpers and/or spiritual guides, and–from a Western point of view–quasi ‘owns’ them. They are not prescribed but found during shamanic travels in altered states of consciousness. This approach may serve as an attractive substitute after turning away from traditional religious doctrine. Such a re-animated concept of the world can–in addition to its cultural critique–provide a suitable framework for interpreting and dealing with existential issues without necessarily having to refuse the model of scientific world interpretations. the figure of the shaman fits exceptionally well into contemporary structures of needs and motivations in different cultural areas.

Dave Green who–picking up the concepts of Deleuze and Félix Guattari39–relate the ciphers of the Rhizome and the Nomad to techno-shamanic practices:

Clearly nomadic, rhizomatic thinking underpins the bricolage that comprises technoshamanism. The rhizome however also links the specific elements that compromise the heterotopic space of the dance floor, bringing together retraditionalized ritual forms with contemporary technology. The endless drum loops and samples are themselves rhizomatic. Rhythms and sacred sounds culled from archaic sources fold back themselves in endless variation but are still part of the same continuous movement of sound, reverberating from their times and places of origin into the now of the dance floor. (...) The rhizome also psychically links individuals with trans-formative shamanic hidden realities and artistic inspiration bringing them, in the terminology of McKenna, in direct contact with Gaia.

My practice

Techno-shamanism relates to electronic sound caught my attention. I did a series of photography and video art “GREENHOUSE (2019)” with a sound work, natural elements and paying attention to resent ecological movement as cultural singular plural phenomenon. The shaman (the artist) as an ecologist: an access to ancient, traditional knowledge is attributed to him, and his connection to nature is that of archaic power. The roots of his tradition reach back to former times when man allegedly lived in harmony with nature, maintaining her balance.


The practice I use is deeply influenced by Stan Brakhage’s abstract films and Joseph Bueys’s “the artist as shaman”. More specifically I tried to make the process of video filming, non-rational and non-narrative, some type of a trance where the camera is leading me and not me leading the camera. Without planning what I am going to film I focus on location that I feel something and not trying to interpret it. Getting lost is important to me and filming with any kind of video I have with me at that moment, it can be DSLR camera and it can be my iPhone. With time I started to see that I can “catch” this way, specific forms without meaning to catch them, accidents. The filming process become then to a game, playing to catch something without intentionally trying to.

The editing or digital manipulation process for me is like sculpturing material. “I use addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.” As I wrote in my statement (https://www.borismarinin.com/artist-statement) the statement was influenced by strange “shamanic necromancy” books I found by getting lost in the dark web. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines. The 3d digital objects I do (https://youtu.be/ez2rm_GU-CM) and add to the editing process are made using Adobe After Effects and Action Script coding. The Texture was created using Physically Based Rendering and it was inspired by the process of making natural textures in contemporary video games.

More works made by me using the same practice as above:



The potential supervisor I would like to respectfully request is Margaret Jahmann. I am interested in the Ludic Society. The playfulness approach to practice can be connected to the “playing a game catching without trying rationally catch it” as I described above. I can learn a lot from Margaret Jahmann about game theory and Ludic Society.

Time schedule

First semester 2020 – Research question and methodology development.

Second semester 2021 – Hyper sublime and Shamanic theory development

Third semester 2021 – Shamanic practice testing according to hyper sublime theory

Forth semester 2022 – Shamanic practice testing, analysis and conclusions

Fifth semester 2022 - Thesis compilation

Sixth semester 2023 – Thesis presentation, correction and thesis submission.


Philip Shaw. The Sublime, Psychology Press 2006. Introduction, p 12-17

Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason. “Though” publication Moscow 1994, p 27-65

Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and Simulation. “HaKibutz Hameuhar” Publication 2007,

Edmund Burke. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Simon & Brown 2013.

Looking from the side. Introduction to Jacques Lacan through a popular culture. Slavoj Žižek. “Resling” publication 2005.

Jacques Lacan. Le seminare de Jacques Lacan, Livre xx, Encore (1972-1973) Text by Jacques Alain Miller Translated by Yoram Mayron. “Resling” publishing 2005.

Itzhak Benyamini and Idan Zivoni. Slave, Enjoyment, Master. On Sadism and Masochism in psychoanalysis and cultural criticism. “Resling” publishing 2002.

Jean-François Lyotard. Explanations of the Postmodern. “Resling” publishing 2006

Itzhak Benyamini. And Him Crucified. A Genealogy of the Christian Foundation of the Subject-Screen. “Mutar” magazine 2014.

Jean-Luc Nancy translated by Robert Richardson and Anne O’byrne. Being Singular Plural. Stanford University publication 2000

Gerhard A. Mayer. The Figure of the Shaman as a Modern Myth. published in The Pomegranate. The International Journal of Pagan Studies, 2008

© Boris Marinin 2018​ - Visual Artist / 0544941153 / b.marinin@me.com

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