Saturday, December 31, 2011

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The idea that the brain was split into two halves was first introduced to me in the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It was a popular idea in the 1990s, spawning a veritable cottage industry of books elaborating how one could exploit the full capacity of one's brain. In retrospect it all seemed a bit naïve although a clearer view of the brain's duality still suggests that certain functions are compartmentalized in the two hemispheres.

So while the story partakes of some of the mythology of the era I think it actually holds up rather nicely as a meditation on duality.

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More scene setting with distant and seemingly indifferent scientists.

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The story Hemispheres is not only about intuition and rationality, but also other archetypal opposites. I like symbols that contain such oppositions. There are two on the screens of the computers, one, a circle with a dot in the middle which Carl Young claimed was a universal symbol for femininity. But in this case represents the element helium, or He, in obvious masculine implications. The other symbol, a symbol for power, is a spiral, a feminine symbol, with the arrow representing the masculine.

 Once again Cypher is stepping into water a symbol of subconsciousness and a foreshadowing of future illumination.

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Invariably a job that initially seems like a dream turns into a nightmare. The fog bank through which Cypher descends represents the penetration into the subconscious which is represented by the watery globe. The desk chair represents the state of inquisitiveness, like being in school.

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One of the most important questions people can ask themselves is what is the purpose of life? I have Cypher ask that question here, posing it to the subconscious mind. An answer is given by whom? The subconscious? The hand of God? I leave identity ambiguous as expressed by Cypher's perplexed expressions.

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 The downdraft forces Cypher further into the subconscious. Apparently I like repetition of motifs because we see another allusion to the hemispheres of the brain in the part of Cypher's hair. Underscoring the possibility that the previous hand launching the paper airplane might be some omnipotent, all-knowing being, we see here an allusion to Moses crossing the Red Sea.

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The one of the artists that was very influential in my youth was MC Escher. His style is often characterized as being highly cerebral if not mathematical. I use him here as a symbol of the rational. Knowing that few would recognize him I restated the symbolism with the chess board, a tessellation, an art form Escher took to new heights. Chess itself as a symbol of rationality as well as being an homage to the movie The Seventh Seal.

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It is often difficult to make a decent segue between two critical scenes. In this case I made the transition quickly and radically and added a bit of humor as well.

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