Eclipses have powerful effects that can take years to manifest. So experiencing a life-altering Red Moon Lunar Eclipse conjunct Mars Retrograde on my Aquarian Sun in an Algarve campground wasn’t to be illuminated until a quarter turn of the annual solar cycle…at least!
I was still on crutches recovering from my injury in s hammock and overwhelmed by the feeling of having no idea where the cosmos would carry me under such precipitous connections…
Red Moon rising in the Algarve…
I only know that I could never have imagined Helio de Jesus Perera Maestre, who approached me in full ritual regalia complete with his seed bag dangling from the belt of his skin colored shorts just before dawn. He startled me as he made a beeline towards me with an intensity I had only known…in myself!
I was sitting on a bench at the port of Faro where I spent the night before my plane to Berlin. He charmed me with his physical grace and Scottish rogue accent. It didn’t take long to recognize a soulmate in him and I accepted his invitation to breakfast at his family home.
Helio performing under the effects of the Leo on the beach on the Praia on Isla de Faro.
The final Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11 found me in Faro, Portugal, invited by my soul brother, Helio de Jesus (yes that is his given name!) the most unexpected and breathtaking manifestation of a Hieros Gamos partner that has manifested in full-physical form under my cosmic and world travels circumnavigating the globe and the galactic center.
Preparing the Seeds inside the Faro Medicine Wheel outside the castle.
Due to Helio’s invitation, I missed my flight to Berlin in August 6. He found me an apartment and I fell in love with Faro. I just knew that I wanted to live there when I first arrived.
Demonstrating a love for Faro.
But fate drew me away from my heart’s desire, for I suddenly received funds to return to NYC, which I did on September 20, after spending exactly three months in Spain and Portugal.
Helio gave me a handmade bag with seeds that I attached to my purse.
But how could I have anticipated that a new love would draw me to Montreal on September 26 where I did a seed planting ritual in Little Portugal with the seeds from my pear and his bag…
Venus & the Sun merge before the eight Apostles, representing the eight “gates” of Venus journey to and from the aunderworld.
…and it happened!
The opening night festivity to FOME took place in the walled castle of Faro originally built by the Moors in the 11th century via the “newest and most complex” performance by S.A. Marionettes.
What a sight!
This was a stunning work of alchemical theatre about the mythology of Venus, her passage through the eight gates, represented by the eight apostles, and her disappearance into the Underworld where she meets her partner, the Sun, in the mystical conjunctio. The music was so enthralling that I could really feel the pain of her departure as she turns from the union to complete her Underworld journey, from which she rises on the other side of the Sun as the Morning Star.
The performance was an embodiment of the mystical union, complete with the demonstration of the heart opening.
Scroll down to see the light…knowledge of this ancient mythology explaining the disappearance of the brightest star in the sky when she unites with the Sun!
It is rare, anywhere in the world, to experience the delight of an art exhibition so fully integrated into the environment that the visitor is confounded as to distinguish art from artefact, and architectural decay from nature.
Playing on such uncertainty transforming observer into participant is the sheer brilliance of “289”, a multimedia exhibition of 80 artists organised by the invited guest curator, Pedro Cabrita Reis, at the home of the local artists’ collective on the outskirts of Faro.
“289” is the area code for Faro, the capitol of the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. This is not a limiting title but an inclusive gesture, because Cabrita Reis brilliantly integrates the art of the locals with better known Lisbon artists to create a national dialogue.
The image text hanging from the balconies like tapestries references the elitism of this former headquarters of the commandos who attempted to preserve Portugal’s colonial empire while the entrance is marked by a pair of clocks…
Pedro Cabral Santo’s “Featuring Félix González-Torres (the Red Hour)” striped of all but the second hand.
The visitor transforms into participant by virtue of the duality of time: Cronus, chronological time, eradicated by the removal from the clocks of all but the seconds hands, and the cyclical time of Kairos. The paradigm leap into the cycle of life/death/rebirth is provided by other clues outside the entrance: a poster size takeaway manifesto and the curator’s signature offering…
“289” adds up to one….The Red Hour.
One indicates new beginnings. The pitchfork apparatus renews the role of curator — to serve as the contemporary reaching beyond the light of the present to access ancient wisdom. This makes “289”, guest-curated by the Portuguese art star, a snapshot of his nation’s offering to the global art scene during the crucial summer of 2018.
“Memórias do Barrocal” by Vasco Marum Nascimento: a Portuguese pagan ritual offering.
Foremost is magic that renders process inexplicable: how did the curator manage to find works to superbly fit the nooks and crannies of this colonial estate? Or were works made for the spaces, indicating the exhibition as a unique exercise in collaboration?
Next is the archeology indicated by strategically placed clues indicating death. Outside is an inert figure in the garden and a kind of incinerator. Inside there is Ana Rostron’s installation of broken tombstones…
Ana Rostron’s “Untitled (2018)”
…strategically placed between Paulo Serra’s “Auto-retrato” (self-portrait) as death mask opposite Pedro Barateiros’ black mask…
…a personal/universal narrative of death leading to the skull in the final gallery…
This opposes Maria José Oliveira’s uncanny “The Adventurer”, a three part image/text installation reviving the signifier of the fisherman integral to the Portuguese economy.
Tania Simões’ sensual photo of a female body in nature in a light box titled “Sacred Sex” leads the eye to the next gallery where Rui Toscano’s ancient artefact of a drummer is mirrored in a light box.
In another corner, a key work by a local street artist GAT.UNO is also the most political. It is a crude table with a place setting with a candle at the center.
“Prato del Dia” by GAT.UNO
“Prato do Dia (Plate of the Day)” sums up the plight of Portugal being integrated into the E.U and the Euro: the plate of the day at a local cost attracting tourists raising prices beyond what locals can afford.
The cannibalism of a former empire eating its own is reflected in Jorge Neve Rubene Palma Ramos’ “Interiores”, a relic of the opening night feast offering facsimiles of human body parts as entrees.
Paradoxically, Portugal is a nation once-removed from the international art world, yet with a unique geography — on the edge of Europe and gateway to Africa and the Americas— that makes it a crucial contemporary multicultural mecca between three continents. The feeling of being an explorer into a unique world of the archaic may be a rare delight for an art exhibition, yet it is a typical adventure for the traveler in Portugal.
On the roof, Fátima Mendonça’s wall drawing revives the spiral, ancient symbol of life, to signify the transformation into the Third, the archetype of the hierosgamos.
The inherent talent of the Portuguese artist to transfer an indigenous fisherman economy into an art practice of inner penetration into the archetypes is what makes “289”, with its peering simultaneously into the past and future through the Kairos leap of present, a valuable international marker indicating the timing of a new modernism.
The self-reflective event examining the role of the critic taking place in Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid was meant to happen in Spain.
The glorious structure of the museum itself was a proclamation of Spain’s official passage into a modernism when it opened in 1992.
…But where were the movers and shakers of “la movida” which made Spain politically and culturally one of the most liberated and exciting places in Europe? I learned this in Argentina in 1984, which was attempting to emulate the Spanish freedom in breaking out of their military dictatorship with a transgender aesthetic I struggled to capture as literature in my first novel, Champagne Tango.
I decided to begin my Spanish paper from a subjective view, of my teenage experience with the late night transgender scene revealed in Madrid’s hot spot — le Drugstore in 1978. A decade later, this 360 perspective progressed to my meeting the Spanish auteur Pedro Almavador on the occasion of presenting his first film, the black comedy, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de in ataque nervios) at UCLA that would propel him to the global stage upon winning the 1988 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. I remember Pedro telling the audience that he was so involved in his creative process that he never thought about the reaction.
Pedro Almavador was the first artist I heard referencing the Third. It was a flippant response to a didactic question from the audience that provided three speculative ideas regarding Almadovar’s aesthetic strategy. While I can’t remember what the question was, his response still resonates: “All three!”
He got that right! Transgender is the Third which is why I recreate the word as construction/deconstruction: Trans/Gender sourced in a crucial and hidden icon unearthed in a formerly Turkish village, the oldest in Cyprus…
Surely this was an impulse of a new modernism sourced in the Aquarian transgender icon that we see in the Almavador film, yet where was such an aesthetic to be found in a Spanish art dominated by past masters: Picasso, Dali, Goya and El Greco?
Could the problem be — not in the art — but the critical reception by the gatekeepers torn between upholding the Spanish legacy of art and the art intent on smashing that tradition?
I seized the moment through the gap of the Third state of critical self-reflection to declare two progenitors of the hermeneutics of a New Modernism, the timing at 11:11
Among the great deal of self-reflection on the two and a half days of panels with collectors, institutional directors and even critics, along with papers addressing the topic of criticism in crisis and renewal, there was a representative from the U.K. AICA who neatly summed up the problem of criticism in the last fifty years as that of Conceptualism!
A lone contribution that actually depicted art renovation in bricks and mortar was by the architect representing the Spanish innovations in the field.
Criticism and poetry frequently blend in the Spanish language.
The ghosts of the critical giants of the 20th century were summoned…
Then there was the demonstration of the bounty of living a life in arts: the sheer pleasure of being a critic who collects poets and artists as amistades along with works of art.
The two and a half days of reflection and discussion coming to a close, a 12:30 Roundtable on Saturday was devoted to critics: “Necessita la critica renovacion?”
This set the stage for an authentic renewal of art criticism, in Spain and across the globe.
Now, finally we may be able to appreciate such erotically charged art as this:
Lisa Paul Streitfeld, a member of AICA since 2000, is a roving critic and media philosopher.
The monumental Nedret Sekban image first grasps the viewer from the huge poster announcing the exhibition down the street from its magnificent location — the Tophane- Amire Center of Arts and Culture in Istanbul.
An intimately engaged view (below) of a gypsy wedding from the Third space “Between Life & Death” draws in the viewer as participant. The bride and groom are dancing in a spiral in which the opposites — human/animal, old/young, joy/fear — are wedded into otherworldly ecstasis in which eros and magic are personified.
Roman Dugunu (Gypsy Wedding) by Nedret Sekban (2016)
The retrospective of Nedret Sekban, the longtime professor of painting at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, at the majestic domed exhibition space engenders the sacred. Indeed, to look at Nedret’s self-portraits in which he miraculously captures life and death in his face, prompts the question: “Are you a Sikh?”
I had the opportunity to ask Nedret this question when he appeared in the gallery during my second visit, in the last days of 2017. He had one of the most centered and grounded spiritual presences I have ever encountered, and he replied that he is not a Sikh and neither is he an alchemist, though his works infuse the human being with the alchemical elements — fire, water, air, earth — capturing the quintessential element with his invented technique mastered in his recent masterpiece, Where are they going?, which brings the global refugee crisis that affects Turkey like few other countries, into sharp relief.
Crows are a favorite motif as nature’s messengers of death, and therefore imminent change. So are cut flowers, the bouquets which are held by so many of Nedret’s female figures. The sea is another. The power in Sekban’s sea paintings is the overwhelming pressure of waves captured through the emotional force of a controlled brush.
Estirdi Aiolos by Nedret Sekban (2004)
The monumental wave, crows, cut flowers, fallen bodies and the sea are all metaphors for the state “between life and death” which is the Third state in which the tensions of opposites are held.
This state of the in-between is captured with the juxtaposition between bodies.
Birak Beni Uzanayim III by Nedret Sekban (2008)
What transforms Sekban’s social realism into neo-modernism is in both his subject matter, the feminine as embodiment of cyclical time of life/death/rebirth, and his formal approaches to painting groups of human beings. In Arinma, he captures a gypsy ritual as a triangle of richly embroidered human bodies, with the shaman/priestess at the point. This human ordering, which he slyly puts into his titles ( ), convergences with geometry to transform the human into the sacred.
Arinma by Nedret Sekban (2013)
It is a rare painter who captures the primordial feminine in a manner that grabs the viewer, forcing them into participant with the organic surrender to nature. This is evident in his works in the furthest gallery which are titled as the elements.
For example, in organizing the three women into the classical triangle shape of resurrection in the Rite of Spring, the difference is evident between the classical body conceived in the mind and contained within its perfected form and the Sekban primordial body, which extends from the Earth out into space to encompass the quintessential.
The attention to emotion in his figures recalls on a visceral level Kaethe Kollwitz, or Van Gogh.
Baslar Gece Vardiyasiby Nedret Sekban ( 1990)
The origins are expressionist, bordering on the surreal.
Hashatunby Nedret Sekban (1973)
Yet, the development of style — from expressionist to social realism to a neo-modernist embodiment of the opposites, the hieros gamos, reveals to a new generation how the quantum leap is made into a holistic style emanating from the painter himself: through formal arrangements of bodies on the surface, the containment of the cyclical process of life/death/rebirth through the formal elements, including an apt symbol bridging the opposites.
These are what make this Turkish treasure into a Neo-modernist revival of painting in the 21st century. Embedded in his narratives of the human condition is a plea for honoring the feminine body that is united to the earth that sustains it. Here we have a (R)evolution in art that delivers the diligent viewer into the quantum leap into participant in the profound mystery of life, a secret that is so mysterious because it contains its opposite, death.
The one who masters this space between the opposites understands truly what life is — a state of being that demands full conscious participation. Sekban told me that he has no computer or electronic gadget.
Lisa Streitfeld is a critic based in New York and Berlin.
Postmodernism is a movement that refused to die. The aged postmodern icons go on and on…and as prominent critic Eleanor Heartney declared way back in 2004: “There is nothing to replace (them).”
And then, along came James Franco…
By 2008. the movie star had become bored and frustrated with the limitations of his expression confined to acting and the time-consuming grind of the publicity machine…
James Franco extremely bored while appearing with Amanda Seyfried at the Lovelace press conference at Berlinale 2013. The film was about how the porn star Linda Lovelace was used and abused by the porn industry and was surely a Promethean advance warning to the exposure of abuse in the mainstream industry if Franco was open to the message…(Photo by LPS)
In 2009, James Franco shattered the boundaries of the insular enclosed art world system when he traveled to museums across the U.S.A. to present and discuss Erased James Franco with the multimedia artist, Carter.
The intersection of art & film: the Aquariann Carter directing the Leo shadow evoked in painting behind James Franco. Photo courtesy of Carter.
The short art film Erased James Franco was filmed inside Carter’s installation at Yvon Lambert Paris in the fall of 2008. The key signifier in the installation had its inspiration in the postmodernist artist Robert Gober, namely a casting of James Franco’s actual leg strategically placed against an open door.
Dr. Francostein & his Monster as the Leo/Aquarius doppelgänger: The multimedia artist Carter directing James Franco on the art installation/set for the filming of Erased James Franco at Yvon Lambert Paris. (Astro-Portrait of FRANCOSTEIN is the composite natal chart of Franco and Carter, rectified by LPS.)
The exhibition was aptly titled Leg Opens Door/1963, an ontological reference to the Aquarian wave breaking in the sixties cultural revolution. Carter’s direction for James Franco to perform his ouevre at 50 percent was a real time symbolization of the collective emptying of the Leo personal self to absorb the light of the quantum wave as the Aquarian impersonal Self.
LEGONTOLOGY signed into zeitgeist by Carter. Photo courtesy of Carter.
Carter told me that James Franco had AHA Moment while making the film Erased James Franco. I pursued the actor for over five years to uncover what prompted the quantum leap that made Dr Francostein’s Monster the ubiquitous after-postmodern icon that I personally summed up as: “shattering every possible boundary between creative disciplines”.
Carter (right) at the 2013 Copenhagen Film Festival to present “Erased James Franco”. James Franco gamed his former director by appearing via SKYPE to introduce “My Own Private River”, a recut of Gus Van Sant’s “My Own Private Idaho”. (Photo by LPS.)
By 2010, James Franco was on the red carpet of the Met Gala as doppelgänger to Marina Abramović wearing an identical tuxedo. Other appearances with art stars which revealed an unleashed shadow of celebrity famewhore lurking in the art world into the tabloid media that doesn’t normally focus on art stars.
The signature of the FRANCOSTEIN expression following Carter’s 2008 Aquarian experiment is a dual methodology of intervention and allegiance to meta.
Meta (from the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μετά-) meaning “after”, or “beyond”) is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction behind another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.
James Franco mocking the Mother of Postmodernism in his interventionist James Franco’s Film Stills exhibited at PACE Gallery in Chelsea in April 2013. This astro-portrait of james reveals the asteroid Eris conjunct his Sun and its ruler, Mars, in his 2013 Solar Return. (Gallery photo by LPS.)
This sums up the after-postmodern which was a media game that to be played successfully determined that the would be media star had to hold the tension of opposites, with his mastery of Web 2.0 multitasking…
James Franco triple-tasking his way out of the I Am Michael press conference at the 2015 Berlinale: posing for a fan’s Selfie, chatting with Mahari and avoiding his critic who took this photo. (Photo by LPS)
James Franco, with years of thespian training, could do this better than any art star. Therefore, his intention to outdo the avant-garde with his Web 2.0 mastery of smashing boundaries between the disciplines had a purpose…
Gadget Love Gesturing the Opposites: Smart phone in hand, James Franco blocks his shadow, Tommy Wiseau from the microphone (Screenshot from YouTube).
…beyond raising his celebrity into a virtual epic of platform-hopping never experienced before in the pop culture.
Meta means about the thing itself. It’s seeing the thing from a higher perspective instead of from within the thing, like being self-aware.
Making a movie about the film industry isn’t meta. Making a movie about making movies is. —Urban Dictionary
The January 8 telecast of the 2018 Golden Globes presented James Franco with his ultimate meta moment — to appear on stage with his shadow, Tommy Wiseau, whose “worst movie ever”, The Room, was meta-made into The Disaster Artist to win critical praise.
This way James Franco, currently starring in The Deuce, becomes the meta-figure personifying the tension between the opposites — good art vs. bad art — for the critics!
But the meta moment hat followed this triumph, a full decade after that momentous AHA Moment was signified by the pin that he was wearing —
James Franco, the master of the Web 2.0 meta moment, got a new meaning for both signifiers, The Disaster Artist and Times Up, in the wake of Twitter accusations in “real-time” with his acceptance of the Best Actor in a Drama Award at the Golden Globes. The flood of accusations to follow were indeed about the FRANCOSTEIN breaking through boundaries, including removing the guards while simulating oral sex for a film scene. Whether the accusations are accurate or not, the symbolism is apt for Mr. Franco’s meta project:
In bringing together his own quantum leap into a critically hailed American auteur by way of a postmodern “meta copy” of “the worst movie of all time,” James Franco was doing a real-time performance of the tension of the opposites in which he personally defined the after-postmodern.
The nine-year reign of James Franco, as the ubiquitous figure of the after-postmodern superseding all other creative expression in this epoch by his sheer omnipresence has come to an end. Astrology confirms this as Uranus leaves Franco’s sign of Aries to move into Taurus this spring.
A new modernist movement has arrived and James Franco’s unexpected meta Moment summed up by signage on Sunset Strip revealing “James Franco’s life and art are getting uncomfortably close” provides a lesson right out of a neo-modernist playbook:
“WE DON’T CONTROL THE STARS, THE STARS CONTROL US.”
James Franco would be wise to withdrawal from the limelight and go inward to gaze at his fated star configurations as a means of shedding skins in 2018 and entering the realm beyond the meta: the Möbius strip where outer and inner are wedded in the sacred marriage of opposites.
But then, the very speed of the FRANCOSTEIN monster meant stomping on his critics!
Dr. Lisa Streitfeld is a Kultureindustrie theorist utilizing astrology as hermeneutics in the interpretation of contemporary art and pop culture. She is currently placing two book length texts on the market, “Missing James Franco 3.0: Nine Days at the Berlinale” and “Art & the Stars”, disclosing the ontology of the Age of Aquarius.
Three amazing women summing up the re-emergence of the feminine archetype passed away in 2017, leaving a crucial legacy of the 21st century journey — to internally embody the hieros gamos. Their collective contribution is lauded here as the essential crossing of boundaries between word/image for the collective goal of the physical embodiment of the Aquarian icon of gender equality.
Dianne Bowen’s poem “REVOLUTION” with her spiral painting in a transitory New York studio space. Photo by Dianne Bowen.
Dianne Bowen started a (R)evolution right in her tiny East Village apartment building, distinguished on Second Avenue with a plaque proclaiming a former poet resident: Alan Ginsburg.
The irrepressible spirit of Dianne Bowen was dedicated to the resurgence of the empowering feminine icon which she heralded in the creation of her spirals as a living art of embodiment of past/present/future in whatever venue was open to it…
Dianne drawing her signature spiral, symbol of the continuity of the cycle of life/death/rebirth. Photo by Nikki Johnson.
Dianne Bowen concluding “(R)EVOLTUION: EROSion Flow at the Gershwin Hotel” on February 2, 2011 with the tearing of the spirals she made at the entrance ritual. Photo by Nikki Johnson.
Dianne Bowen “annoiting” Lisa Paul Streitfeld in the hieros gamos (heaven & earth) by drawing her footprint at the opening to “(R)EVOLUTION: EROSion Flow at the Gershwin Hotel” on February 2, 2011. Photo by Nikki Johnson.
My dialogue with Dianne Bowen began the night we met at a Williamsburg performance party hosted by Heide Hatry and John Wronoski, who would introduce me to Kate Millett. Indeed, my conversation that began in Brooklyn with Dianne was about a new movement in feminism that I was to discover she was hard at work in the embodiment in her character, her art and her “sacred marriage” partner I captured in image.
Dianne Bowen and her Sacred Marriage partner/husband Rein beside her “Cherry Blossom” at the opening of “Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller & the Sacred Marriage” at HP Garcia Gallery in Manhattan, 2010. Photo by LPS.
Presenting Kate Millett at Pierre Menard Gallery for a gallery talk about her word/image capturing the ancient Sky Goddess, the underlying theme of “Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage”. Photo by LPS.
During our discussion, in which she aptly wore her “Flying” T-shirt, the title of her 1974 autobiography in which she attempted to throw off the projections resulting from her overnight fame, I asked her how she had conscious knowledge of Inanna, the Sky Goddess, which was barely known in the sixties, and a surprising discovery of an ancient bisexual icon for women today.
“We had libraries in Minnesota,” she replied her characteristic sardonic tone. And as I queried her about the influence of this archetype on “Flying” and in her life, she repeatedly said: “Read the texts.” So I did. I purchased every one of the texts she brought to sell in the gallery and read them in sequence. It was an astounding discovery: Kate Millett, in her early propulsion to global fame after being distinguished as the only woman to be awarded with a degree with first class honors at Oxford, was to live the descent by way of her commitment to putting out revolutionary images in her art that undermined her academic influence.
In all of her mediums of expression — writing, sculpture, painting — Kate Millett was committed to the life of the unconscious, and her devotion to the internal journey got her committed to a lunatic asylum in Ireland at one point and a descent during the academisation of feminism in the eighties.
Kate Millett with the artist Aldo Tambellini at the “Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage” celebrating the passage of their “underground” art into the mainstream with the Cambridge celebration of the Margaret Full Bicentennial art. Margaret Fuller, the mother of American literature is Millett’s authentic predecessor as an American female intellectual grounded in the ever-present icon. Photo by LPS.
My experience of spending a few intense days with Kate Millett stream of non sequitur from made sense as her manifestoMy , like a jigsaw puzzle for the simultaneity of the left/right brain marriage. I found her to be the living prototype of the artist as a Third space between opposites. Her resentment at being cast by the media as the lesbian feminist icon resulted in her refusal to sit for a portrait for the cover of TIME magazine, which resulted in an Alice Neel painted portrait instead. She was married to the Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura at the time of the 1970 publication of Sexual Politics, that made her an icon in the Woman’s Movement.
In order to change, recognize your desire, and then something will happen. If you consent to where you are, then you begin to change.
— Anne Dufourmantelle, 2012 EGS Seminar lecture
Anne Dufourmantelle (left) with Avital Ronell and Kleist in a single utterance. Photo by LPS
A new breed of philosopher could only emerge in France, where even the male philosophers attuned to the feminine, even if they don’t consciously acknowledge the polarity in their theories except to denigrate the overflow as “excess” (Lacan) . Dr. Anne Dufourmantelle immediately struck me as a new reality — a French woman thinker not bound by “think feel” and therefore in complete command of both her mind and emotions.
This could only take place through the inner marriage, a (R)evolution that I was devoted to instigating in France through my work with a French shaman trained by the son of Black Elk in the “underground” conversion through the native American church, the inipi, or sweat lodge. Steeped in Latin American literature, Ann Dufourmantelle had her emotions, chiefly her compassion, right on the surface.
A practicing psychoanalyst, as well as professor, novelist and theorist, Professor Dufourmantelle conceived of the name of a new Saas Fee collaborative philosophy arising out of the Schirmacher media in philosophy laboratory: the Conversion. She placed this new philosophy within a new continental apparatus, the Mobius strip, by way of a historical analysis regarding the integration of the subjective experience into philosophy:
You have a position of subjectivity, beginning with Nietzsche; his Ecco Homo text goes directly back to the Augustine moment. So, this is what I want to point out: how come the thinkers on these subjects towards this debt are those who explore what it is to lose oneself ––what is it to lose the hospitality of experience that drives you to the edge of what is no longer related to the subject? Nietzsche’s Ecco Homo is sharp-edged and provocative in the way he returns the possibility of knowing himself and the delusions – to obtain a moment where the opening to the REAL is possible. (Dufourmantelle, classroom lecture, August 2014.)
The word/image connotation of “conversion” suits a new continental philosophy grounded in a transformation process. The word suggests the religious or the mystical, and yet is rooted in science, chemistry originating in the ancient art of alchemy. Conversion is the process by which the nigredo, or shadow, transforms through the four elemental stages, (Calcinatio, Solutio, Coagulatio and Sublimatio), into the quintessential, the hieros gamos. This final stage had many names, including: the holy wedding, infans solaris and the philosopher’s stone.
Dufourmantelle explained her choice of the word “conversion” was about sameness going into difference, an interpretation which echoed Deleuze’s interpretation of the “eternal return with difference” as a 21st century evolution from Nietzsche’s pre-psychological eternal return of the same. Haven’t we come far enough in self-knowledge techniques to be able to reverse our fate? Indeed, the psychoanalyst instructs us to look closely at the process, emphasising the paradox: it is from the place of sameness that conversion becomes a radical difference. This philosophical language for what physics is calling entanglement so intrigued me that I starting digging into lesser-known Greek myths for a story of conversion. There was indeed to be found a tension of sameness versus radical difference in the centaur Pholus;
Pholus was gifted in a way that made him, like the healer Chiron, stand out from the tribe of wildly unstable bodies fusing hunter with the beast hunted. One day he had a visitor, the son of Zeus. Heracles had just finished his fourth labor, the capture of the Erymanthian Boar, and entered the centaur’s cave with a wicked thirst. His host was keeper of a cask of wine given to him by Dionysius. This was, in fact, the holiday spirit passed down through three generations. The popping of the cork created chaos. The other centaurs became intoxicated by the smell and rushed up to the cave where Heracles shot them with poisoned arrows. Chiron got wounded in the foot. Pholus died in his attempt to save him. (Streitfeld, Hermeneutics of New Modernism, Atropos, 2014)
The asteroid Pholus was transiting the Galactic Center at 27 degrees Sagittarius, the sign of the philosopher, in a conjunction to Saturn at Anne Dufourmantelle’s tragic death by drowning; she was tragically swept into a current while trying to rescue two boys on July 27, 2017.
The Mayans viewed the Black Hole at the Galactic Center as the World Tree symbolizing Life/Death/Rebirth. These three women will live on, and on, through their feminine wisdom in a time of transition out of the patriarchy.