Running in Talbot Rice Gallery from 2nd November 2019-1st February 2020, The Extended Mind features work relevant to the theory of distributed cognition.
In short, this theory proposes that thinking is not limited to the brain, but extends outwards into the objects we use, our bodies, language, and environments.
Among the artworks it features, there is the curious, playful and thought-provoking installation and video work of Angelo Plessas. The Karma Dome, an interactive space within the gallery, invites users to reconnect with their immediate surroundings. Paired with a humourous video explaining NRM-esque spiritual themes behind the dome, the work is a critique of the pervasiveness of technology in our lives, but also an acknowledgement of its potential.
The immersiveness of crawling into a dome, and the spiritual themes surrounding it, make it a contemplative space that, paired with the video, discusses the body and mind as located within and mediated through our devices. Plessas discusses the idea of life forces or 'orgonic energy' in a wild, kaleidoscopic and cultish animated video. The space for his dome is surrounded by animated flames and wall quilts, in something akin to a temple combined with a primary school.
I am most drawn to the playful side of this installation, and the idea that an adult can crawl into a soft and colourful dome and feel separated from a world where they feel responsible. Though it may not be one that patrons subscribe to, the idea of entering a physical space linked to an alternate belief system outside of one's normal worldview seems rejuvinating and fun.
There's a sense of wonder, potentially childlike, potentially cultlike, in this installation, that I wish to channel and find an outlet for in my own work.
Plessas' work seems to strive to disconnect or rewire the mind from constant information and relocate it in a space that feels like a bastion from the everyday.
A place where you are invited to think in new ways.