Art, consciousness, and altered perception. In this richly illustrated lecture, Professor Frederic Migayrou takes us on a kaleidoscopic tour of ‘The Archaeology of the Mind Design.’ Migayrou examines historical attempts by writers, psychologists, scientists, architects, artists, and designers to carve out, manipulate and question the nature of consciousness and perception. Examples range from Ugo La Pietra’s simple method for shifting the view of a cityscape, to highly elaborate experiments in communal and alternative living, such as those held under the shelter of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes at ‘Drop City’ in Southern Colorado. These works share the simple idea that everyday consciousness and perception offers subjects only a limited understanding of the world we live in. Using light, sound, psychotherapy, drugs and experimental architecture, the many practitioners explored here devised alternative approaches to seeing, listening and socialising. In this short film we travel from Mesmer and Freud to psycho-physics, psychedelic experiments and the wilder shores of the 1960s counterculture, examining many of the artefacts left in its wake. Finally, Migayrou considers the role of the mind design in contemporary cybernetics, virtual reality and military robotics.
Frédéric Migayrou is Chair, Bartlett Professor of Architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Deputy Director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre de Création Industrielle at the Centre Pompidou Paris. He was invited to speak at a seminar hosted by the Hidden Persuaders on the 5th of July 2016. His lecture draws on the rich visual and artefactual archives of the Pompidou Centre and has many resonances with our project themes surrounding Cold War culture, changing visions of mind, brain and perception, reason and unreason. It was followed by an engaging discussion about the relationship of utopian visions consciousness expansion and dystopian visions of militarised mind control.
Edited by Charlie Williams and Edmund Bolger, filming by the Derek Jarman Lab