Sensorium (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Sensorium (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

“Sensorium” refers to the totality of all senses in an organism; the sum of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch—the perceptions that aid a living thing in forming a conception of its environment.

Later psychological and medical theories assigned the functions of learning and reason to the sensorium, as well as those parts of the brain concerned with coordinating different sensory perceptions into an organism’s unified consciousness of the environment containing it.

The word sensorium was brought into English from Latin in the mid-1600’s. Originally it stood for the brain as the seat of the mind or the soul. So it would appear that the modern definition of sensorium is coming full circle.

We can regard the sensorium as being a collage—or better yet, as an assemblage—of our senses: a multidimensional collage that performs the task of assembling our sensory impressions into changing collages of the world we perceive: a meta-collage. This gives new meaning to Joseph Cornell’s quote: “Collage = Reality.”

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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The Projection of Evil (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.
The Projection of Evil (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.
(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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Oneiric Palace (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Oneiric Palace (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

—from Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

Waking up from sound or troubled sleep, we often shake our heads—both in disbelief, at the absurdity and grandiosity of our dreams, and in an effort to clear them from our consciousness.

Yet would we be so hasty to discard our dreams, if we paused to reflect upon the rich vein of imagination they contained?

A few days ago, I woke from a dream of a sumptuous palace. I did not live there; I was a guest. Nevertheless, the magnificence of the building has stayed with me: its wide and high apartments, supported by broad, tall, and splendidly ornamented columns; its grand entry staircase, descending around adjacent sides of a large atrium; and its vastness, natural and yet not intimidating, like the interior landscape of a countryside where I had lived in childhood.

If I searched for this building every day for the rest of my life, I would never find it. For all that, I would see traces and hear echoes of it everywhere. This is an oneiric palace, the place my dreams have built from all the bits and pieces gathered by my memory: the storehouse of collage.

All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

 

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The Little Saboteur (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The Little Saboteur (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

During ancient times, human evil was attributed to demonic possession or temptation. While law emphasized that an individual bore personal responsibility for his actions, superstition or religion held out the hope of projecting blame for those actions onto an external, malevolent agency. When theocracies existed, such absolution could sometimes be purchased by exchanging goods, money, or acts of faith for indulgences. The evolution of laws and social contracts eventually lessened societal (if not individual) projection of blame.

Modern psychology has helped to explain the self-destructive impulses that drive people to hurt themselves or others. The discovery of the unconscious disclosed the hiding place of those drives. Recognition of emotional wounds suffered by one’s childhood Self revealed the origin of self-destruction: the wounded child, the persistent little saboteur who hides within the unconscious and whose words and actions send destructive echoes through life.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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The Ensign (2014)

The Ensign (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The ensign of collage varies; not with the day or season, but with every moment and place.

Approaching this emblem more than once, you will see it is a different symbol each time.

 

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)

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Fifty-Polar Bill (2014)

Fifty-Polar Bill (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

“Mr. Browne, I’ve left my purse behind. I’ve not got a penny. I can’t pay for the ticket. Will you take my watch, please? I am in the most awful hole.”

“Tickets on this line,” said the driver, “whether single or return, can be purchased by coinage from no terrene mint….”

“It is good of you about the ticket. But if you go on at this rate, however does your bus pay?”

“It does not pay. It was not intended to pay. Many are the faults of my equipage; it is compounded too curiously of foreign woods; its cushions tickle erudition rather than promote repose…But that it pays!—that error at all events was never intended and never attained.”

—from The Celestial Omnibus, by E.M. Forster

Just as we may enjoy the creation and contemplation of nonexistent worlds, so too may we take pleasure in imagining them down to their smallest and most varied details: oceans, forests, deserts, seacoasts, roads, towns, costumes, commerce, and customs.

In summoning up such nations of the Imagination, we tend to parallel the operation of our everyday worlds. We could imagine countries free of any ordinary onus, like money or law or time or travel; yet we choose to perfect (as we imagine) rather than eliminate money, law, time, or travel. We coin our own money, obey statutes enacted by our own legislative thoughts, build and set our own clocks to divide and tell our own time, and travel in carriages of our own manufacture across lands and seas of our own creation.

In fashioning our world of Imagination, we do not wish to destroy the world as it is. We only desire to make the world as each of us wishes it to be—and can never agree upon with everyone else.


From the scrapbook of one of these dreamers come two banknotes issued by the Imagi-Nation Treasury:

Fifty-Polar Bill (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Ten-Dream Bill  (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Ten-Dream Bill (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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Magician's Mountain (2014)

 “The world in a verse, A generation sealed, men remoter than mountains, Women invisible in music and motion and color”… — From “Arrival at the Waldorf,” by Wallace Stevens

Our language has many old words that have assumed new meanings and shed their former ones. Among these live words that once described location: tramontane/transmontane, “across the mountain”; ultramontane, “beyond the mountain”; and ultramarine, “beyond the sea.” Of these, only the first, tramontane or transmontane, has retained its original geographical sense. Yet it too has taken on an additional definition—that of anyone or anything foreign or strange.

Magician's Mountain (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Magician’s Mountain (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

For many from childhood on, there is the archetype of the Magician’s Mountain: a welcome bringer of miracles and surprises. He seems strange and almost transmontane; although a foreigner, he is beyond foreign.

The Magician does not live on the Mountain; The Magician is the Mountain. All at once he is transmontane or ultramontane, across the mountain or beyond the mountain range; he is ultramarine, beyond the seas; and ultimately he is beyond the territory of easy travels. The Magician is intramontane: he resides within the Mountain of himself.

The most remote Magician-mountain is the guide, the conveyance, the journey, and the land journeyed in. We are not in his world, nor he in ours; we share the world with him, the Magician-mountain. He invites us to visit his land, and through his performances leads us across the terrains of our imaginations.

All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

 

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Homage to Dr. G.M. Edelman (2014)

Homage to Dr. G.M. Edelman (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The strongest, bravest, kindest, most generous man I have ever known, Dr. Gerald M. Edelman, passed away on the 17th of May, 2014. Loving husband and father, caring mentor, wise teacher, superb physician, brilliant scientist, eloquent writer, fine violinist, classical humanist, and exponent of creativity par excellence, Gerald Edelman left the world a far better place than he found it. His many contributions to biology have benefited medicine and pure research in diverse fields: immunology, transplant surgery, embryology, and neuroscience. His wide cultural interests in music, poetry, and philosophy spurred his contributions to those and many other arts. Within his family, he has been an unceasingly loving and caring presence: admiring, supportive, and proud of his children.

On 1 July 2014, my father, Gerald Maurice Edelman, would have been 85 years old. Dad, we remember you on your birthday as we do on all other days: with love, gratitude, and pride. You’re forever in our hearts and on our minds. We love you and miss you always. May your name be for a blessing.


To learn more about Gerald M. Edelman and his extraordinary contributions to human knowledge, please visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Edelman

All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.
Antibody-chain diagram in the collage used & modified under the  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license; while allowing the use of the diagram, authors of the diagram do not endorse either Eric Edelman or his use of it herein.
Credits: for information about the authors of the diagram, please visit:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AntibodyChains.svg
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Botanical Portrait (2014)

Botanical Portrait (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Seen in a corner of an old picture gallery…

Who—or what—is the subject of this portrait?

Some distant ancestor from a vegetal age of human evolution?

A victim of spells cast by angry gods?

Or a vision of our floral future?

The answer depends upon who asks the question.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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Arna Bontemps (2014).

Arna Bontemps (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Nocturne of the Wharves (Cloud Poets Series)

Nocturne of the Wharves

All night they whine upon their ropes and boom
against the dock with helpless prows:
these little ships that are too worn for sailing
front the wharf but do not rest at all.
Tugging at the dim gray wharf they think
no doubt of China and of bright Bombay,
and they remember islands of the East,
Formosa and the mountains of Japan.
They think of cities ruined by the sea
and they are restless, sleeping at the wharf.Tugging at the dim gray wharf they think
no less of Africa. An east wind blows
and salt spray sweeps the unattended decks.
Shouts of dead men break upon the night.
The captain calls his crew and they respond–
the little ships are dreaming–land is near.
But mist comes up to dim the copper coast,
mist dissembles images of the trees.
The captain and his men alike are lost
and their shouts go down in the rising sound of waves.Ah little ships, I know your weariness!
I know the sea-green shadows of your dream.
For I have loved the cities of the sea,
and desolations of the old days I
have loved: I was a wanderer like you
and I have broken down before the wind.—Arna Bontemps (1902-1973)

All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations & citations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)

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Steampunk Dog (2014).

Steampunk Dog (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.
In the recent post “Collage’s Steampunk Kingdom,” Art of RetroCollage briefly introduced the subject of automata throughout history, and presented three collage tributes to them: imaginary “steampunk” animals fashioned out of 19th-century engravings of machine parts, tools, and other manmade objects.

Here are three more animal subjects from the steampunk kingdom of collage. We hope that you will find them enjoyable and stimulating. May they also inspire you to explore ordinary objects and the imaginative ways they can combine.

Steampunk Fish (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Fish (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Giraffe (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Giraffe (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.
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Steampunk Rhinoceros (2014).

Steampunk Rhinoceros (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The self-working machines called “automata” have been known for millennia. They were created in ancient Greece and China, and even through the Middle Ages, in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the automaton became very popular and its complexity increased. Soon there were automata in the form of birds that ate and digested, scribes that wrote in fine cursive script, and robots that played chess. Despite the advent of micro-miniaturized electronics, mechanical automata continue to fascinate us today.

To pay tribute to automata, Art of RetroCollage presents the first of a series of animals re-imagined from a steampunk perspective. Each animal is a collage composed of engravings of manmade objects and concepts fitted together to suggest its living counterpart.

These steampunk animals are far from being automata. But it is hoped that they will inspire us to imagine the possibilities of machines that may one day emulate nature in the best sense.

Steampunk Cat (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Cat (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Duck (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Steampunk Duck (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

For a look at more animals from the steampunk kingdom, please visit:

Steampunk Kingdom of Collage Revisited

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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Charles Baudelaire (2014).

Charles Baudelaire (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Artist’s Confession (Cloud Poets Series)

How sharp is day’s end in autumn! Piercing to the point of pain. Because there are certain delicious sensations whose vagueness does not mute their intensity; and there is no shaper point than that of the Infinite.

What greater delight than to drown one’s gaze in the immensity of sky and sea! Solitude, silence, incomparable chastity of blue! Trembling on the horizon, a tiny sail, which by its minuteness and isolation mirrors my own irremediable existence; the swell’s monotonous melody; all things thinking through me or I thinking them (since the “I” loses itself quickly in the grandeur of reverie!); they think, I say, but musically and picturesquely, without quibbling, syllogisms, or deductions.

But these thoughts, whether they leave me or rush me along, soon become too intense. Energy within sensuousness provokes a malady and perceptible suffering. My overstrained nerves give out nothing but suffering, screaming vibrations.

And now the sky’s depth dismays me; its clarity exasperates me. The inanimate quality of the sea and the immutability of the spectacle revolt me. Ah! Must one suffer eternally, or eternally flee from beauty? Nature—pitiless enchantress, ever-victorious rival—leave me in peace! Stop tempting my pride, my desires! The study of Beauty is a duel in which the artist screams in terror before his defeat.

—from Paris Spleen by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Translated by Eric Edelman

All artwork, descriptions, translations, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

 

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A man’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul.
—Emily Dickinson

As you are read these words—or any other words—and make sense of them, you use a gift first given to someone else 5,200 years ago. In ways we are unaware of, reading and writing transform our lives every day,just  as they have transformed human culture during the past five millennia.

The Constant Reader (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The Constant Reader (2014). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Writing allowed information to be stored in permanent form; reading permitted its retrieval. Those who wrote (or dictated) about their skills could share and teach them with others whom they had not met. Reading and writing caused trade to increase between cities and nations. Giving rise to correspondence, written language first made possible accurate communication between people who could not meet in person. Not least, writing and reading improved communication and thinking within the self, and gave birth to the new art form of literature.

Although we remain unaware of all the benefits that it gives us, we would be wise not to take reading for granted. For most of written history until the last couple of centuries, only a small number of people could read.  They jealously guarded the secret of reading; those who taught “unauthorized” persons to read were punished by law in many societies. In several nations, reading became an underground skill taught and learned in secret.

Reading remains under attack in our time. In some countries, people who learn to read risk death. Tyrannies recognize that reading threatens their power, and they attempt to curb it: where they can, they forbid its teaching; where they cannot prevent reading, they attempt to control or censor what is read. Fortunately, censorship seldom succeeds. Learning to read and choosing what one reads and why, have become fundamental individual human rights.

Be grateful that you can read freely. Oppose censorship. Teach your children and others to read and to enjoy reading. Consciously choose for yourself what you wish to read. Strive to read for a purpose. Think carefully about what you read; read critically and widely. The book in your hands may a be powerful weapon in the fight against ignorance and for freedom.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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A return to collage in black and white, after many years of color. How light and shadow interact, inside and outside the Self.

The Caged Heart (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

The Caged Heart (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Intuition creates an internal logic of its own.

Revisiting a neighborhood once known, and finding that everything has changed. Because the Self is no longer the same.

Universal Knowledge (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Universal Knowledge (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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A heartfelt Thank You to all our visitors…

Art of RetroCollage wishes all of you

a very safe, healthy, prosperous, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Happy New Year (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

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Merry Christmas from Art of RetroCollage!

19th-Century Santa Claus.

19th-Century Santa Claus.

In keeping with our devotion to all things retro, Art of RetroCollage decided to color this nineteenth-century wood engraving according to the Christmas traditions of its time.

Have a very healthy, safe, joyous, and prosperous holiday!

NOTE: If you’re curious about why Santa Claus in the picture above is dressed in green trimmed with red—instead of the now-customary red with white trimming—it’s because in the nineteenth century (and earlier times), Santa was often shown dressed in green.

The illustration below, from a first edition of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, shows the Ghost of Christmas Present (Santa’s spirit) dressed in green:

Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Scrooge meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

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Planetary Oracles (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Planetary Oracles (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

People of many nations and civilizations have believed for millennia that human destiny is determined by the movements of planets and stars. Astrology formalized these beliefs. It created a system that married the calendar  with the motion of celestial bodies.  The sun, the moon, and the planets each received the attributes of a different god, which were believed to shape, in varied ways, the character and life prospects of  someone born at a time said to be influenced by that god or other gods. Organized religions regarded astrology often with mingled acceptance and suspicion.

In the last four centuries, scientific research led to greater skepticism about casting horoscopes. Those versed in the uses of evidence and logic deemed astrology a superstition. However, many continue to believe in luck and foretold fates, finding that these (in an emotional sense) fill the gaps left by science’s inability to predict the future.

Some have proposed that astrology functions for reasons different than its traditions suggest. The sun, moon, and planets are claimed to operate like the hands and dial of an exquisitely complicated timepiece; instead of being influences themselves, they only indicate the operation of other forces. It is proposed that souls seeking to come into the world as living beings, choose the exact date, time, and location of their birth, and that these specific conjunctions of time and space communicate the characters and destinies of those beings. Thus, the movements of the planets comprise a vast celestial clock, which registers these births. The clock does not cause such events; it simply records them.

 

 

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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Emily Dickinson (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Emily Dickinson (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Great Streets of silence led away
To Neighborhoods of Pause —
Here was no Notice — no Dissent
No Universe — no laws —

By Clocks, ’twas Morning, and for Night
The Bells at Distance called —
But Epoch had no basis here
For Period exhaled.

–[Poem #1159, ca. 1870] Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
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In several previous posts, I’ve reminisced about the feel of paper collage and how much I’ve missed it.

But digital collage techniques often give free rein to the imagination in wonderful ways. The collages below are some variations on a theme—a monochrome cabinet-card photograph of a young woman from the late nineteenth century—extended into color and other dimensions.

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

YoungWomanWithSpecs0001a

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

YoungWomanWithSpecs0001b

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

YoungWomanWithSpecs0001c

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

YoungWomanWithSpecs0001d

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

YoungWomanWithSpecs0001e

Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)

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