Friday, 14 November 2008


-confirmed or confused by historical and cultural confrontation.

The idea of “global identity” makes a lot of sense to me. I am currently living abroad, and have been travelling on 4 continents, 3 for an extended period of time, while ending up living in 2 of them. In my own search for “identity” I have added and deleted various norms and social beliefs. The saying; “kindness knows no borders and need no language” speaks of an universal under laying human psyche which has a stronger impact than cultural influence. I have sought to understand, and tried to find the quintessence of human values.

I have always had extremely strong attractions and aversions towards certain places and certain historical epoxies. In my global identity quest, I have been forced to face the questions of reincarnation. I have had dreams and visions which led me to explore metamorphosis therapy, and thereby getting right onto the track of reincarnation.
I believe the answer to our search for the true identity lies within, and that finding ourselves lead to a happier life. Like the Oracle of Delphi said; "know thyself". We may find valuable information to unlock our innate and individual path through investigating and working with ourselves, which again can flourish in whatever field one wish to work. By this I want to take the idea of a global identity to a spiritual level, and try to map mine. “Global identity” is discussed in the reader starting at page 54.

The project is an attempt to investigate the possibility my past lives are a direct reason for my artistic preferences, and to structure it in a meaningful way. Like my own work this project is based on and directed by my own emotions and instincts. I will map the relevant cultural art practices I discover by photos and images downloaded from Internet. The results of my research will show a link or an obvious lack of any link between the certain past life experiences and my present art practice. This method is homemade, but based on various personal experiences and alternative therapies. The Hawaiian Kahuna philosophy describes the idea of what energy that is at work in my approach, “Equal attracts equal“ where even repulsion reveals its innate sense of attraction. This leads me to the idea of "psycho geography", which I feel this is touching onto at least in some way. As a certain places trigger certain reactions and one learns to know why, it may be called psycic geography.

In this process I will first expose myself to a list of names of countries, then maps and cultures. The choices I do are purely based on attraction and repulsion.
I am aware there are scientific, philosophical and religious aspect of my subject, but I will not make room to discuss theories supporting the idea of reincarnation here. Rather I encourage the past lives to be understood as one may wish; as symbolic expressions of the subconscious, as genetic memory, or simply genuine past life experiences in accordance to my personal beliefs.

I now wish to explore the cultures of countries that I feel very attracted to and horribly repulsed by. When exploring past lives one uses emotional and physical responses to exposure as proof of significance. As far as possible I will try to get in touch with what sensation that triggers me and specify what dates and actual part of the country the lives are related to. Then I will research the specific arts and culture.

Finally I will confirm or reject whether this attempt to map my subconscious reflects a system worth pursuing or not.

There are certain recognized ideas that are held by past life researchers in general, which shines through in this project.

A) Past lives often occur more than once in a near by location.
B) When the life was challenging, one reincarnate quite soon after death occur.
C) Dates seems to appear in the mind as a the specific number.
D) Intense emotional responses like pounding heart or sickness usually announces a recognition of significant affect.


1) Select countries from a list rather fast to catch the instinctual reaction to the name; divide the countries into 3 groups by what sensation the name and thought of the country evoke in me, into good - bad - indifferent.

2) Single out the 6 most intensively felt countries and rank them at 3 best lives and 3 worst lives.

3) Add intuitively chosen date, based on what number appears in my mind; defining what period of time I will chose to research. What is surprising so far?

Considering the results appearing;

Good Life list;
Hawaii as a number 1 on the Good Life list is totally surprising. This is going to be very exciting to research, as I have absolutely no idea what happened there in 1300 AD.

America in the 1500's as a second best does not surprise me at all. I am very attracted to Native Americans, but still feel quite excited about further study, as there are so many tribes and traditions and I am not sure which tribe/life this is going to lead me to.

England as number 3 came up with the year 2000, then after another attempt 1400. I gave up and let the whole thing rest for a couple of days, until the number 400 AD appeared while writing. Finally year 1200 AD showed up. This is not reliable information, so I will give up attempting to settle for a date and unfortunately have to ignore this life.

Bad Life List

I realised I got the dates confused, by responding to years ago, rather than being focused on the year itself. My mind started thinking logically, which is what I at this stage try to avoid. To stay true to instincts, I will adjust the time to the specific year. All past life research techniques I have encountered also operate in this way.

Texas 1500 AD; I’m surprised this place popped up in my list, also because it isnt a country, but mostly because I’d always tried to ignore that the place even exists. Year 1500 could potentially be a terrible time due to the invasion from Europe, but I sincerely have not got a clue.

Iran 5000 BC; I can clearly see the map in my head, where the city was, with the rivers Euphrates and Tigris running through. I somehow think I spent the whole life inside the city, as there is no inner visual treads leading me out of it.

Mexico 300AD; You tell me! I really wonder where this is going to lead. PAST LIVES



IRAN 5000 BC;

Place; Susa, Iran.

Significances; First city of Iran, dated to 7000 BC, with traces of painted pottery from 5000 BC. The picture of the map in my mind was right, but the names of the rivers I applied was wrong.

Sensation; Hardly any, feels dead. Like my stomach stops breathing and is held in one position. This probably describes a reluctance to dive into it.

Cultural expressions; “Painted pottery” found in archaeological excavations. Decorated also inside the pot.

Comparison of art practice; Their sense of harmonious form is quite outspoken, and they usually painted rather than glazed their ceramics. I don’t glaze my work either, but rather try express the worn look, with painted patterns. And I truly hold the idea that a pot without the right shape is worthless! I found they had a tension between the pattern and the form makes even the simplest decorated pot interesting! I also found a picture of a tablet, with letters of the alphabet they used. I have previously thought about making my own alphabet as the ones I know don’t feel right in relation to my art. I will study that alphabet further.


Place; Teotihuacan 26 km west of Mexico City, El Pital far north of Mexico City.

Significances; Teotihuacan is a very famous lost civilization based on suppression of the people by religious terrorism like ceremonial human scarifies. El Pital is not yet an excavated site, except from a few ancient pot shards discovered by tourists.

Sensation; I had to look through several maps to even find a name on the area of El Pital, but I was strangely determined to detect it. It feels lovely, but I do not experience it as inseparable to Teotihuacan, where I feel the story leads and ends dramatically. While reading about Teotihuacan I felt continuously sick, yet strangely engaged and fascinated. It feels like I may not have been born there, but rather in El Pital, and just moved to or visited and died in there. It has been a massive emotional turmoil following this exploration, that have deeply affected my personal life. I feel emotions of intense bitterness and disgust towards the establishment of Teotihuacan. It is specifically while reading on the subject of human scarifies of male foreign warriors my heart starts pounding intensively. I somehow feel I had just started a family, had a child, but then died. And 2 weeks after I started this life exploration, my irrational fear of me or my baby dying in this life has actually vanished. I have also noticed when I draw, it is with a new and undisturbed intensity and focus, while I seem to get glimpses of lovely sensations from Teotihuacan in my mind.

Cultural Expressions; Teotihuacan had a large number of murals, but few intact ones. They are said to be idealistically oriented, rather than descriptive or realistic. The colour-scheme is lovely, and I also like how the richness of symbols avoid seeming too repetitive. Their ceramics are mainly sculptural incense holders, with divine symbols. The terracotta pots "Orange Thin Wall Ceramics" are also found, and quite a few 3-legged vessels.

Comparison of art practice; There is a stylized quality to the murals, which I certainly can relate to. I do a lot of drawing and when working on a stylistic image, I aspire to avoid repetition. I have an urge to express symbols I find meaningful, but get frustrated by what I spiritually regard as “the lack of them“. Wondering where I can find it and why I have the urge, I use my intuition to guide me while working, hoping the mysteries will reveal themselves, but they haven’t so far.

Rating; 4 : 5. Intensely satisfying on a personal level.

All web pages last accessed at 21.10.2008
Incredibly interesting, I happen to love these paintings.
Berrin & Pasztory; Teotihuacan, Art from the city of the gods

TEXAS 1500 AD;

Place; Laguna Madre, Native American tribe of Karankawa.

Significance; Group of people who due to unusually strong conflict with the white man resulting in extinction around 1860. Their name means dog-lovers, reflecting their close relationship with coyote like dog.

Sensation; Fear, “not wanting to be there“. History shows these people continuously got abused and kidnapped by the Spanish and French slave traders. They were feared for being more savage than other Indians, as they could eat their enemies vital organs as a trophy if conquered.

Cultural expression; These people were nomads, and therefore preferred baskets over heavy pots. They few examples of pottery found are not depicted in online resources, but were made of red coloured clay and had “clouds of grey discolouring“. Due to poor quality, they were hardly able to hold water, they got smeared with natural occurring asphalt from the sea. Pots were rarely decorated. It is well known the Karankawa traded red ochres with the Caddo people who were great potters, so they would probably have known about their pottery but not really used it. The Caddo’s’ unusually enough used crushed bone ash in their paste. The Karankawa people used the ochre to paint themselves in red, along with white and black, although ochre would have been the oxide used for decorating a pot too. The people were heavily tattooed in broad patterns and pierced in nose, mouth and nipples. They were mainly naked during hot seasons, but men wearing crotch cloth and women skin-skirts without tops. They are known to have had the most impressive bows and arrows of all Native Americans. The speed and force of an arrow was strong enough to go through animals like buffalo and bear, and to continue the flight on the other side for meters.

Comparison of art practice; I did not find any pictures of the Karankawa pottery, but I love terracotta, the red soil or clay native Americans were known to treasure. I have an overall idea that terra cotta is the clay that really express me. I have just now got a red terra cotta pot out of the kiln, and it has white and red slip paint made with yellow ochre. It is maybe the finalization of my chosen palette for the “ancient look alike pot project” that I have been pursuing for the past semester. And I am very happy with it. I also love the low fired and porous feel of a pot. The grey clouds of discoloration mentioned about the few finds of pots in an archaeological excavations, are most likely from the firing technique using wood. As I have never heard of any traces of ancient kiln sites in America, I will have to conclude they used pit-firing. These techniques and expression highly attract me, but requires rural land and lot of work. Therefore I have not yet committed to do such a firing but surely plan to once I get my own studio and piece of land.I adore the simple incised line of the Caddo’s pots, and find it almost cheeky to leave such simple yet possibly strong mark on a pot. I am very interested in the possibilities of using bone and wood ash in my works, and I have been collecting information on it since I started investigating glazes several years ago.

Rating; 3 : 5. I loved reading about these people. I love heavily tattooed bodies, and I am a fan of piercing. I also love being naked outside, and I love wild looking dogs. I hate Spanish, especially the s-sound. It provokes an unforgiving sense of disgust. This life awake quite emotions, and statements. I will therefore conclude it would have a significant impact. Still, there wasnt much fine art to present, so low rating.


Place; Hawaii, America

Significants; I have not found many, except the early invention of surfboards and the closeness to the sea. I seem to understand by the meanings of words in their native language, there may have been quite a spiritually aware and beautiful culture.

Sensation; It may very well have been a very peaceful and happy life. I can feel my whole body vibrating, and a lack of my always present restlessness.

Cultural expressions; I cannot find much documentation of their art, but rather some reliquiae; feather cloaks and helmets, baskets and shell-jewellery. The cultural inheritance seems mainly oral, so I guess the mental structure is quite significant. The Kahua shamans have their origin here.

Comparison of art practice; The closest I get to compare my expressions with native Hawaiians, is through their wonderful Kahuna massage Lomi Lomi. I started learning it in 1998 only to find out I respond totally to their philosophy. The therapist dances around the massage table, and intends to intergrate body with soul. Before I applied to the degree I am currently doing, I was unsure wether to professionally do alternative therapies, or indulge in art. In other words, the natural healing drive is strong in me, and I have healing of the me and the spectator as a ultimate goal when creating my art.
Rating; 3 : 5 There isn't much fine art to trace from this period, although there probably is in their museums. None of them had online exhibitions. I doubt anyway that this life experience would have been focused on art. But I truely find myself or resonate with the shamanic practice.

After exploring these first 4 past lives, I realise I was a bit too ambitious trying to research 6 of them in such short time. I did not count for the possible emotional impact and simply felt worn out after Hawaii. From then on the information and details I got were very diffuse, and that itself puts an end to this project. To try push and provoke this type of work, rather than to let it reveal itself seems to be an idiots task. It took me at least a week to integrate and assimilate the experiences of 1 life. It was impossible to even consider going onto the next life story before the past felt worked through.

The personal benefit and inspiration I have gained from this project is unbelievable! And the rating telling how appropriate this approach was for the mapping project, adds up as 14 out of 20. Yet on a personal level, I find it way beyond 5:5! Immediately after exploring Mexico I experienced visions or short glimpses of Teotihuacan when drawing. I feel a whole new sensation of presence which I have never reached before. Maybe that also unlocks the secret to my lifelong quest to learn how to draw, while being quite unable to do it without great effort. Maybe the blockages from that past life experience propelled me into the situation I have just described; wanting to recreate the beauties of that life, while dreading the end of it.

I have not made any pots since I started this project, as I have been quite ill and in lack of sufficient physical energy after a week in hospital. It was strange enough that experience which propelled me into this research, as I felt an urge to investigate something that was important to me, rather than an intellectually politically correct subject like my initial thought, to pursue environmentalism. This project has strengthened my sense of self, which off course will reflect itself in future artworks. I have a new solid grounding and sense of justification towards my aesthetical choices, which even to me seemed a little absurd. I struggled to explain intellectually why I did not want to participate in the technological and scientific development of ceramics, but rather use ancient and “simple” techniques.
I wish there was a way to express the deep impact this project has had on me, but it will be difficult to present in depths orally, simply because there is such a wide and (to me) lively range of inner associations connected to it. In whatever way one wish to see the "lives", it contained a deeply felt emotional journey, which in itself feels heavy. The experiences still feels quite raw and because of that also vulnerable. It has been a lot of sincere emotional work and I had to delete a lot of details before I could single out the essentials. I hope this may have meaning for and be inspiering to others as well!

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