About this site
Hi, I’m Gyrus, and this is my home on the web. Here you’ll find:
- Information on Dreamflesh Journal, this site’s gorgeous, inspiring print companion.
- My writings on subjects such as altered states, archaic consciousness, prehistoric art and shamanism.
- My reviews of gigs, books, films and events that I’ve felt like talking about.
- My conversations with people I find interesting.
- Details of projects, past and present, that I’ve undertaken.
- Some writings by others, usually here as I’ve been trying to get things I’ve published online, and they can’t find a home anywhere else.
There’s more for you to find, and more for me to get online. Hope you enjoy.
One very pragmatic, very contemporary explanation for this title comes from trying to find a free domain name. I knew I wanted something expressing my interest in mind/body, spirit/matter dualism, so I tried loads of combinations and settled on this.
As is often the case in such things, there are post hoc resonances that suggest there was more to the selection of the title than surface pragmatism.
For one, I like to think of “Dreamflesh” as suggesting two of my favourite cinematic worlds, those of The Two Daves: Lynch‘s nightmarish textures and alogical narratives, and Cronenberg‘s visceral shocks and speculative leaps into new flesh. In my mind they form a kind of yin-yang of North American horror, Cronenberg’s bodily concerns spiked with philosophical yearnings and Lynch’s dreamlike abstractions constantly grounded in the sensual fabric of the world.
“Dreams” per se are a deep interest of mine, a near-constant source of real inspiration for my life and writings, our unavoidable collective link to the otherworlds of the imagination.
The “flesh” part has led to several people commenting that I should have chosen a title that doesn’t have resonances that suggest soft porn. Well, I’ve long been fascinated by the way our puritanical culture reflexively associates sensual experience with sex, and sex with sordidness. I’m glad those connotations are there. Some people won’t see past, or through them; but I’m happy for them to exist, for the people who do get subtly led into other perspectives on our attitudes to bodily existence.
Further, I was delighted to find, in David Abram’s wonderful book The Spell of the Sensuous, that Maurice Merleau-Ponty (a pioneer in phenomenology), utilized precisely this word in his attempts to express his vision of embodied consciousness:
In his final work, The Visible and the Invisible (a work interrupted by his sudden death in 1961), Merleau-Ponty was striving for a new way of speaking that would express this cosanguinity of the human animal and the world it inhabits. Here he writes less about “the body” (which in his earlier work had signified primarily the human body) and begins to write instead of the collective “Flesh,” which signifies both our flesh and “the flesh of the world”. By “the Flesh” Merleau-Ponty means to indicate an elemental power that has had no name in the entire history of Western philosophy. The Flesh is the mysterious tissue or matrix that underlies and gives rise to both the perceiver and the perceived as interdependent aspects of its own spontaneous activity.
The serpent logo
The logo was kindly drawn by Australian ritual performer Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule, based on my concept. In case you have got it yet, it’s a lowercase “d” (dream) and “f” (flesh) in one snakey form.
Snakes have been a major force in my significant dreams over the years; I’m sure I’m not the only one. They’re a major animal power in human mythology and our relatedness to the esoteric energies of the biosphere. They rock.
The form of this snake also references Terence McKenna’s interest in “the ampersand” (“&”) in True Hallucinations. He saw it as “the symbol of the condensation of the alchemical lapis [...] the natural symbol for a four-dimensional universe somehow bound into a 3-D matrix.” Space and time, or matter and spirit, are looped together with a neat “knot” in the corner.
The Dreamflesh logo, in binding “d” with “f”, references the unity of spirit and matter, but includes an “open end”. The knot is untied. I think of this as the space for the constant flow of interaction between the two realms, united yet separate. Ouroboric neatness is disrupted; as Laughing Lenny says, “There is a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”
The gap is guarded by the hissing serpent; as in nuclear fission, you don’t mess with the fault lines between two realms without due caution and respect.
In case you wonder, Dreamflesh is a totally non-profit, self-funded, fuck-I-hope-I-break-even venture. At the moment. Any profits go towards web hosting costs and future publications.