bestiary 1

Emotion-forms of the living preconscious

Bestiary draws its content from three different groups of people: what we shall call the Transitory, the Origin and the Crystal Matrix. First, “Bestiary_migrants” works with the transitory as a bridge between the unmediated and the mediated. Secondly, “Bestiary_muxhe” interacts with primary and indigenous cultures to access the longest lived traditions of perception that are found amongst these peoples, perceptions that have not been mediated by electronic cultures. Thirdly,  “Bestiary_syngularity” interacts with the most mediated groups in our electronic culture, such as advertising executives and programmers. 

The goal of the project is to work with different groups of people from different backgrounds, to examine the results of hundreds of inductions and interviews and from these investigations to build a living catalog of emotion-forms.

Bestiary is a catalog of interrelationships between ourselves and the thought processes that create them.

In the early 21st century, we are awash in imagery generated to promote materialism.  Our nervous systems are besieged by marketing messages.  Bestiary is a project that seeks to divert attention away from this objectification and promotion of thought.  It seeks to provide a window on the dynamic processes that underlie our perception of reality.

The first part of the project “Bestiary 1: migrants_Tecate” involved working with a group of 12 migrants from different parts of Latin America. All found themselves in a transitory state in the city of Tecate, BC, MEX. The process involved an induction using hypnosis as a tool to prompt the mind to generate a snapshot of  specific preconscious relationships. The migrants created drawings and modeled forms corresponding their emotional relationship to positive and negative circumstances The key to the project is to induce the mind to produce a form inspired by a preconscious linkage.

Morphological Typologies

The collapse of emotions into corresponding shapes

The idea of a morphology of inner feelings grows out of V.S. Ramachandran’s work on synesthesia and specifically between the linkage of forms and emotions, as in his “kiki-booba” experiment, in which the shape of a form and the sound of a word is linked by 98% of those questioned.  In the case of synesthesia, which is a condition experienced by roughly one in two hundred people, the parts of the brain that process sensory input are right next to the angular gyrus, the part of the brain that handles ordinality.

Thus links are found between let’s say color and days of the week and form and sounds.  The linkage of emotional ties to shape and color would be classed as a “higher” type of synesthesia, and implies a hyper-linkage between the different centers of the mind.  Bestiary is founded on this reciprocity of inner language and conceptions. Similarly, Christof Koch found that geometric shapes and forms are stored right next to each other and trigger a sympathetic response if the same form is spotted in the outside world. When Bestiary unearths these inner forms, the opposite process is brought into effect, as these “key” forms are anchors that immediately and preconsciously project themselves back out onto the world we know, forming a correspondence between the known and the unknown.

Bestiary as a creative pulse

A formal dialogue of the preconscious

Bestiary is a contemporary art project that presents various statements about the reconfiguration of the creation, content and the nature of artistic practice today.

Two fundamental aspects of the preconscious were explored in the “Bestiary 1: migrants_Tecate” group

1.Positive associations – home, shelter, bread, hat, father-

2.Negative associations – death, fear, indetermination, pain-

The emotions and sensations that arise in a state of trance are collapsed into a visualized structure that has specific traits such as sharpness, soft edges, rounded curves, undulating skin, roughness, etc.

According to the dictionary, one meaning of bestiary is derived from bestiarius, a person who battled animals in the Roman circus. Lutyens is a modern day bestiarius, fighting against the weakened values of the modern consumer society, the contemporary circus.  He employs a clear strategy to examine the psyche of materialism.

Bestiary is generated by our preconscious mind.  This approach runs contrary to the modern idea of the hierarchical auteur who creates in the isolation of the studio environment in an attempt to rule, control and dictate to our world.

Lutyens´ vision is derived from the spectrum of collective imagination and concision. He is approaches the relational esthetics, of which Nicolas Bourriaud speaks: an aesthetic theory informed by judging artworks on the basis of the interpersonal relations that they represent, produce or prompt.(see co-existence criterion).

A group of people placed into hypnotic trance by the artist, generate a snapshot of their preconscious minds.

Bestiary explores the dynamics that arise from two very different groups of people, the mediated and the unmediated, and explores the differences.  A third group, migrants, serve as a bridge between these two cultural conditions. With these arise a content in constant transformation that revels the actual condition of living.

The forms and shapes that resulted from the induction session with the emigrants is converted by Marcos Lutyens into drawings, digital renders and paintings.  Different formats of representation are used to externalize these visual forms:


b.Stereo lithography




f.Cloth and vinyl inflatables

As the Bestiary works with the idea of the collective unconscious, opening up the fabrication to a collaborative process with artists and craftsmen is a simple way of keeping the work unaffected by single, ego-based interpretations or a patronizing view-point. This process echoes new tendencies of “open sourcing” that have led to the success of Wikipedia, and operating systems such as Linux

With each process a collaboration is struck up with different artists

Stereo lithography is a process that is hands free, but is also preconditioned by  manufacturing techniques and the quirks of programs and interfaces.

The ceramics are a collaboration with Lourdes Huerta.

The painting and felt pieces are made by Marcos Lutyens

The video is a collaboration with Marcos Figueroa

The cloth and vinyl inflatables with Bernardo González.

The creative intent of working within a collective, not just the group induction process, but also of working with a wide variety of materials, disciplines and methods, is interwoven so that the audience is engaged and can have a direct connection with message and meaning behind the Bestiary.

Stages of Exhibiting the Bestiary

The project started in March 2006, with its initial conceptualization and formulation of the induction. The first show, involving micro sculptures and a video installation was shown at Inmo Gallery, in downtown Los Angeles, in November 2006.

In March 2007 a  show involving ceramics and video:  at the Steve Turner Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA.  In April:  a show of inflatables and video at RaidFC , Los Angeles.  In May: a show at the Isidoro Miranda Gallery includes video, painting, felt pieces and inflatables.

bestiary 2

Bestiary is about the emotional links that exist beyond our mundane objectification of reality. The purpose of the project is to effectively dredge the cortical stack for forms that represent the schema of connectedness that exists behind our perception of the everyday world.

Project by Marcos Lutyens                            Curated by Olga Margarita Davila