The word PSYCHODROME has been coined by Liviu Iliescu, who used it for the first time in "Arta", the magazine of the Union of Plastic Artists (no.9-10, p.4-5, of October 1990). The author expounds his view on the PSYCHODROME and describes its component elements. In Liviu Iliescu‛s monographArta Bioptică – Bioptical Art, published by "Editura Crater" in 1999, one of the chapters is called The Psychodrome (copyright 1999).
The PSYCHODROME is a plurifunctional monumental ensemble intended for the amplified contemplation both of stimuli from the surrounding world (PSYCHO-A) and of stimuli created by bioptical compositions (PSYCHO-B).
The shape and size of the complex are close to those of a stadium. It is equipped with a great many mirrors to reflect the image of heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars), as well as with Aeolian organs and other devices meant to induce us to contemplate the sky and be aware of our presence in the universe (see the sketch).
This complex also has special areas dedicated to the contemplation of bioptical compositions liable to induce psychic states never experienced before, especially for binocular vision. These areas are arranged as an exhibition, providing PSYCHO-B. Every subject will be impressed by bioptical effects. The extent of the emotion depends on one‛s inborn affective capacity.
It is possible to perceive:
- nacreous, pulsating phantom-like colours, as if pigments become dematerialized;
- the resultant of psychic reactions following the use of the bioptical device, namely hues which cannot be obtained by mixing painting colours gazed at in a normal way;
- shapes, contours which stand out from the canvas and seem to move in space, within an interval of several minutes. (These sensations differ from those resulting from the observation of objects in motion, since they are induced by static stimuli without any modification of the perspective);
- a virtual space which gradually increases in depth, when looking at bioptical compositions through a bioptical space. (As against conventional paintings, bioptical compositions are not only common representations, but also images endowed with the above property);
- different forms and contours appear successively in the same place. (This modality was studied by Helmholtz, the physicist, as a simple binocular test. Bioptical painting turns it to account in compositional ideas. Images are induced which alternate in a ghost-like way);
- forms of objects known to be more or less heavy, which now seem weightless;
- contradictions between the tactile and the visual, since in bioptical representations some space forms of sculptures seem to present un natural interpenetrations, portions which modify their position in space.
Experiments in the PSYCHODROME are not yielding facile entertainment. They are inducing deeper sensations, as contemplations lead to sometimes therapeutic relaxations.
The PSYCHODROME complex makes psychologists and people with philosophical concerns aware of several questions and aspects. Some of these questions have been generally posed beforehand. Now they are worded from a different angle, resulting both from studies in the field of bioptical phenomena and from the contemplation of bioptical compositions (painting and sculpture). Questions are also related to the attempt at studying the characteristics of plastic arts as a whole, in their evolution from the latter half of the nineteenth century up to the present.
Here are some of these questions:
- Why have so many art currents appeared in a relatively short historical interval?
- Why have generous ideas and valuable contents been abandoned within a few years from their emergence?
- Is the quest for originality the answer?
- Why do all these bring about satiety of saturation?
- Why does the intensity of the affective "message" decrease and compositions turn into retrospective curios? (though sometimes priced at auctions)
- Is it possible to highlight the role of saturation by studying the steps: usefulness – necessity - saturation? Is saturation a feed-back to necessity?
- Is an approximate division of necessity into primary needs and educated ones liable to lead to the consideration of somewhat postulating assertions?
The last two questions may be related to some considerations:
- What is the stand of Bioptical Art as to the considerations which account for characterizing Giorgio de Chirico‛s paintings as metaphysical?
- Could metaphysicists use the perceptions induced by bioptical compositions in their controversies with the physicalists?
- What are the prospects that Bioptical Art should raise ony disinterested interest, in the opinion of aestheticians –philosophers? Under the present circumstances, the halls of art exhibitions lack visitors.
The possible uses of bioptical arts are also pointed out to:
- artists (painters, sculptors), to acquire new means in artistic communication, but also to train their sensitivity in reproducing forms and colours in conventional compositions in their own way;
- psysicians, for psychiatric treatments;
- military men and sportsmen, for visual training (large-scale bioptical compositions may especially be used to decrease the reaction time in distributive attention).
By its means of stimulating meditation and contemplation while passing from the outer to the inner world, the Psychodrome will mediate man‛s approach to the divine, regardless of religion.
Some supplementary information are meant to be added to the descriptions in the chapter "Psychodrome" of the monograph on "Bioptical Art".
Optical reflecting systems distributed all over the amphitheater are forming a spiral shape. They are spherical mirrors with computer-driven mechanisms; computers involve programmes to follow up a certain star, sun or moon. The rotation of the Earth (the motion of heavenly bodies in the sky) is taken into account on the one hand. On the other hand, it is ascertained that reflected images could be watched from the look-out town (5).
The groups of prisms (6) from the arched structure (4) receive sunlight by means of a plane mirror, also set in motion by mechanisms driven by computerized programmes.
The movements occur at low precision, within several minutes.
The achievement of a Psychodrome requires the colaboration of specialists from several fields. The experimentation of some component, elements should by carry out in a pilot station.
It is suggested that the Psychodrome be placed on a tourist way, in the vicinity of parks of the Disneyland or Dracula land type. Usual entertainment could thus be supplemented by higher relaxation possibilities.