Record from the Skull

Record From The Skull: night order of things 2019.

With Jeff Crouch poetry, music. Video, essay, 6 drawings. Canson paper, watercolor, digital print, collage, gouache, graphite, ink, personal rubber stamps, 8 x 12 in., 20.3 x 30.3 cm.


Humankind is contemplating space travel and migration across the galaxy even as borders close and populations migrate en masse across the earth. Humans might seek shelter in cave-like habitats to escape the environment. 

Ice age humans may have lived for generations in caves. What did they do? They eked out difficult provisions. They sang and danced and made marks on cave walls. They explored inner space, and their shamans led them in hallucination. Human consciousness developed. Visual areas of the brain were fine tuned. Humans developed the capacity to distinguish a face from a T-Rex or a gazelle. They could make such distinctions in a fifth of a second. Cave wall markings, cracks, and splotches trained their sight and activated their imaginations. 

And humans now have a unique ability to find meaning in random data and to make sense out of the occasional light. This ability to see patterns in random stimuli, pareidolia, is situated between psychosis and creativity, and this ability is so powerful that AI uses it to solve problems such as facial recognition.

Outer space or inner cave, it will be dark no matter what.  

I sent Jeff Crouch photographs of animal shells and skins, which he digitized and returned with his poems. The collaged drawings were photographed by firelight in a constructed cave. Indeed, Plato’s cave comes to mind. This project raises questions about the brain in its cave of bone where the smoke and the flames of perception dance among the shadows of consciousness and belief. Music by Jeff Crouch.