Psychology and Art: A Necessary Partnership For a Better World

Despite the brevity of our lifespans, humans collectively are changing the face, and fate, of the planet’s species. Be it runaway pollution, our contribution to rising global temperatures, or the fervent gobbling of resources to feed our manic hunger for “progress,” we are manipulating the efficient ecological balance that took millions of years to evolve. Worldwide, the scientists unite in agreement on the causes of climate change. Humans witness changes in their backyards, while millions of voiceless plants and animals succumb to changes beyond their evolved adaptability.

As the situation progresses, clearly the term “climate change” is not large enough to encapsulate the multi-dimensional and far-reaching impacts of humans on Earth. James Lovelock created the hypothesis of Gaia: that the living and non-living components of Earth function as a single living organism. The organism self-regulates in order to maintain a healthy balance, suitable for sustaining its life. In essence, all actions on Earth (no matter how small) can affect the organism as a whole.

If Lovelock’s hypothesis is applied to the calamities of today, Gaia is sick. Her immune system is compromised. Her body is shaking and whipping about with storms, fires and droughts. Her blood has filled with oil and trash, and her lungs with billowing plumes of burning fossils. Her skin crawls with machines that dig, cut, squeeze, and strangle. She resembles a child in a hallucinatory, feverous fit of delirium. In the Gaia model, humans are the mutant cells of a collective cancerous tumor that has metastasized in the global body.

            What can be done?

It is apparent that we have enough information, and still nothing changes. Why? What is the human psychological block that keeps us on a path towards global eco-suicide? Where does one put the pain, when the pain is relentless? What actions can be taken, when everyone knows they are partially to blame? What does it matter?

Axis Mundi addresses the psychology behind these issues. The aim is to expose hidden motivations, unspoken shame, un-mourned losses and forgotten love for our world. The aim is also to evoke awareness, personal or otherwise.

Axis Mundi will explore and expand upon three crucial, contributing, interconnected aspects of the current crisis: Environmental Melancholia, Collective Social Mania, and Biophilia. The first two aspects are connected in a hedonic loop of capitalism and buyers remorse. The last plays a crucial role in re-establishing our instinct to protect that which we have co-evolved alongside and are genetically predisposed to love: The Earth.

Axis Mundi is Latin for the point that connects heaven and earth. It is a symbolic, “known” sacred place for many world religions. It represents the giving and receiving of knowledge between two worlds. In this exhibition, the artists and artworks are the Axis Mundi. They are the communicators and the facilitators of emotional activation and awareness. They will use their tolerance for depression and anxiety, as well as their ability to navigate their internal/external worlds, in order to create symbols and symbolic actions. In so doing, the artists will be providing a path for reflection, learning, remembering, grieving, and intercepting unhealthy emotional patterns.

Make no mistake, when it comes to resistance, artists play a crucial right now.

They are crucial to help us understand where we are stuck, why we hide, why we numb, why we run, why we need to grieve together. They help connect dots that have remained unseen by us. They create a language through images, sounds, touch, and words… a language that will not recognize divisions of statuses, genders, and religions. They provide us with ways of understanding a rapidly changing world.

Artists remind us of our humble place on this spinning, miraculous, massive organism, Gaia. In these uncertain times, it is only from a place of humble awareness that we may hope to move ahead with decency and candor.

-Regan Rosburg, Artist and Curator of Axis Mundi

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