I write this in haste. What follows is more of a marking to disassemble a very complex socio historical space.
Perhaps, it is best to begin formulating the question. This first pass will no doubt be inadequate.
What if during the advent between Buddhism and psychedelics the African American wing of the political corpus had already achieved economic, social, and spiritual power?
What I want to get to is that visionary art is far from complete the way it is represented now. The privileged white class intelligentsia dominated the narrative of how to approach altered states of consciousness.
Much of the visionary art out there purporting access to Platonic dimensions and hyper space realms is usually heavily tinged with Hindu and Buddhist mythology. We must be discerning as to their veracity and inadvertent duplicity with social forces that might not fully liberate novel subjective and collective formations. By that I mean, both Hindu and Buddhist paradigm can lead to a withdrawing of praxis in the advancement of political and economic parity. Altered states are often a by pass away from action.
Is it worthy to examine how the works of Alex Gray and many others from similar schools trap thought, spirit, emotions into a pre ordained theological horizon? I think there is fertile soil in such a venture sociologically, philosophically and artistically. Where is the liberation in re instantiating of theological world views that too often replicate both the hiearchical structures of Christianity and Capitalism?
Aesthetically, the visionary work is compelling and seductive yet their representations remain Androcentric and didactic. Compassion, love, transformation are possibles within the human experience and pursuits of mine as well. Much of visionary art points to this. I am sympathetic. Yet, there are absent streams of expression that are problematic.
The oldest shamanic cultures are from Africa. Their spiritual force is in the immediacy of the body through dance, chanting, shaking, laughter. The passage between "first world" and "second world" is experientially somatic vivid and true. The healing and empowering voltages received during their alternate states are not those of Shiva, Buddha, Christ, or Fractals extraordinaire. What would the "inner" panoromas look like in say, painting? Would not the intensities, flashes, and deliverance be full of transmission as textures of color, lines, flashes and not as representational paintings of men and women dancing? What kind of spiritual milieu would we be living in aesthetically, ethically,and philosophically if the power of thinking and being had not being curtailed by certain Eastern forms of transformation impactful as they can be?
MesoAmerica remains replete with singular hybrid creatures and widely divergent responses to subtle cognitive realms of embodiment. The early groundings of contemporary entheogenic metaphysics missed opportunities to generate other states of becoming or even ontological narratives that are forces for liberation and understanding. The current representation of shamanic states also has been populated for a variety of reasons by an iconography suited to Western/Eastern tropes which I consider a disturbing development.
We need to explore further the implications of what the exclusion of other shamanic/transformational accounts mean for the story of awakening/enlightenment/shamanism/psychedelia and how alternate visionary accounts could favor more freedom of thought and action for the context we are living including the lack of female visionary artists. The power of the state to control what you think, feel, create, and consume is unprecedented throughout the globe. Does contemporary visionary art liberate us to novel subjective formation or does it help perpetuate a passivism and restriction of what else can be constructed?
I pose this as questions that I am still developing further and propose that instead of a visual catechism we explore through color and form the diversity of climates in alternate states mapping out zones of intensity and passage for a while instead of mystified anthropocentric selfies
The void is teeming with life.