Noxious Sector: Of Brains and Magnets

Noxious Sector

15 April–14 May 2011 in the Main Space

Performance and Opening Reception: Friday 15 April at 7:00 PM

A cross-section of Noxious Sector’s ongoing work, including past projects and new experiments, Of Brains and Magnets is focussed on the place where research, speculation and paranormal folklore meet in our discourse and understanding of the human brain. Starting with documentation of their initial experiments with magnets and their own heads, the show includes scientific equipment turned to unscientific interpretations, competition and music, and suggestions of altered consciousness.

With a monograph essay by Scott Rogers.

View posts about Noxious Sector on the Latitude 53 Blog.

Revelations of the Oracle

The expedition came upon the tablets somewhat accidentally. While they were driving to the dig site one of the vehicles went into the ditch and the rut carved by its front bumper unearthed a series of stones; hunks of metamorphic rock with magnetite embedded in them. To say tablets is something of a misnomer. Objects of this nature should not technically exist. Their appearance and materiality could be perceived, but they were continuously fluctuating relative to each person. Most people would not even agree the objects were made of stone.

When the archaeologists fully uncovered the artefacts one of the party was driven by a compulsion. Holding the thing in her hands it shaped itself into a halo, at least as she saw it. It was also a crown, a laurel, a helmet, a band for tying back the hair. She brought it up above her head and before the others could stop her she had placed it around her temples, or so she felt.

Immediately she spoke to the others, possessed by epochs of words. In a kind of glossolalia, her speech moved seamlessly from nonsense to Mandarin to Maori to dead and unborn argots (a fact she knew only to herself). At times her utterances were quite animal, and may have been attempts to vocalize as a Raven or a Porpoise. On other occasions she hummed, sang and chanted.

Her colleagues were gravely concerned, but as scientists they endeavoured to document the event. The episode was successfully recorded, and has been in the decoding process since. Some of the deciphered fragments (the ones reproduced below) are attributed to individuals, while the vast majority remain shrouded in mystery.

Minute 5: The world is different than what we know it to be and the laws that govern it are also different. Gravity, like all theories, is only consistent so long as it continues to behave as we expect it to. We have no reason to expect gravity to continue to behave the way it does.

Minute 83: Thus when I asked her to show me how big her mother was, she did not stretch out her hands, but set her two index fingers a few inches apart [attributed to the book Space and Sight by Marius Von Senden.]

Minute 137: The world itself is the largest magnet we know, complete with a positive and negative pole.

Minute 191: The best way to know any future is to cause one. And that’s why, you see, when you start consulting the Oracle at Delphi, you’ve already taken a step downhill. You have assigned cause for the future elsewhere...So one predicts the future as much as one is cause. The future isn’t a pattern laid out to abuse and bully you. The future is a beautiful playground that nobody happens to be combining. You talk about virgin territory – the most virgin territory there is, is the future. You can do anything you want with it [attributed to L. Ron Hubbard.]

Minute 293: God is the tangential point between zero and infinity [attributed to Alfred Jarry.]

Minute 383: It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists [attributed to Ludwig Wittgenstein].

Minute 401: When we enter into a pact with speculation an absolutely infinite series of new possible realities are discovered. These realities exist without the limitations of the natural laws that we hold to be true. In this world people ascend stairs by rolling their bodies up them; all time is experienced all at once; a man floats around the room independent of any mechanism, propulsion, prior cause, or intent; God appears in the Hadron Collider; friction ends; the Moonlight Sonata is played as a thought.

Minute 859: Before natural disasters it has been documented that birds and animals make rapid migrations to points of higher ground. The animals experience some pre-warning as to the imminent disaster. This pre-warning is either ignored or goes unnoticed by the human population.

Research into the recorded material remains ongoing. The woman has no memory of the events (but she does recall the messages and keeps the recollection secret). The objects were carefully guarded and shipped to laboratories for further study.

Scott Rogers is a Canadian visual artist based in Glasgow UK. His work has been presented in venues across Canada and internationally in the United States, Scotland, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Lebanon and Iceland. He is currently an MFA candidate at the Glasgow School of Art.

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