The art of philosophy

The Philosopher's Stone: Pixels Sideways
The Philosopher’s Stone: Pixels Sideways

Sunday March 31st saw the opening of The Philosopher’s Stone, a further entry in the round 6 Artist In Residence series run by the Linden Endowment for the Arts.

Curated by Pixels Sideways and Georg Janick, the installation is a collaborative piece featuring the work of 16 artists, including Pixels. The installation grew out of an on-line article Pixels had read about in which a teacher asked a group of young pupils to draw what they thought a philosopher looked like. Forwarding the article to Georg, in real life Gary Zabel, Professor of Philosophy at University of Massachusetts, Pixels mentioned the idea of doing an art piece on the subject of philosophy.

The Philosopher's Stone: Freewee Ling - Nietzsche
The Philosopher’s Stone: Freewee Ling – Nietzsche

The result is 15 artists paired at random with 15 philosophers selected by Georg, and charged with the task of interpreting the latter through art. The artists and the selected philosophers being: Aequitas – Plato; Ama Avro –  Descartes; Artistide Despres – Deleuze; Barry Richez – Heidegger; Bibi Rives – Wittgenstein; Feathers Boa – Marx; Freewee Ling – Nietzsche; Leoa Piek – Hegel; Lollito Larkham – Kant; Misprint Thursday – Leibniz; Robin Moore – Aristotle; Scottius Polke – Hume; Stardove Spirt – Epicurus; Ub Yifu -Spinoza; Winter Nightfire – Arendt.

These works are displayed on a series of islands above the region, and reached by clicking on the urn located at the arrival point. Urns also form teleport points for moving between the islands (or you can fly). Note that some of the pieces are interactive as well, and some contain local windlights – check for notes / warnings if your viewer doesn’t automatically change windlight setting – and streaming audio.

The Philosopher's Stone: Barry Richez - Heidegger
The Philosopher’s Stone: Barry Richez – Heidegger

In addition, Pixels has set-up a series of pieces at ground level which explore a number of ideas: the Philosophy of Love, the Philosophy of Struggle, the Philosophy of Media and Politics, etc. These can be interactive in nature, and require careful exploration if you are to fully uncover their secrets. This ground level area also includes an amphitheatre for special events  – SaveMe Oh featured during the opening – and displays of 2D art by the participating artists.

Given the nature of the installation and the broad range of participants, this is something of an eclectic mix, which may have a mixed response depending on your familiarity with the subject matter presented in each of the pieces – although there is enough here to encourage those wishing to understand more to go out and learn (Wikipedia can be your friend in this).

The Philosopher's Stone: Winter Nightfire - Arendt
The Philosopher’s Stone: Winter Nightfire – Arendt

There are also some delightful twists of humour to be found throughout – either visually or within some of the texts accompanying the pieces (Pixel’s write-up for the Philosophy of Struggle should raise a smile or two, for example).

While on the ground, I did experience a couple of issues with audio streaming clashing with local sounds, so remember to toggle media on / off when moving between pieces, and having a listen to the ambient sounds as well, just in case you’re missing something.

The Philosopher's Stone: Lollito Larkham - Kant
The Philosopher’s Stone: Lollito Larkham – Kant

The Philosopher’s Stone is likely to have additional events occurring during its time on LEA13 – which should be through until the end of April / early May. I understand Pixels is considering an additional exhibit on the region prior to the LEA round 6 drawing to a close at the end of June.

Addendum: I’ve swapped-out some of the images from this review in favour of others since first published, as I subsequently discovered that Ziki Questi had selected the same pieces for her coverage of the Philosopher’s Stone, and we’d opted to use similar angles for our respective shots. I do apologise to her for retaining the opening shot in this article – again the same as Ziki has used, and she published ahead of me – but Galileo’s words do serve as a perfect frame for a review. 

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