“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern”
'William Blake, 1790'
Aldous Huxley wrote 'The Doors of Perception' in 1954, documenting his first experiment with mescaline the perception changing drug found in the peyote cactus. Huxley goes on to describe the eight hour trip in fantastic detail, drawing on his huge knowledge of art, literature, science and spirituality to put what he was experiencing into context. He theorises that in a sober state of mind, the brain and the consciousness work at reducing the amount of information that we are aware of, allowing us to perceive only what we need to survive. Under the influence of drugs (or through hypnosis, meditation etc) the ‘reducing valve’ that stops a sensory overload is bypassed and;
‘All kinds of biologically useless things start to happen. In some cases there may be extra-sensory perceptions. Other persons discover a world of visionary beauty. To others again is revealed the glory, the infinite value and meaningfulness of naked existence'
His passages concerning Art and the treatment, and perception of folded cloth, inspired me to create a project that explores the often overlooked detail of folded cloth. I saw that cloth and drapes are usually just used to highlight and contextualise a subject and I wanted to bypass that ‘reducing valve’ and use them as the subject, to see them in their own context as Huxley had seen them during his experiment. I wanted to emulate and represent the detail and descriptive nature of Huxley’s writing in ‘The Doors of Perception’ and create images that can represent the ‘is-ness’ of the material, to try to replicate the perceptual awareness achieved when opening the doors of perception and show the significance of pure being.