Archetypal Mind Machine by Junius Wright
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Listen to the soundtrack:


Literary Artist Statement

According to Carl Jung, the collective unconscious is the part of the mind that contains the cumulative knowledge, experiences, and images of the human race. He argued that this knowledge evidences itself as "primordial images" in humankind's religions, myths, dreams, and literature and can be tapped by writers through the use of archetypes.Archetypal Mind Machine is a literal representation of how the experiences in the stages of birth, youth, and old age feed into and creates the collective unconscious of the human race.

At the bottom of the work there are three figures representing the three stages every human passes through in life. The first figure, a baby in a teacup, represents the experience of birth and childhood. The baby’s presentation in a teacup alludes to the phrase “tempest in a teacup” which means a great disturbance over a matter of little or no importance. Most of us have forgotten the rude awakening we encountered when we were expelled from the warm, nurturing womb of our mothers into the cold and confusing world. The second figure, a soldier firing a machine gun, represents the adolescent stage of the human experience. The gun is aimed at the past representing how in this stage we attempt to "kill our past" and establish a new identity. The green color, often associated with newness or lack of experience, also helps emphasize the "coming of age" that is often experienced during this stage of life. The third figure waves a flag of surrender with the words, "It is finished". These words are the final words muttered by Christ on the cross as well as the final words spoken by the silent girl in Bergman's film, The Seventh Seal as they come face to face with death. This phrase reflects how in the last stage every human must face the inevitable conclusion of life.

Each of the three figures at the bottom of the work is connected by a wire that feeds into a large hard drive at the top of the work. These wires represent the that feed the wisdom that is gained when individuals pass through each of the three stages of life. The bits of wisdom are fed into the hard drive which represents the collective unconscious mind of humanity. At the top of the work is a solitary eye representing the eye of God. This symbol represents what Carl Jung referred to as the "primordial images" that evidences itself in humankind's religions, myths, and dreams through archetypes.

The work is made of objects that I found in the “junk drawer” at my house and classroom where I teach. One of the most interesting objects that I found was an old computer hard drive. One afternoon I decided to open it up and peek inside. When I looked inside I found a shinny gold disk that immediately made me think, “Wow, this disk has a whole world of information recorded on it.” I realized however, that this information was useless without the computer to access it. It was then that I struck on the central idea of my work. The collective unconscious is like a hard drive in a computer that records the wisdom of generations of humans as they pass through the stages of life. In addition just like the information stored on a computer hard drive the wisdom stored in the collective unconscious of humanity can also be accessed.


Music statement for Archetypal Mind Machine


The music begins with a steady melody of two notes played on the piano. The simplicity of this melody represents the first stage of life seen in the work. Next a higher and faster melody enters and plays at the same time as the first melody and helps move the viewers attention from the first stage to the second stage of adolescence. The more rapid tempo and higher pitch imitate the great speed and recklessness that one experiences in the stage of adolescence. Finally a third melody enters consisting of a slightly lower pitch and distinguishes itself as removed from the other two melodies. This third melody seems to be played as a comment to the other two melodies and represents death, the final stage in life. All three of these melodies can be heard individually and this helps emphasize that each of the stages has its own unique experiences which are fed into the great archetypal mind machine in the sky. Many times in the musical score, however, the individual melodies blend together and seem to become a tangled musical mess. This helps reinforce the idea that the experiences from each of the three stages of life are blended together to create an individual's lifetime of experiences. Overall the music is fast, chaotic, and overwhelming. This is how the music is able to reinforce the poignant tone used to present the three stages of life to the viewer.