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Piko Bem (Ben Gasta)

Situationism, Spiritual Practices, Literature, Emergence, Thought Experiment, World-Building


Psychic Gray Area Manifesto

Psychic Gray Area Manifesto, Piko Bem, 2023. Digital Booklet. 7 Pages.

Psychic Grey Area Manifesto is a small booklet that I wrote and designed, it focuses on different ways to inhabit the world that open more possibilities for change and world building.

Artist Interview

Q: In this new edition of the UAAD online magazine, we're exploring the theme of "[Matrix] of the [Not-Yet]." How would you interpret these two words, and how do you see your work aligning with the concepts of [Matrix] and [Not-Yet]?

Everything that humans have ever created begins as a thought form or idea and goes through a process of development that brings it into manifestation in a way that impacts culture as a whole. Before these thought forms begin to take on a more concrete form, all possibilities exist within a matrix of pure potential. Almost every culture throughout history has a body of literature and techniques that train you to align yourself with this matrix of potential, while also deconditioning your mind of the harmful thoughts and habits that have been ingrained. The Psychic Gray Area Manifesto is an attempt to both contribute to this body of knowledge and inspire people to step outside their preconditioned views of reality and into a space where they can see the matrix of the 'not yet' and their role in creating the world they want to see.

Q: We are very interested in the trajectory of your creative practices and their connection to the theme. Could you provide us with a little more information about your background?

For a long time, my creative process was largely reactionary in a sense. I would take my thoughts, feelings, and emotions and externalize them into an object or artwork, hoping that people could relate. This approach is common in art, shaping the aesthetics and cultural mood of different eras. But as I grew and understood the world better, my focus shifted. I began to see art as a means to plant seeds of alternative ideas and solutions into our cultural consciousness. Artists, whether consciously or not, already shape the aesthetics of their time. But I believe we can also intentionally influence the spirit of the age.

Q: The creators participating in this magazine work across various mediums, including moving images, interactive installations, music composition, etc. What factors influence your choice of medium for your works?

My approach has always been very multimedia-based. Lately, I have been interested in communication and the spread of information, which has caused my work to gravitate towards text and symbols. Generally, I have been thinking about mediums and aesthetics as vessels for whatever message the artist has. I find that what I enjoy most in any medium is the feeling of authenticity.

Q: How does your work reflect or actively engage with the cultural and social dynamics of your community or the communities you interact with? Are there elements in your art that seek to bridge, disrupt, or transform these dynamics?

I want to inspire people to create microcosms of the life and reality they wish to live. Today, there is a pervasive sense of fatalism and hopelessness among young people, and the Psychic Grey Area Manifesto was an attempt to show that the rules and structures that leave people feeling powerless are not as rigid as they are perceived to be. I believe that any small action, when done with the right intention, will lead to further development of this microcosm down the road.

Q: What real-world strategies or methodologies do you employ in your art practice to manifest your visions of the future? How do these tactics serve as forms of resistance or intervention within the current socio-political landscape?

I am very interested in esoteric spirituality, and I have been experimenting with different meditation techniques for a decade. Doing this work has changed my outlook on life in profound ways. These practices have naturally had an influence on my artwork, I think the biggest way it has influenced my artistic practice is the knowledge that the ritual of creating art can usher along real-world changes.

Q: How do you hope your work impacts its viewers or participants, particularly in terms of rethinking potential futures or alternate realities? Who do you perceive as your audience?

I want people to see themselves as active participants in the unfolding of reality, and not just passive witnesses to the flow of time. My audience is anyone who will listen.

Q: As a creator, what do you see as the threats or uncertainties we will face in the coming decade?

We are living in a time of massive destabilization and shifting. The author John Michael Greer discusses the idea that the U.S. is undergoing catabolic collapse, and it will slowly erode over the course of the next century or so. Meaning that none of us will see the collapse in its entirety, and it won't be relegated to a single historical moment. But we are already feeling the effects of a slow decline that has been going on for decades.

Q: What motivates you to continue creating as an artist?

With the advent of the decline and uncertainties that we are facing, there is room for new possibilities, frameworks, and cultures to emerge. I see this as a very hopeful and motivating idea, and an inherently creative one. As the U.S. governmental system erodes new communities and ways of living will slowly emerge, and these communities will lay the groundwork for whatever comes next.

Q: Are there any theories, books, or artists you would like to recommend in your current areas of interest?

I really love the works of Genesis P. Orridge. The late Colin Ward is an incredible artist and musician. Damien Echols is a great resource on occultism with an incredible story.

Q: If you could create an art piece with unlimited resources and no constraints, how would it look like, and why?

I would love to have a physical venue space where the idea of psychic gray areas can be grounded in physical reality and expanded upon as a space to experience art and culture.

About the Artist

Piko Bem's work creates and exists in a sense of ambiguity and intangibility, which allows itself to be constantly re-contextualized, exposing new pathways and alternatives to a seemingly rigid experience of reality. As a multimedia based artist, he is interested in the way people communicate and information spreads. He uses symbols, both new and old in an attempt to help the viewer discover unseen meaning that is deeply embedded within their everyday experiences.

“Once you believe things are permanent, You’re trapped in a world without doors" —Genesis P. Orridge

©2024 Underground Art And Design LLC | ISSN 2835-284X

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