Emin Gök

Compositions of Psychomagic I-IV


Emin Şaban Gök’ün, Şili doğumlu sanatçı ve guru Alejandro Jodorowsky’nin (1929) geliştirdiği ve sanat, psikanaliz, Doğu felsefesi ile Jung’cu mistisizmin bir karışımı olan terapi tekniğine selam eden “Psikomaji Kompozisyonları I-IV” başlıklı ses kolajları, temelde birer öz-terapi seansı olmaları niyetiyle kurgulanmış kompozisyonlar. Dokusal elektronik, ambient, deneysel, caz ve blues janralarını, sürrealizmin yapıtaşlarından biri olarak bilinen serbest çağrışım tekniğinin yönlendirmesiyle harmanladığı bu eserde kurgulanan ses manzaraları Gök için kişisel ve sembolik önemi olan toplama kayıtlardan oluşuyor ve form-formsuzluk, ilişkilenebilme-yabancılaşma arasındaki ince çizgide duruyorlar. Saksofoncu Metin Paksoy, caz vokalisti Evrim Özşuca, gitarist Ramiz Barut ve oyuncu-şarkıcı Artemis Oikonomou’nun aralarında bulunduğu müzisyenlerin çalışmalarından parçaları da içeren kompozisyonlar, psikoloji ve felsefe eğitiminin ardından zihinsel rahatsızlıklar, sanat terapisi ve sanat felsefesi alanlarına odaklanan Gök’ün halen süren kavramsal araştırmasının bir parçası niteliğinde. Eserin görsel karşılıklarını oluşturmada sanatçı Cem Altınöz, miks ve sergi alanına uyarlama konusunda ise prodüktör Yiğit Soner ile işbirliği yaptığı “Psikomaji Kompozisyonları I-IV”, Gök’ün kendi hikâyesini ya da öne çıkarmak istediği anlatıyı kolayca, alışılageldik araçlarla değil, izleyicinin, daha doğrusu dinleyicinin dikkatini ve zamanını isteyen, şifreli bir şekilde ortaya koyuyor.

Compositions of Psychomagic I-IV


Emin Şaban Gök’s audio collages titled “Psychomagic Compositions I-IV”, which pay homage to the therapy technique that is a blend of art, psychoanalysis, Eastern philosophy and Jungian mysticism, developed by Chilean-born artist and guru Alejandro Jodorowsky (1929), are compositions designed with the intention of being a self-therapy session. The soundscapes constructed in this work, which blends textural electronic, ambient, experimental, jazz and blues genres by free association–one of the building blocks of surrealism–are composed of collected recordings that have personal and symbolic importance for Gök, and they stand on the fine line between form and formlessness, or association and dissociation. The compositions, including pieces from the works of musicians including saxophonist Metin Paksoy, jazz vocalist Evrim Özşuca, guitarist Ramiz Barut and actress-singer Artemis Oikonomou, are part of Gök’s conceptual research that focuses on mental disorders, art therapy and philosophy of art after studying psychology and philosophy. “Psychomagic Compositions I-IV”, in which he collaborated with the artist Cem Altınöz in creating the visual equivalents of the work, and producer Yiğit Soner in mixing and adapting it to the exhibition area, Gök tells his own story or the narrative he wanted to convey not with conventional and straightforward means, but in a cryptic way that demands the attention of the viewer, or more precisely, the listener. 

Psychomagic is invented -or better put, compiled- by filmmaker and lay-psychologist Alejandro Jodorowsky as a therapeutic practice and is an eclectic mix of art, psychoanalysis, eastern philosophical thought, and Jungian style mysticism. I guess the name is an unfortunate choice, as the founder of the discipline lay no claim on being a magician of any sorts. He was trying to propagate the idea that art has the power to change, to heal and to give insights in a very particularly surrealist manner. On the other hand one might say it is in fact fortunate that he coined the tongue-in-cheek term, as it separates his “unscientific” claims from the promises of therapeutic science under the influence of positivism, which is an area proven to be very fruitful. I guess for our purposes, to understand psychomagic as an archaic, incomplete conception of art therapy the output of which has an artistically distinct flavor, would be more than sufficient.

According to the principles of Psychomagic, the unconscious mind is capable of a great deal of expression, and the visible counterpart to these expressive floods can span from compulsive behaviors to bad relationship patterns to actual physical disorders. This idea is not new of course, it is taken directly from psychoanalytic theory.  Usually, in a typical psychoanalysis session, the aim is to communicate through talking and hopefully gain an understanding of the patient’s unconscious and conscious processes, to eventually turn this knowledge upon the patient to create a therapeutic realization. The original idea is that this realization by itself will create the sought-after change in reality, which is, as we now clearly know, rarely sufficient.

Psychomagic claims, what is usually needed to create impactful change, is a symbolic act. “ Symbolic” because it accepts that every person in existence has their own language, their own metaphors, their own subjective existence besides the objective, shared perspective we’re all part of. This subjectivity is at its most unique and transparent, when in a dream state. And just like the encrypted nature of a dream, a kind of encryption may be needed to communicate something to the unconscious, to provoke change on a deeper level.

And it is an “act” because to be in an “active” position means positively intending a new formation within the self. It is not a coincidence that almost all religions have incorporated “intentions” and “intentional actions” within their practices as key features. Because to intend before a certain action, is usually what separates that action from being an automatic or passive one.

Blend these two features and a “symbolic act” becomes a ceremonial, celebratory gesture against the deterministic forces of nature, which undoubtedly includes the unconscious. It becomes one way in which we can understand ourselves and maybe even heal. This series of compositions are my “symbolic acts”.

Entertain the example of an African voodoo priest, putting needles into a doll that symbolizes a certain person. What is traditionally thought within those folk tales, is that the witch is cursing the victim in order to agonize him in ways possible to her craft. From the perspective of psychomagic on the other hand, what she is actually doing is a symbolic action towards herself, towards the unconscious, to resolve an issue. The aim is not to chain the person targeted, but to unchain one’s self from the fixation.

And you might have already guessed by now, that there must be a specific chain of events that catalyzed this need for me to enroll in a series of self-directed therapy sessions, and inevitably decided upon its content. What you’re guessing is mostly true: I do have a story, a narrative I am putting forth, encrypted as usual for a symbolic act. But to verbalize it in a standard, everyday manner, to give you everything easily, would only mean exposing my life events and a number of other parties’ private issues, to a wide audience, without consent.

So there it is, you now also have a puzzle, a mystery, a “What is it about?”, which might be fun if you’re into that kind of speculation. I am not against that. Still, what I do want to end on is this eternally fruitful relationship between art, psychology, and the symbolic, metaphorically woven way we navigate our consciousness. I have no claim to science nor am I accepting in any determinacy the propositions provided above. I am only entertaining these psychoanalytic propositions temporally and experimentally, wishing to arrive at a novel process that outputs a certain sonic arrangement outlining a sudden burst of the ‘unconscious’.

Emin Gök