The 26 stones of the henge each represent a particular letter of the Roman Alphabet. Each stone is precisely positioned according to an alphabetic configuration which Michael Winkler developed to visualize the patterning encoded in the signs of language. But this same henge of stones also defines the geographic locations which align to the sun and moon during celestial events. Henge Lab reveals how features of human awareness (which were unintentionally replicated in the signs of language) reflect a meaningful synchonicity with the design of Nature–even extending to the temporal alignment of celestial events.
Henge Lab is an extension of an ongoing project. Michael Winkler has always used the same process (which he developed over 40 years ago) to create his abstract forms–the forms are a spatial depiction of the patterning encoded in the letter-sequences of written words. As previously explained, the Roman Alphabet is treated as a circular configuration of 26 letter-points organized around a pentagonal symmetry of vowels. The abstract forms are created by drawing lines which interconnect the letter-points according to the spelling of words. All variations in the imagery result entirely from spelling because the circular configuration of alphabetic points is fixed or constant, it doesn’t change from word to word. The stones of the henge are a model of this circular configuration of letter-points.
The project is rooted in the idea that patterns arising from the innate mechanisms of meaningful perception were unintentionally replicated in the signs of language and the modeling of information. The organizing principles underlying these patterns are found both in Nature and in the earliest artifacts of the emergence of the symbolic mind.
Since language is an evolutionary product of human awareness which arises naturally and isn’t designed according to any logical plan, the choices involved are mediated by innate or intuitive factors rather than logical associations. We wouldn’t expect to see any meaningful association between the patterning of the signs for words and their signified concept. If any relationship is evident, we assume it is simply an isolated instance of coincidence. But in fact, an apparent connection between the patterning of the code of the signifier and a meaning associated with the signified concept isn’t uncommon (see hundreds of spelled-forms here). Perhaps Carl Jung’s conception of the existence of a universal synchonicity is correct, or perhaps human beings make meaningful choices intuitively without any intention of doing so. For over 100 years, Ferdinand de Saussure’s assumption that the signs of language are arbitrary has been treated as fact. But new discoveries about the nature of the signs of language indicate that Saussure’s assumption was based on a misunderstanding of how they function (philpapers.org/rec/WINNDS).
As previously discussed, the stones are not only positioned at the exact location of the 26 letter-points of the alphabetic matrix, the positions of those same 26 stones also align with celestial events at the site (on Minister’s Hill in Bridgton, Maine).
Estimated completion of the project is the Fall of 2023. But the process of developing the project is being treated as an opportunity to engage in a discussion of its concerns. When we acknowledge that there is a relationship between patterning in Nature and the features of human awareness, we begin to see ourselves in the context of something greater than the conceptions of an independent cultural materiality (cultural materiality is normally treated as not being significantly influenced by Nature). Some related works have emerged in support of this goal. One example is the “Henge of Language” drawing series.
The Idea for Henge Lab Evolved from Previous Works in the Ongoing Exploration:
Several works involving standing stones were developed using photographs taken at actual Megalithic sites. Past works based on linear alignments of stones and circular henges are part of an ongoing exploration of structural relationships between: language, symbolic phenomena, and the mechanisms of perception. It became apparent many years ago that early artifacts of the emergence of the symbolic mind have a design which is similar to the intuitively formulated patterns underlying the signs of language.
In the early 80’s, the exploration focused solely on the imagery and implications of word-generated forms (spelled-forms) but it gradually expanded to include a variety of symbolic phenomena. Although the word-generated forms are still the primary focus, many historical illustrations of basic concepts are modeled on circular arrangements of points. The hour and minute markings on the face of a clock and the directional markings on the dial of a compass illustrate our perception of time and space (these and other concepts depicted using circular forms are explored in relation to thought and language in the book, Extreme Measures 1989). A henge is fundamentally a monumental circle of points aligned to astronomical events. A Megalithic circle of stones is an archetypal depiction of how the patterning of human awareness is inherently synchronized with the patterning of the physical universe.
Henge Lab represents the culmination of a 40 year exploration of the patterning of the signs and systems of human communication, and their relationship to various phenomena of Nature which employ these same principles of patterning. For more information, visit: WinklerWordArt.com and read the articles, “Poetry of Zebras” & “New discoveries should reopen the discussion of signs”
Copyright © 2019 by Michael Joseph Winkler