Philip Riley

The House of Dreams 

Exhibition dates: Sept 14th to Oct 28th 2012

The House of Dreams is a psychomanteum recreated as an installation by the artist and owner of Skink Ink, Philip Riley. The psychomanteum is a modern revival of the ancient Greek oracle at Ephysus where supplicants went to see visions of the dead. It was brought into the 20th century by the American psychologist, MD and author Raymond Moody, as part of his research into near death and past life experience. This psychomanteum was originally created from descriptions of Moody’s prototype as way to deal with a personal grief but the experience proved interestingenough that the artist chose to bring it to a wider audience. This installation incorporates artworks, prints and chosen artifacts within a unique artist built divinatory space within the gallery.

In this the age of the ‘God particle’—the name of which perfectly embodies our modern paradox—we are locked into a scientific and materialist world view yet catch ourselves searching for something larger, some higher truth that supplies meaning and purpose. Building on a life long interest in the role of science as the provider of answers and displacer of religious authority the artist uses this show to turn the same premise around and take a look as some answers that science cannot provide. This artwork is intended to generate discussion about spirit within our empirical framework though to sidestep the antagonism between entrenched religion and ‘Dawkinsian’ atheism by keeping the concept of spirit in the realm of direct personal experience as opposed to established belief.