Recent academic reading has led me to the work of David Bohm (1917-1992), a theoretical physicist, and in particular his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order (1983).  My interest is that in my PhD thesis, I refer to local and non-local Being, the former a singular concept between two objects – human or non-human (such as my Being aware of Being with the lone silver birch), the latter a plural concept that describes the deep entanglement of Being.  It was in the Broadford Forest on the Isle of Skye that I first became aware of a sense of entanglement through my photographic practice.  My early work had focused on the lone silver birch or one of many trees in the forest but as I worked more consistently and focused on being among trees as a collective, my work and time in the forest revealed its connectedness and interiority.

Among Trees 64 – Alison Price, March 2021

Among Trees 67 – Alison Price, March 2021

I became aware of the communication and relationships between trees in a forest setting and of the extensive network of mycelium beneath the forest floor.  At this stage my understanding was of a physical concept of entanglement but my practice and thinking soon developed to uncover an ontological sense of entanglement too.  A sense revealed through a non-conscious, atemporal moment in my practice, where an intuitive release of the shutter reveals a glimpse of the essence, the “more than” (Harman 2018) or Bohm’s hidden “implicate order” – Kant’s noumena.  I suggest, therefore, that my photography is a result of dwelling in the implicate order space where creativity is derived.

Bohm refers to two orders of the universe – the implicate and explicate orders.  Lohrey and Boreham (2020) explain Bohm’s implicate order as follows:

“Bohm’s implicate order represents a universe-wide, permanently hidden context that is actually full of the implicit relations of meaning, that is, a plenum of implicitness or implicit knowing.” (2020) p150).

And the explicate order:

“. . . represents that multiplicity of secondary and derivative explicit relations that are located within the conscious and explicit minds of individuals.” (2020) p150).

In their explanations of Bohm’s orders, Lohrey and Boreham caution against interpreting the differences between them as the visible and invisible and rather about knowing and intelligibility, however I do see similarities between Harman’s Sensory (explicate), and Real (implicate) Objects and the inaccessible noumena.

 Lohrey and Boreham (2020) propose the universe is non-local and therefore our worldview or paradigm should be reflected in non-local realism.  They argue that the predominant worldview which guides and has guided historical scientific endeavour hitherto is local realism.  They argue instead for a form of realism that “encompasses meaning, mind and universal consciousness” (p147).  They explain non-local as follows and in doing so suggest that the primacy of an independent physical world would cease and be replaced by a universal consciousness:

“Nonlocal realism is the term we use to represent a holistic and integrated worldview that displays the reality (hence realism) of a singular integrated, interconnected universal field of relationships.” (op cit p147).

In looking through the lens of non-local realism, the approach to scientific research would change too, focusing on inclusion and interiority, rather than dualism, difference, and subjectivity.

To return to Bohm, and his articulation of the explicate and implicate order, I am fascinated by how my practice might be considered to be an exploration of the implicate order, and how my aim of dwelling in a non-conscious state of awareness where space and time are attenuated, is a place that Bohm sees as the seat of creation and creativity.  As I reflect on the creation and generation of the Onion Diagram through practice-led research, I confirm that my journey had developed from a singular view to one of connection and integration of the concepts to possibilise the realisation of allure.

The Ten-Signifier Onion Diagram – Alison Price, 2021

Furthermore, my understanding of the signifiers in the field moved from conscious activity, understanding, and endeavour to one of intuitive and non-conscious awareness. My practice moved from a singular, one-to-one concept of being aware of Being, to a one-to-many entangled concept.  My research has been about taking a leap of faith beyond local realism into momentary awareness of Bohm’s hidden world.  At a more general level, Bohm sees the implicate order as the home of creativity, and I see my photography as a means of unfolding my imagination through a glimpse of non-local reality.  The viewers of my images I hope join me in my journey of unfolding awareness.

Dipping my toe in the water of scientific disciplines has been revealing and fascinating and has afforded some validation of my search for allure and the momentary glimpse or revelation of an otherwise hidden world.  My observations in the field of a physically entangled world and the development of that idea to one of ontological entanglement speak of a world that Bohm described over half a century ago.  I am motivated to do more research on this extraordinary man.

 

References

Bohm, D. (1983). Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London, Arc.

Harman, G. (2018). Object-Oriented Ontology – A New Theory of Everything. Milton Keynes, Pelican Books.

Lohrey, A. and B. Boreham (2020). “The Nonlocal Universe.” Communicative & Integrative Biology 13(1): 147-159.

 

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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