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Biography of the artist through her works until 2012

Text by Michael Denholm in "In the Vineyard of Art, The Story of Art and Tasmani.  A History. Volume 4"

Lindsay Seers, who lives in Sheerness-on-Sea, was born on the island of Mauritius from where Abel Tasman had sailed when he had accidentally discovered Tasmania in 1642. Seers has commissioned five films, The World of Julie Eisenbud (Remission) (2005), Intermission (2005), Extramission (2005), Under the Influence of Magicians (2006) and The Truth Was Always There (2006), which ‘present the history of her life and work through the anecdotes of family and acquaintances and the views of professionals’,  for a series of exhibitions she held in Europe between 2005 and 2006. Her art deals with such matters as what happened to her in her childhood, her journey through life, the implications, for her life, of the way her family and relations have impacted on her life, and how she has used all that has happened to her in her life to achieve important insights, through her art, into the hidden order of life, especially through her study of the rich history of alchemy and its importance for the perfection of a life of an individual human being, and the way all these developments are connected with crucial matters in history and human thought, she having a very vivid and lively imagination.  Seers lived on Mauritius until she was eight years old, as the Royal Navy posted her father to work there ‘as a radio operator after the British lost their radio relay station in Indonesia.’  At the age of eight she lost ‘her perfect eidetic recall — or better yet reflux of events’,  ‘the ability to recall events with perfect accuracy’,  when, according to ‘her mother’s testimony’, she said her first words, ‘is that me?’, ‘at the sight of a photograph’ of herself.  ‘This seemingly innocuous question’ signalled ‘a rupture of consciousness’ for her, her ‘seamless unity with reality shattered’. M. Anthony Penwill equates this event with ‘a kind of birth trauma’  for Seers, she leaving this island, when she was eight years old, soon after she had begun to speak. Seers now understands her ‘mute condition’ in the first seven years of her life ‘as a symptom of’ her ‘eidetic memory’ that is ‘more commonly known as photographic memory’, she describing ‘eidetic remembering’ as being ‘almost hallucinatory in its sensual intensity’, ‘its lucidity’ being ‘so sharp as to be overwhelming’, there being ‘a stupefying abundance of detail in all of the senses simultaneously’, with memories exploding in her head, ‘at times debilitating and painful’,  there being ‘simply nothing to say and no time to say it: there’ being ‘no space to speak —  that would halt the next unfolding moment’, with everything being ‘immediate and present’ as if she ‘was in a kaleidoscope, a bead in the mesmerising and constantly shifting pattern’, with everything being ‘in flux, every single moment and every simple object rewritten at every turn.’  ‘This perfect eidetic recall’ was ‘immersive almost to the point of agony’ for Seers ‘as each experience could be summoned up and replayed with the full intensity of the original effect’ for her, and she ‘was deluged by an excess of information, a repeating sensory overload, which was at times mesmerizing and’, at other times, ‘debilitating.’

‘Up to this time’ Seers ‘had experienced her life on the island of Mauritius with an immediacy and vividness so great that it allowed no effective separation between herself and the outside world and’ she ‘was absorbed in the sensations of being as if they were imprinted upon her very fabric.’  Seers asks, about her ‘eidetic traces, those pin-sharp moments that shine out of darkness, hard and bright as sapphires’, that ‘was anything ever as beautiful again as that simple child-like immersion in pre-linguistic pure experience’, as she recalled ‘that magical, ideal past.’  This reality drove her to return to Mauritius to the things that she ‘could not recall at all, such as the house’ that her family had lived in. She recalled that ‘the only memory’ that her family ‘had collectively of Mauritius was of a boat, of shipwreck’, which ‘was a piece of fiction, a false memory on which’, she states, they ‘could all concur without dispute, guilt or resentment’, she wondering, about all of this, whether it was ‘the metaphor of imminent disaster that made it resonant’.  ‘The memory of that house was blocked’. It was ‘a black hole in’ her brain, ‘a missing part’. She wondered whether that house could ‘unlock some closed passage in’ her mind ’leading to some event that might give’ her ‘some explanation for’ her ‘silence as a child… or’ her ‘life as a camera?’ Seers returned ‘to Mauritius with two ambitions: to find the house’ her parents’ family ‘lived in and also the photographer’ who had taken that fateful photograph that had irrevocably changed her life, ‘the back of that photograph which had jolted’ her out of her ‘childhood silence’ being ‘rubber stamped with the photographer’s name, Wöhrnitz.’  She only realised, when she returned to Mauritius, ‘the significance of that name’, she finding the ‘image of a man called Ferdinand Wöhrnitz, a Mauritian of Dutch descent’, in a ‘small photography museum in Port Louis’, he being ‘the son of a merchant from Amsterdam who had traded in the East’. ‘An entrepreneur, Ferdinand’ Wöhrnitz had been ‘fascinated by novelty’ and, ‘often in Paris, he had followed the developments of Daguerre closely’, he buying ‘the entire darkroom, materials, chemicals and equipment’ ‘as soon as the first commercial camera came on the market’, and had shipped them to Mauritius, establishing ‘the first photographic studio in the Indian Ocean.’ Mauritius was ‘the first colony to fall under the spell of the photograph, which took hold’, Seers vividly states, ‘with a equal ferocity to that of the sugar cane fires lit to aid harvesting.’  ‘Wöhrnitz’s dusty camera was on display in the cluttered museum in Port Louis together with the image of the man himself’, ‘the portentous photograph of’ Seers being ‘taken by his great great-grandson’ so that ‘the image which inexplicably shocked’ her out of her ‘silence and ruptured’ her ‘immersion in pure being came from a hand that had a trace of the birth of photography in it.’ The Wöhrnitz’s house in Vacoas had been ‘renovated for tourists and the history of the specific Wöhrnitz family had made way for a more general history of the evils of colonialism and the slave trade that had passed through the islands predominately during the French rule.’

When Seers’ mother, who ‘was a Romany’, considering herself psychic,  took her family to Paris, ‘a lot of pain had followed’ her family, Lindsay Seers feeling ‘an intense nausea’ coming over her when she found a flat where her family had lived in Mauritius.  Needing to make some decisions about ‘what to do with’ her life, and ‘how to proceed’ with it having discovered where she had lived in Mauritius, Seers ‘spent time reading Rosicrucian texts’ she had ‘come across in an old Anglo bookshop in Rose Hill.’  Seers has always loved cinemas, ‘particularly those converted theatres that linger on in most towns with huge tiered auditoriums in red velvet’, she always being ‘mesmerised by the long cone of anamorphic light from film projection made almost solid through the miasma of exhaled smoke’, there being, she states, ‘an alchemical magic to the way in which the abstracted light beams, intersected by the screen, suddenly find forms; halted on their journey to infinity to make a luminescent and seemingly visionary picture’, she finding ‘an animated soul to photography.’ The conviction, she adds, that she ‘could become a projector — and forget’ her ‘life as a camera — was a long time forming. It would mean’ for her ‘no more falling back in time but reaching forwards, endlessly reaching forward in the present with light’, she stating that ‘now light emanates from’ her ‘in a new “becoming” — images’ coming ‘from her eyes in an act of extramission; an ancient, long-standing and often pictured phenomenon in which vision exudes from the eyes in beams to meet the world’, she truly having fulfilled the meaning of her surname, she becoming a seer who can help human beings to understand the hidden order of the world that can be revealed to us if we are attentive to the world. She concluded the book human camera where, on page 144 of this book, light intensely shines from her eyes onto a circle of light on the floor she is standing on, with the following truly beautiful inspired piece of writing:

We cannot always immediately observe the world when we are caught up  in the  chaos of living; there are blind spots and inattentions, an unwillingness and  inability to see certain things that fall across our point of view. In  photographs  everything is kept back, light is congealed and preserved, its stasis is like a  pause; the carousel we were riding has stopped, the feeling of the  wind on our  skin, the rising and falling of the painted wood, the passing and laughing faces,  are suddenly all locked and we sit on the silent and still hobby-horse all  comprehension gone, perhaps happy to rest with this blank stare,  thrown to the  outside of the moment to look at the scene as if a stranger to it, isolated in it.  In projection the carousel and all the senses spin on, everything is  interdependent and connected, light takes on a multitude of qualities; the  sparkle of the coloured flashing lights and the moon moving behind a dark  cloud, everything is unfolding and endlessly moving, both  inside,  with the body  living what it sees, and outside, thinking through the image, the mind oscillating  between what is given and what is understood, the light constantly recasting the  phosphorescent objects it has captured, light reaching out to meet light — in  which nothing stands alone.

Seers begged ‘for a camera of her own’ as a young girl, and began ‘taking photographs compulsively, as if the camera could appreciate her lost powers of total recall. However, with the inevitable failure of this project’, as an adult she used ‘her own body as an image capture device by placing light sensitive paper directly into her mouth. This’, she stated, ‘is the first of a series of “becomings”’  ‘that are revealed in the overlapping narratives of’ her films.  Her stepsister, Christine Parkes, whose ‘grandmother was a renowned psychic who embraced the spiritualist church’,  ‘also had a specific relationship to photographs.’  She ‘would enter a hypnagogic state when looking at photographs’, which ‘was a kind of empathetic trance, or perhaps something more like total assimilation’,  and had ‘a very strong sense of a person from an image’, knowing things about people’s lives from looking at an image. 

Seers has done such things as becoming a human camera in her art putting coloured photographic paper into her mouth virtually between her molars so that, when she laid down, in an interior space, for a long exposure, she presented what she stated is an exterior and interior view so that we look down, when we look at this work, at her chest and the pillars in this space. The Slade School of Art had had a strong feminist discourse about problems in viewing the female body, when Seers studied there from 1991 to 1995, photography objectifying things by its very nature, and she thought that if she changed the way she used a camera, she would become both the subject and the object of her work. The number nine, roundness, round images, emerged from her camera for her when she lay on the ground and became a human projector with her photography, she no longer wanting to be melancholic and passive with her art. The number nine has been interpreted as ‘the number of high mental and spiritual achievement’  and ‘completeness’, it standing ‘for great mental and spiritual achievement’, it being ‘the number of “initiation”’,  with ‘nines’ seen as ‘large-minded, visionary’ and ‘idealistic people’ who have ‘an intense urge to help other people and to serve the cause of humanity at large’, they making ‘brilliant scientists, teachers and artists.’  Seers was thinking of mafia exchanges when she created these images, as she was living then in a warehouse, which was a dump, near a collection of abandoned buildings in a section of London that is near to where the Olympic Games were held in 2012. Here Mercedes cars used to pull up near to where she lived while people in these cars exchanged things, as prostitutes wearing fur coats looked on at what was happening. But, after having ‘a recurring dream for many years’ about making ‘an extraordinary work’, which was her masterpiece, which surprised her ‘in its exuberant originality and astonishing monumentality’, she discovered, when walking into a gallery, that her work was not hers but ‘by someone else, someone famous’, the work being ‘identical in every way’ to hers, erasing herself. This reality brought on ‘a terrible feeling of despair’ in her, she always being ‘relieved to wake up from’ this nightmare. This dream ‘turned out to be a premonition’,  she discovering ‘an exhibition of mouth-photography by another artist’,  A. H.,  at the very same residency in Dublin where’ she ‘first began making mouth-photographs more than a decade previously’. This discovery had a ‘devastating effect on’  her. ‘It was like a physical blow to’ her body, she feeling ‘a terrible collapsing nausea’, it being ‘as if that process and its results’ that had made her ‘exist … had been taken away from her’, it being ‘the dream made real’. Despair following for her,  this ‘trauma’ of the ‘usurpation of a method that both defines her work as an artist and stands in for personal intimacy’ resulting in forcing her instead to ‘turn to ventriloquism’  in her art.

Seers’ photography is about such matters as how photography affects our lives and culture, she asking, in a note for an exhibition by her in 2007, ‘can we be possessed by and (sic) image/ a person / an idea from the past?’ She creates methods, structures and game plans in talks she gives about her art to bypass the idea of innate patterns, she wanting to challenge such ideas and to apply methods to stop her doing what she usually does in her art.
Seers follows associations, commands and alchemical symbols from the keys of Solomon in her art, she always having a key, a symbol, in it. For Giordano Bruno, ‘a Renaissance prophet, on the Hermetic plane’, ‘the classical art of memory, combined with Lullism’,  related to Ramon Lull (1235?-1316), a Platonist, for whom ‘the whole encyclopedia of knowledge is schematised as a forest of trees’,  is important ‘in preparing the way for the finding of a Great Key.’  Lull, about the year 1272, had ‘had an illuminative experience … in which he saw the attributes of God, his goodness, greatness, eternity, and so on, infusing the whole creation, and realised that an Art founded on these attributes might be constructed which would be universally valid because based on reality’, he spending ‘the whole of the rest of his life’ writing books about this Art.  ‘The figures of his Art … are not static but revolving’ his devices being ‘revolutionary in their attempt to represent movement in the psyche’,  there being a ‘revolution’, in Lull’s philosophy, ‘of the wheel of memory’.  ‘Hermes Trismegistus, who is the model for the medieval Mercurius, derives ultimately from the ancient Egyptian Thoth, god of mathematics and science’,  while Hermes is ‘the god of sleep and revelation, and the guide conducting the souls of the dead to the underworld.’
‘The great forward movements of the Renaissance’ derived ‘their vigour, their emotional impulse, from looking backwards’ with ‘the cyclic view of time as a perpetual movement from pristine golden ages of purity and truth through successive brazen and iron ages still’ holding sway. ‘The search for truth was thus of necessity a search for the early, the ancient, the original gold from which the baser metals of the present and the immediate past were corrupt degenerations. Man’s history’, therefore, ‘was not an evolution from primitive animal origins through ever growing complexity and progress; the past was always better than the present, and progress was revival, rebirth, renaissance of antiquity. The classical humanist recovered the literature and the monuments of classical antiquity with a sense of return to the pure gold of a civilisation better and higher than his own.’
‘The works’ that ‘inspired the Renaissance Magus’, Frances A. Yates comments, ‘were really written in the second to the third centuries A.D.’ The Renaissance Magus did not return ‘to an Egyptian wisdom’ but ‘to the pagan background of early Christianity, to that religion of the world, strongly tinged with magic and oriental influences, which was the Gnostic version of Greek philosophy, and the refuge of weary pagans seeking an answer to life’s problems other than that offered by their contemporaries, the early Christians.’  ‘A large literature in Greek developed under the name of Hermes Trismegistus, concerned with astrology and the occult sciences, with the secret virtues of plants and stones and the sympathetic magic based on knowledge of such virtues, with the making of talismans for drawing down the powers of the stars, and so on.’  Treatises described ‘the ascent of the soul through the spheres of the planets to the divine realms above them, or give ecstatic descriptions of a process of regeneration by which the soul casts off the chains which bind it to the material world and becomes filled with divine powers and virtues.’  The ‘world of the second century’ turned to ‘intuitive, mystical, magical ways’, cultivating ‘the Nous, the intuitive faculty in man.’ Philosophy was used ‘as a way of reaching intuitive knowledge of the divine and of the meaning of the world, as a gnosis, in short, to be prepared for by ascetic discipline and a religious way of life.’ Nous or mens gave the adept ‘a spiritual mastery’, ‘as in the familiar gnostic revelation or experience of the ascent of the soul through the spheres of the planets to become immersed in the divine.’  ‘The supposed profound knowledge of’ Egypt’s priests, ‘their ascetic way of life, the religious magic which they were thought to perform in the subterranean chambers of their temples, offered immense attractions’ in the second century A. D.  Hermes Trismegistus ‘was, for the Renaissance, a real person’.  For Giordano Bruno, ‘the magical Egyptian religion of the world was not only the most ancient but also the only true religion, which both Judaism and Christianity had obscured and corrupted.’  ‘Renaissance magic, which was a reformed and learned magic and always disclaimed any connection with the old ignorant, evil, or black magic, was often an adjunct of an esteemed Renaissance philosopher. This new status of magic was undoubtedly mainly true to the great flood of literature which came in from Byzantium, so much of which dated from those early centuries after Christ in which the reigning philosophies were tinged with occultism.’  ‘The extraordinarily lofty position assigned to Hermes Trismegistus in this new age’, Yates states, ‘rehabilitated Egypt and its wisdom, and therefore the magic with which that wisdom was associated.’

Marsilio Ficino who, with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-94), ‘were founders and propagators of the movement loosely known as Renaissance Neoplatonism’,  ‘and the whole Renaissance after him approached’  ‘the two “divine books” of Hermes Trismegistus’, ‘On the Power and Wisdom of God’ and ‘On the Divine Will’,  writings that were wrongly seen as begun by Hermes Trismegistus,  as ‘records of individual souls seeking revelation, intuition into the divine, personal salvation, gnosis, without the aid of a personal God or Saviour, but through a religious approach to the universe.’  ‘The cosmological framework which they take for granted is always astrological’. ‘The material world’ is ‘under the rule of the stars, and of the seven planets, the “Seven Governors”’. There are ‘two types of gnosis’ for the authors of the Hermetica, ‘namely pessimistic gnosis, or optimistic gnosis. For the pessimistic (or dualistic) gnostic, the material world heavily impregnated with the fatal influence of the stars is in itself evil; it must be escaped from by an ascetic way of life which avoids as much as possible all contact with matter, until the lightened soul rises up through the spheres of the planets, casting off their evil influences as it ascends, to its true home in the immaterial divine world. For the optimistic gnosis, matter is impregnated with the divine, the earth lives, moves, with a divine life, the stars are living divine animals, the sun burns with a divine power, there is no part of Nature which is not good for are all parts of God.’  ‘Nous or divine mens, appears to Trismegistus when his corporeal senses are bound as in a heavy sleep.’  ‘Gnosticism and magic go together. The pessimistic gnostic needs to know the magic passwords and signs by which he may rid himself of the evil material power of the stars in his upward ascent through the spheres. The optimistic gnostic has no fear to draw down by sympathetic magic, invocations, talismans, those same powers of the universe which he believes to be good.’  The seven spheres ‘have as their ruler Fortune or Destiny.’  The magic Yates discusses, which she describes as ‘astral magic’, ‘is a way of escaping from astrological determinism by gaining power over the stars, guiding their influences in the direction which the operator desires. Or, in a religious sense, it is a way of salvation, of escape from material fortune and destiny, or of obtaining insight into the divine.’  Thus ‘it is in a very timid hesitating and cautious manner that Ficino embarks on a mild form of astral magic, attempting to alter, to escape from, his Saturnian horoscope, by capturing, guiding towards himself, more fortunate astral influences. Yet’, Yates adds, this comparative harmless attempts at astral medical therapy was to open a flood-gate through which an astonishing revival of magic poured over Europe.’

‘It is as man as the great miracle, knowing himself to be of divine origin’ that Giordano Bruno soared ‘into the infinite to grasp and draw into himself the newly revealed reflection of infinite divinity in a vastly expanded universe.’  Claiming ‘to be qualified as prophet and leader of the new movement because he has made an ascent through the spheres’, Bruno ‘made the gnostic ascent, … had the Hermetic experience, and so … become divine, with the Powers within him.’  He transformed ‘the godless universe of Lucretius, in which that pessimistic man took refuge from the terrors of religion’,  ‘into a vast extension of Hermetic gnosis, a new revelation of God as magician, informing innumerable worlds though magical animation, a vision to receive which that great miracle, the Magus man, must expand himself to an infinite extent so that he may reflect it within.’  An ‘infinitely extended All was still One’ is ‘a basic tenet of Hermetism.’ ‘The summum bonum, the supremely desirable, the supreme perfection and beatitude consists in the unity which informs the all’.  The infinite universe and the innumerable worlds are’, for Bruno, ‘new revelations, intense accentuations of his overpowering sense of the divine.’  ‘Egyptian worship ascended through the multiplicity of things, distributed among the astrological relationships, to the One beyond things’,  an equivalent type of vision to that found in the masterful novels of Patrick White.  In 1510 the Renaissance magician Cornelius Agrippa, when asked ‘how it was possible for a man to wield magical powers’, answered, ‘No one has such powers, but he who has cohabited with the elements, vanquished nature, mounted higher than the heavens, elevating himself above the angels to the archetype itself, with whom he then becomes co-operator and can do all things’, ‘this “Ideal Identity” or “archetype” being the fundamental unity which magicians see behind all the apparently diverse and disorderly phenomena of the universe.’  ‘Man can make himself God because he has the divine spark within him. He is a miniature image of God, and God is man writ large.’  ‘The complete man, who has experienced and mastered all things, has vanquished Nature and mounted higher than the heavens. He has reached the centre where man becomes God. The achievement of this is the Great Work, the supreme magical operation, which may take a lifetime or many lifetimes to complete.’  ‘Man is potentially God and the human will, wielded by a magician who has learned how to concentrate and project it, has potentially the limitless power of God.’  In Aleister Crowley’s writing ‘the magus (2, sphere of the stars) attains to wisdom, declares his law and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense’ while ‘the Ipsissimus (1, sphere of God) “is beyond all this and beyond all comprehension of those of lesser degrees”. He “is wholly free from all limitations soever, existing in the nature of all things without discrimination of quantity or quality between them.”’

The alchemical symbols Seers uses in her art are from a church near where her grandparents lived. One of the carvings on this church, which is dated 1706, is alchemical ‘and seemed’, to Seers, ‘to relate to The Key of Solomon (a hermetic text whose origin and date is unknown) and also to the cabalistic Tree of Life. Similar wall drawings are also … found in Temple Bruer, three miles east of Leadenham, where there is the remaining tower of a Preceptory of the Knights Templar’ built ‘on the floor plan of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which in turn was built on the ruin of the legendary Temple of Solomon.’ Isaac ‘Newton was not alone’ in his belief ‘that encrypted in the geometry of the plan of the Temple of Solomon was the key to unlock the secrets of the universe’ and Seers has performed her ‘own alchemy in the field next to the Leadenham church where there is a tumulus left by Templars’.

n It Has To Be This Way Seers refers to ‘the “Queen’s Sorcerer”’,  John Dee, a sailor, mathematician and engineer who talked to angels through a medium using a crystal bowl and was the fortune teller of Queen Elizabeth I, to the scholar Frances A. Yates, who has written such studies as Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Theatre of the World,  The Rosicrucian Enlightenment and The Art of Memory, and the hieroglyphic monad, a symbol of universal geometry. ‘The “monas”’ are ‘above all a statement of unity, a vision of the One God behind all creation.’  The ‘connection to Dee’, in the book It Has To Be This Way, brings Seers’ stepsister Christine Parkes’ ‘research full circle through Rome and back to her childhood interest in the carvings in’ the porch of ‘her local church’,  St Swithun’s, Leadenham, in the diocese of Lincoln, ‘the former rectorship of Doctor John Dee’  ‘for some twenty years from 1565’,  which ‘relate to symbols in’ Dees’ study The Hieroglyphic Monad.  ‘The area of Lincolnshire’ is ‘saturated with the history of Alchemy’. It is ‘linked to Robert Grosseteste, John Dee, Newton and Robert Fludd’  who perhaps is Dee’s ‘only true successor in England’.  ‘The whole area’ is ‘rich in associations with the occult, alchemy and cabalistic study — Newton, Grossesteste and Dee’ all being ‘close by, even if they were separated by epochs of thought on the subject.’  A philosopher and scholar, Robert Grosseteste (1168-1253) was the bishop of Lincoln who is likely to have encouraged Francis Bacon to join the Franciscan Order about 1247  and ‘is credited with inventing many of the empirical concepts later developed by his protégé Roger Bacon (1219-1294), the medieval alchemist and proto-scientist.’  To the east of the train line that connects Leadenham and Sleaford lies the ruins of Temple Bruer, a preceptory founded by the Knights Templar, the birthplace of Newton, Woolsthorpe, not being far from Leadenham. ‘Newton’s triumph’, Chris Firth states, ‘depended on his skill as a mathematician and his development of an early form of differential calculus, which he called the “method of fluxions”’, Newton, ‘following the steps of’ John Dee, devoting ‘much of his later life to alchemy and the interpretation of prophecies in the Bible.’  Firth sees ‘the development of the scientific method for discovering the truth about the world’ as starting with Robert Grosseteste and culminating ‘almost 400 years later with the founding of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1660.’ ‘Grosseteste described a cyclical process of “resolution and composition”’, first we using ‘observations to generate a universal law about the world’, then we using ‘the universal law to predict particulars’, both stages of this process needing to be ‘verified through experimentation. These ideas were further developed by Roger Bacon’, ‘a student of Grosseteste’, he describing ‘a cycle of observation, hypothesis and experimentation and also’ emphasising ‘the need for independent variation.’ ‘Francis Bacon (1561-1626) gave detailed proposals for a scientific method based on induction, “which by slow and faithful toil gathers information from things, and brings it into understanding”’, he rejecting, Firth states, ‘the scholastic approach in which deduction was based on authority. Like Roger Bacon, he described a cyclical process, “the ladder of intellect”, which runs upwards and downwards from axioms to experiments and back again from experiments to axioms’, he also emphasising ‘the importance of negative instances for the disproof of hypotheses. Francis Bacon’s proposals were a major influence in the founding of the Royal Society’, his image having ‘pride of place in the frontispiece to Thomas Sprat’s History of the Royal Society of 1667’, ‘the motto of the Royal Society, Nullius in verba (don’t believe what people tell you, however authoritative they may be)’, reflecting his ‘rejection of authority as a scientific method.’  John Dee’s ‘idea of an invisible college of scientists influenced Francis Bacon and the founders of the Royal Society.’ Dee ‘wrote a defence of Roger Bacon, now lost, in which “he shows that all that is said about his [Roger Bacon’s] marvellous works should be ascribed to his knowledge of nature and mathematics, rather than to a commerce with demons”.’  ‘Roger Bacon also had an interest in the occult and mathematics, resulting in ‘his reputation as a seeker after forbidden knowledge, a forerunner of Doctor Faustus’, while, ‘to avoid associations with the occult’, ‘Francis Bacon downplayed the role of mathematics in his scientific method.’

‘The leading mathematician of his day’,  John Dee (1527-1608) was engaged in the search for the Enochian language, believed to be the original language taught to Adam by his creator, which Dee claimed was being taught to him by ‘good angels’. ‘Enochian is a name often applied to an occult or angelic language recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his seer Edward Kelley in the late 16th century’, they claiming that angels revealed it to them. ‘Dee’s journals did not describe this ‘language as “Enochian”’ but instead used ‘descriptors like “Angelical”, the “Celestial Speech”, the “First Language of God—Christ”, the “Holy Language”, or “Adamical”, because, according to Dee’s Angels, it was used by Adam in Paradise to name all things’, ‘the term “Enochian”’ coming ‘from Dee’s assertion that the Biblical Patriarch Enoch had been the last human (before Dee and Kelley) to know’ this language. ‘According to Tobias Churton’, ‘in his text The Golden Builders, the concept of an Angelic or antediluvian language was common during Dee’s time. If one could speak with angels, it was believed that one could directly interact with them.’ In 1581 ‘Dee mentioned in his personal journals that God had sent “good angels” to communicate directly with prophets.’ With the help of Kelley, who Dee teamed up with in 1582, ‘as a scryer, Dee set out to establish lasting contact with the angels, which resulted, among other things, in the reception of the Enochian or Angelical language.’  In Dee’s time, ‘emphasis was put on cleansing the area of working and getting in good with the most high.’  Dee ‘heard several noises throughout his home and decided they were from the spirit world.’ The first angel that he contacted was Uriel, while Dee and Kelley were also able to communicate with Michael who introduced them ‘to the Enochian angels so that they could communicate the magickal names and methods.’  ‘The goal of the magickian is perfection’ ‘in the sense that we live in harmony with magick and always strive towards our highest ideal.’
Dee ‘visited Temple Bruer to study its layout’ hoping ‘that the design of the building would assist his understanding of coded knowledge encrypted in the plan of the Temple of Solomon.’  Dee ‘associated himself intensely with the Arthurian, mythical, and mystical side of the Elizabethan idea of “British Empire”’  and was ‘behind the revival of interest in the Arthurian legends, and antiquarian Britain, Wales, etc’.  ‘He had a considerable collection of Lullist works’,  was ‘the magus behind the Elizabethan age, the mathematical magician who inspired the Elizabethan technical advance, and the more esoteric and mystical side’ of his thought inspired Sir Philip Sydney ‘and his circle and the Elizabethan poetic movement which they led.’

In 1547 Dee ‘went abroad for the first time, studying navigation with Gemma Frisius, and meeting the famous geographer, Gerard Mercator’, and returned from this journey ‘with navigational instruments newly invented by Frisius and two Mercator globes’, all of which ‘were new to England.’  In 1550, when he was twenty-three, he delivered ‘a series of lectures on Euclid which caused a sensation in the intellectual circles of the continent.’ Dee ‘amassed one of the great libraries of the period’.  It reached ‘world renown.’  His library, ‘at his familial property at Mortlake’ in England,  was that ‘of a man of the Renaissance, bent on assimilating the whole realm of knowledge available in his time.’ ‘Here came courtiers and poets, … navigators and mathematicians, historians and antiquaries, all learning from Dee’s stores’,  consulting charts and maps, increasing ‘their knowledge of mathematics and mechanics.’  His ‘library was visited by scholars from around the world, who often spent several days at’ his house, and was also visited by Queen Elizabeth.  His ‘dream was of empire’. Dee was a moving force behind the British explorations of the 1570s, even investing his own funds in certain enterprises, he being ‘one of the moving forces behind Drake’s explorations and the beginnings of empire in Britain’.  Then he went abroad in 1583 living in Prague, Leipzig and Trebona. Here he and Edward Kelley, ‘his friend and mentor in matters hermetic’, ‘were engaged in intense practice of cabbala and angel-summoning, Kelley acting as Dee’s medium and scryer.’  Dee had ‘a second career in central Europe as leader of an alchemical-cabalist movement’,  and was the leader in Bohemia ‘of a movement for religious reform’,  entertaining ‘wide aspirations for the mitigation of religious differences, the establishment of a universal reign of mystic and philosophical harmony, as in the angelic realms.’  But ‘the Hermetic-Cabalist movement failed as a movement of religious reform, and that failure involved the suppression of the Renaissance Neoplatonism which had nourished it.’  ‘A mob looted Dee’s house at Mortlake and partly destroyed his library’ when Dee was absent from England, and ‘he encountered suspicion and hostility at the Royal court’ when he returned to England in 1857. ‘Most of his old friends were dead, or had had left public life’, and he was ‘met with fear and hatred’ after Queen Elizabeth granted him the Wardenship of Christ College in Manchester.  Forced in 1605 by the Fellows at Christ College to relinquish this post, he ‘died in great poverty’  after he had been ‘shunned and isolated’, ‘with a growing witch-hunt against him.’  Both Shakespeare’s ‘conjuror, Prospero’, in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, and Ben Jonson’s alchemist, in his play The Alchemist, ‘are drawn from Doctor Dee.’  Dee called ‘the Hieroglyphic Monad a “magic parable”’ where alchemy ‘was and is a resounding and holy use of natural, celestial, and supercelestial law, which results at one and the same instant in the transformation of the magus and of the material universe.’  He stated that ‘holy language’ is ‘the real cabbala: the cabbala of that which is.’  The sun, in The Hieroglyphic Monad, ‘has the supreme dignity’,  and the moon is represented ‘by the figure of the Horns (Cornucopia).’  They ‘desire that the Elements in which the tenth proportion will flower, shall be separated, and this is done by the application of Fire.’

In 1997 Christine Parkes had gone to the British Academy in Rome on a scholarship to research the ‘Roman Period’ of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-89) when she was doing her PhD on Queen Christina and her circle, and Seers had visited her there then to take some footage of her as Queen Christina for a biographical work that she wanted to make, which she has never completed, about ‘Christine/Queen Christina.’  Here she was researching such matters as ‘the connection between John Dee and the design of the Elizabethan theatres’, her files elucidating how Frances Yates, in her book Theatre of the World, ‘connects Dee’s extensive library to a Vitruvian influence on Elizabethan society’, ‘in so doing’ Yates stating ‘the relevance of theatrum mundi to the English theatres’, and also expounding ‘an understanding of Fludd’s Memory Theatre as being derived from the structure of the Globe.’ This connection to Dee brought Christine Parkes’ ‘research full circle though Rome and back to her childhood interest in the carvings in her local church.’  Parkes’ ‘trip to West Africa after her father’s death was to some extent provoked by Queen Christina and the European influence on the former Swedish Gold Coast.’  Her interest in Queen Christina arose ‘from these early philosophical interests relating to Neoplatonism’,  and ‘the relationship between contemporary metaphysical philosophy and Neoplatonism’,  and such books as Henri Bergson’s book Matter of Memory,  which she and Lindsay Seers shared.  ‘Practise in alchemy preoccupied’ Queen Christina ‘for most of her adult life’, and ‘her interest in alchemy also has some intriguing Rosicrucian connections’.  The famous scientist Isaac Newton was aware of the Rosicrucian manifestos,  he finding gravity while trying to find the secrets, the code, of the universe, ‘and there was an extraordinary background of alchemy’ in his mind.  Newton had been fascinated with the Great Temple of Solomon, geometry and alchemical knowledge being fundamentally linked at the time he lived. Seers has made artworks in memory of her stepsister from their ‘extensive collection of photographs relating both to Queen Christina and’ their ‘travels in Europe and Africa where’ they ‘each went in search of “the truth”’,  Parkes travelling in 1996 ‘to the former “Swedish Gold Coast” where she was pursuing the colonial trade routes that had been established during Queen Christina’s reign’, a history, Seers comments, that ‘constitutes the dark side of the wealth associated with the Baroque period.’  Seers grew apart from Chris Parkes when she was in Ghana in 1996. ‘There was one last flurry of friendship in Rome the following year, and then nothing.’  Chris Parkes’ ‘personal history lay hidden in this global history. Her father and’ Seers’ ‘mother had emigrated to West Africa when’ they were children, sustaining their life there ‘through diamond smuggling’,  Sid Parkes coming to Mauritius when his wife, who had Parkinson’s disease, and who he had nursed for years, had died, and proposing to Seers’ mother in a colonial hotel while Seers and her brother waited in the garden. Seers’ mother left her husband in Mauritius and returned to the Midlands in England, where she was ‘lonely and isolated since’ coming home from Mauritius, she filing there for divorce that occurred in 1975.
‘The pain of their strained relationship’ ‘to some extent fuelled’ Christine Parkes’ ‘moral outrage at this aspect of’ her ‘mother’s lifestyle, but it was also fuelled ‘by her inability to get to grips with the wider cultural history’ that ‘she felt personally implicated in.’ Seers thinks that Parkes ‘felt both guilt and anger, directed at events in general but also at her own micro-history’ that ‘somehow seemed to mirror the intolerable elements of’ this ‘macro-history.’  Seers and her stepsister were ‘brought together by divorce and marriage’ in their childhood. They ‘bonded in adversity’, and were ‘always taken for blood sisters when seen together.’ Parkes never forgave her mother for abandoning her, and Lindsay Seers, to live in Africa. They created their ‘own world through role play’, entering ‘fantasy worlds.’ They ‘would cycle together through the flatlands and hedged lanes’ in ‘that part of Lincolnshire’ where ‘the countryside was beautiful’, ‘and drank cider in the churchyards with local boys’, both being ‘fascinated by legends surrounding a Knights Templar preceptory (Temple Bruer) near’ their ‘home, which had alchemical symbols carved in the walls of the tower.’  These symbols ‘were echoed in the porch of’ their local church, St Swithun’s, Leadenham, in the diocese of Lincoln.  Queen Christina ‘was immediately pronounced a boy’ at birth, ‘having been born with a strong coarse voice’, and later said ‘that her soul was entirely masculine’, and Parkes ‘often said that she should be able to command the position and authority of a man’, and ‘that she would not have children, but that she would have wanted to father children.’  She would fantasise ‘about being a man imagining a woman’ and, ‘as that man who imagines, she would have become the type of woman who wears the most precarious and spectacular shoes, her skirt just below her arse and her shoes giving a winsome unsteadiness to her body, like a fawn that stands for the first time on spindly, untested legs.’ She relished ‘the opportunity to enjoy the impact of deep cleavage, lethal heel spikes and acrylic nails so extended that the hand becomes dangerous and disabled, a seductive balance of threat and defencelessness’, so that ‘she would fantasise about being a man who wants to be this kind of woman so that, as him, she could imagine having sex with this ideal, male-projected female. She wanted to transform herself into this imagined man in order to become that imagined woman, to pass through him to attain this perverse Platonic double-being’, she never getting ‘further than being the man who imagines this extreme avatar woman.’

M. Anthony Penwill’s It Has To Be This Way, a novella that formed part of Seers’ It Has To Be This Way installation exhibition held in 2009, which the National Gallery of Denmark and Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick commissioned, investigates such matters as the literature of August Strindberg, who was also an alchemist, and ‘was a rationalist who was fascinated by the world of dreams, of fantasy and mysticism, and whose appeal is largely to the sub-conscious fears and desires of his audiences’,  the life of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626-89), reincarnation, Renaissance alchemy, Neoplatonism, ‘the symbol of the ladder … in the ceremonies of the pagans of Mithras, in the mysteries of Brahma and of Scandinavia’,  as well as the figure of Mabuse in Fritz Lang’s 1933 film Das Testament des Dr Mabuse,  ritual possession in Niger, and the traditional Ashanti beliefs in ‘spirits, good and bad, and of possession; different terms for the same phenomenon’, in Ghana,  Seers obviously being fascinated with the nature of possession as well as such matters as androgyny, feminism, Roman influences, Scandinavian colonialism and trade in the 17th century, forts and structures in West Africa, African history and the diamond trade, and religious and spiritual practices.  Watching an old film, Les Maitres Fous (1955) or The Mad Masters, a documentary by French director and ethnologist Jean Rouch, the subject concerning the Hauku religious sect, Rouch finds the people ‘doing a traditional dance in which a soldier was very violently possessed, and while possessed he said “I am the avant-garde of the new gods who are coming from Malia [the Red Sea]. My name is Governor Malia and I am the first of the new gods who are coming and they are gods of strength”’, ‘ritual possession’ being ‘popular amongst rural migrants between the 1920s and 1950s’, ‘approximately 30,000 practitioners’ being ‘active in Accra when Rouch was invited to film there.’  Seers sees ‘Magazia, queen of Accra’s prostitutes’, who ‘is possessed by Madame Sulma, the wife of one of the first French officers who arrived in Niger in the late nineteenth century’,  in this film, and the hand of the ‘calm man’ Mukailakira skinning a dog. ‘Once possessed’ the people ‘stay in the inner circle of the enclave’, only the possessed being allowed to be together,  ‘these restless ghosts’ entering ‘their mediums in a strange echo that cannot rest’, and Seers puts ‘on a replica of her colonial soldier costume’ and wonders why she is doing that.  She thinks that she would have to be possessed ‘to bit into a dog’s head, still warm, only moments dead. To bit off its ear, elastic, difficult to tear with human teeth, and swallow it. To drink from the wound in its neck; the taste of animal’s blood.’ ‘But they’, she states, ‘are possessed. They burn themselves with a flaming torch to show that they are beyond human.’ 

The ladder, in It Has To Be This Way, is ‘the means’ that Parkes’ lover, S, ‘an adept of the dark arts and an alchemist’,  who is engaged in astral travel,  and Parkes ‘used to escape the labyrinth’, S recalling ‘her journey back to consciousness out of the underworld when she finally climbed up to the surface, emerging blank, wiped clean, unsexed’,  it being ‘universally believed that the ladder is a symbol of moral and intellectual progress presenting itself as a succession of steps.’  The ladder, in this book, also occurs in S’s dream after Chris Parkes’ accident, after he visits her in intensive care, when, in ‘the same dream’, he ‘would climb until exhausted but without ever nearing daylight’, where ‘each successive dream would see’ him ‘back at the base of the ladder, demoralised by the knowledge of how far’ he ‘would have to climb to have even a chance of escape’, until ‘he seemed to grow in strength and stamina until each attempted ascent carried’ him ‘higher, faster’, so, ‘on the ninth day’, ‘the dreamer finally emerged from the labyrinth’, and he ‘awoke to see C’s eyes open for the first time since’ her accident.  ‘In alchemy the stone of Jacob is a popular symbol of the philosophers’ stone, which is also a stone working magical dreams. The “call” to ascend the Jacob’s ladder and begin the opus is expressed by two angels attempting to awaken the sleeping alchemist with their trumpets. The nightly scenery is framed by two rose-branches, whose flowers symbolize mystical, or divine, love.’  For Khunrath, ‘prayer, work and perseverance lead to eternal wisdom by the mystical ladder of the seven theosophical steps.’

Parkes had had a dream, which was recorded in her papers, in which she ‘was cycling in the landscape of’ ‘an image of a country road which dips and rises up vertically to the horizon.’ Here ‘the photograph turned into a gigantic wooden billboard far away from’ her, and ‘the road on the billboard took on a dark atmosphere of foreboding’ as she ‘knew that it revealed to those watching where’ she was. She ‘was escaping but now’ she knew, ‘because of the evidence of the photograph’, that the man, who ‘was psychotic, standing on the infinite sands’ in ‘another landscape — a scorching desert (the Sahara)’, which she saw in this dream, ‘who was trying to kill’ her, would find her. As she cycled towards him she saw her ‘own entrails in slow motion leaving’ her body ‘deep under water. He’ had ‘butchered’ her.
In this book, where matters ‘have not yet unfolded as they should’,  S is consumed by Parkes ‘to the point of madness’, wanting ‘to merge with her entirely’, wanting her blood in his veins, her thoughts in his mind, her words in his mouth. Riding together in Rome on a bike on a research trip they are thrown from a moped when the moped is driven onto wet leaves on the sharp bend of a road but, fortunately for S, he was not identified at the scene of the accident ‘due to the complete incompetence of the Roman authorities’.
In the book It Has To Be This Way Seers investigates what happened to her stepsister, Christine Parkes, who mysteriously disappeared in Rome in January 2001 after she had met a man, S, a Swede, who she had met at the Swedish Academy, who she became ‘entangled with’,  who was cataloguing Queen Christina’s manuscripts with Eva N, wife of the director of the Swedish Institute at the Vatican library, there being ‘more than 3000 of them to decipher’.  ‘Something had changed in’ Parkes and ‘she had become remote’ as a result so that Seers could not ‘seem to reach her emotionally.’  S having ‘recently died or disappeared’, Seers came ‘into possession of his writings, which were eventually passed to’ her ‘family by civil authorities in Finland having been found in an abandoned cabin near Turku.’ These documents included files that originally belonged to Chris Parkes. Seers gave these ‘recovered writings and documents to an editor (M. Anthony Penwill) and, at his request, supplied notes, commentaries and reactions’ that he included in the book It Has To Be This Way.  The text for this book is made up of a variety of sources that are detailed in the preface of this book, but ‘the ambitions of this text to give a full picture of events remain unfilled as some important writings, photographs and films have yet to be recovered’, and ‘access to other documents’, ‘some of which are held by the Theosophical Society in Paris’, were denied.

Parkes had studied art history at the Courtauld Institute when Seers was studying fine art at the Slade School of Art. ‘Two years apart in age’, they had a very close relationship. Parkes often helped Seers with her work, and appeared in her photographs and films ‘in which she was always taken for’ Seers.  Seers states of Parkes that her acting for her films ‘was something’ they ‘worked on very thoroughly.’ They read ‘Stanislavsky together and mused for hours on the line between performance and life.’ Parkes felt that ‘she put a lot of herself into’ Seers’ work and ‘was remarkably good at embodying the ideas’, but also that her ‘creativity was passing through her and that ultimately she was just a vehicle for’ Seers, she being jealous of Seers’ success.  ‘There was a kind of simultaneity between’ them, they reaching ‘the same conclusions at the same time.’  ‘Making art was the foundation of’ Seers’ ‘adult relationship with’ Parkes. They ‘shared a romantic view of it but’, in retrospect, Seers could only see ‘a pathology, an addiction to something that brings little pleasure, only anxiety as to how to sustain it’, she only seeing ‘its perversity — the broken-relationships, jealousy, failure and insomnia. Finding a link between’ her ‘aimless mind and lumpish body was a necessity for’ her. ‘That’s probably’, she states, ‘what drove’ her ‘to be a camera, as if photography was fundamentally linked to the mind, and so’ she ‘had to get the process into’ her ‘body, to take possession of it, to make it a ritual.’ Parkes felt that Seers had ‘drawn heavily on her to have the time’ she needed for her practice, she denying ‘her any chance of fulfilling her artistic ambitions’, accusing Seers ‘of being vampiric on her.’ 
In October 1999 Parks had been involved in a serious ‘accident that left her with severe retrograde and anterior grade memory loss’  ‘for which S seemed to be responsible.’  Her mother looked after Parkes when she was in hospital providing her with two books, Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory (1966) and Henri Bergson’s Matter of Memory (1988), from Parks’ collection of books that related to her research, and that of Lindsay Seers, ‘into the relationship between contemporary metaphysical philosophy and Neoplatonism’,  and ‘a box of photographs and video/audio tales that had her writing on’ them,  in an attempt to jog Parkes’ memory. She kept the news of this accident from Seers because of problems in Seers’ life at this time. In March 2003 this box, which ‘contained over 400 images’,  and some Queen Christina manuscripts that had been stolen from the Vatican library,  came, minus the Queen Christina manuscripts that had been stolen from the Vatican library, into Seers’ possession after they had been recovered in Turku, Finland. ‘Some of the videos’ this box contained ‘included family films, footage from Africa and material’ Seers had shot of Parkes in Rome and Sweden for their ‘work on the subject of Queen Christina’,  it including a film Chris Parkes had made in Ghana, an interview from Sweden with the academic Susanna Akerman ‘who reveals she has access to information confirming the hypothesis that’ Queen Christina ‘was at the head of a secret order’ that ‘was operating in the Renaissance magical arts at a high level’, she mentioning ‘a document in Paris containing evidence supporting this idea written in Christina’s hand’, which is why Chris Parkes may have travelled to Paris in 1998’,  and a fort video from Ghana that made Seers wonder about the ‘commingling of personal responsibility with cultural guilt’ and ‘in what sense are we individually responsible for the events of history?’  Seers’ stepsister had visited a number of Ashanti Fetish Houses, she having ‘an interest in the Ashanti before leaving for West Africa’.

Following this interest of Chris Parkes, Chris Parkes took the bus to Kumasi from Accra as Chris Parkes had done 13 years previously, she choosing photographs of Chris Parkes to determine her fate.  Seers visited as many African forts as she could because she knew the route Chris Parkes had taken, and, mimicking Parkes, ‘went inland to the temples and shrines.’  Chris Parkes had told Seers that ‘the locals had said that troublesome slaves were incarcerated in the bole of the tree on the route from Mali to the coast.’  ‘The former colonial forts, long ago abandoned by the foreign powers’, are ‘shunned by local people who feared the bad spirits reputed to lurk within. Donald, ‘a Ghanaian entrepreneur, amateur historian and ultra-nationalist with quasi-official connections to government’,  who had an ambition ‘to fashion a pan-African confederacy with a glorious new Ghanaian republic at its heart’, states that ‘there are more things in heaven and earth than are conjured up by our intellects alone and to those unseen things that guide our destinies, my people give the name “spirits”.’ ‘You may’, he added, ‘call them instincts or unconscious drives; some people call them angels and demons. The Ashanti speak of spirits, good and bad, and of possession, different terms for the same phenomenon.’  In Ghana Seers stayed near Port Patience. ‘Something about the old slave fort’, where they fitted 900 slaves in at one time, frightened her and made her ‘feel uneasy’, her room being ‘above the slave cell.’  She found this place to be ‘desolate’ and ‘brooding.’ She had ‘many short dreams; all vivid and located in this room, they all’ ending ‘in a jolt.’  The darkness took ‘on a human form which’ roved ‘restlessly around the building, still suffering.’  The first European colonists, the Portuguese, who arrived in 1471, built ‘the first of the Gold Coast forts’, the castle at Elmina, in 1482. It exported slaves and gold and traded in knives, beads, mirrors and rum.’  ‘The coastal region of present day Togo, Benin and Nigeria … served as the principal point of embarkation for African slaves from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Like the Gold Coast or the Ivory Coast, the region was named by colonial powers for its principal commercial export.’

Chris Parkes had, as a ‘nervous habit’, endlessly twisted and turned on her hands a precious pink diamond ring that had ‘a sinister arachnoid quality’ for S. ‘Illuminated by a late reddish sun it tended towards the colour of fresh blood.’  It was an acquisition of her father, Sid Parkes, which had been lost, ‘allegedly through the machinations of a slick Ghanaian conman who had reneged on a smuggler’s pact with Sid.’  Sid Parkes and Pamela each had abandoned a daughter from a previous marriage when Sid Parkes left for Africa, with Parkes ‘seemingly engaged in a regular diamond run along the African coast, ferrying stones from his Ghanaian contact to Sierra Leone, where Pamela’s brother Terry had the fix in with Customs officials at the international airport.’  When Sid Parkes and Pamela had sailed for Africa, Seers’ father had taken Parkes in. Christine Parkes ‘had begged and pleaded with Pamela to give up’ this ring that symbolised ‘the missing years of her father’s African sojourn’ for her. Parkes felt that her father’s ‘love for Pamela’ eclipsed his affection for her, being adamant that this priceless jewel, which had nearly cost Sid Parkes ‘his freedom if not his life, and was the emblem of his love for’ Christine Parkes’ stepmother, ‘should be hers’, and ‘that it should not belong to some woman who had seduced her father and taken half his wealth.’  Parkes, whose natural father had died in 1996, had resentment against her mother about ‘everything to do with Africa.’  Seers ‘had also conceived an obsession for the pink diamond. For her’ it ‘symbolized her mother’s love for her stepfather, which she jealously resented.’  Her mother left her behind as she considered that she ‘had no option’, the country where she had gone being ‘dangerous and no place for children’, it being ‘too unstable’ for her to join them there, ‘the threat of disease’ being ‘too great’, she thinking that she ‘would be better off with’ her father. She also thought that she ‘had a right to live’ her ‘life as well as being a mother’, she giving Seers ‘ten years of constant nurture’ before she left.  Christine Parkes had ‘tormented’ Pamela Parkes and Pamela Parkes’ husband, her relationship with her father not being ‘natural’, she being ‘so hysterical at times’, so that they ‘could not function normally’, everything being so ‘overloaded and venomous’, ‘the simplest thing being like an obstacle’, she driving them away. 

Such realities as the meaning of Tarot cards come into this fascinating book with references to such an image as The Chymist and to ‘the traditional Celtic Cross “destiny” structure in’ the Tarot, Christine Parkes having ‘been influenced by something in’ Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory that ‘her stepmother had brought to the hospital’, S seeing her transcribe ‘the memory chart Yates had constructed from Giordano Bruno’s instructions.’  S had felt defiled by Parkes, feeling that she was ‘going about with all that is finest in’ his soul, and that ‘unknown men’ had defiled him ‘by the glances with which they’ sullied her, believing that, ‘through this woman’, he was ‘sinking into the mire, pulled down by her cloying adhesiveness’, she making ‘a pervert of’ him ‘indirectly and against’ his will,  as if he had no control of his own free will. He sees a man that, in the past, she had been fixated on, in a photograph ‘in the position that represents “her now/the heart of the matter” in the Celtic Cross Tarot’,  he telling her ‘that there is a man who is manipulating events’ that she must be wary of, he disguising himself as being ‘sympathetic, even caring, but his intentions are destructive.’  Another photograph that S refers to ‘represents the “challenge/blockage” position in the Celtic Cross Tarot’. ‘Sometimes the fury’ S ‘felt at her passivity expressed itself in violent impulses toward’ Parkes where, for him, ‘her frightened, baffled face was a screen that things just bounced off.’  S saw ‘everything of importance’ that ‘was in these photographs as a potential event that had not yet happened’, not yet for them, and that ‘everything in them would happen at a future date’, he seeing her as often visiting him ‘in the form of a man’. This reality ‘had been very disturbing’ for him, he seeing it as ‘a sort of repudiation of’ their relationship. They ‘had become immersed in chasing what is known as “the one-man principle” in Swedenborg’ who, ‘at the age of fifty six’, had begun ‘to express dreams and visions, published posthumously as the Journal of Dreams, which led him to a Christian mystic philosophy.’  Swedenborg ‘asserted that a trinity of body, soul and spirit existed in all human beings’, he publishing ‘his mystic writings anonymously to ensure that his work would inspire the adulation of Christ rather than himself.’

The interest of S and Christine Parkes in this ‘one-man principle’ was ‘at the heart of’ their interest ‘in Neoplatonism and later in’ occult practices. S was not ‘afraid of the dark arts, but’ Christine Parkes had, not surprisingly, ‘become ‘irrationally fearful, as if’, for S, who ‘was willing to take on’ his demons, ‘she was not protected enough to become involved in Theurgy’ that ‘is associated with Neoplatonism and involved the use of rituals in order to achieve a perfected sense’,  it being ‘a tradition, that if an Esoteric Christian, Rosicrucian, or Theosophist practices it, he or she is considered a Magus, or Adept, if one ascends to a degree to attain such a title.’ ‘Theurgists historically are usually solitary practitioners and seek the divine light alone through ritual and inner spiritual and psychological equilibration.’  Theurgy ‘describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving henosis, and perfecting oneself’,  it meaning ‘“divine-working”. The first recorded use of the term is found in the mid-second century neo-Platonist work, the Chaldean Oracles’. ‘The source of Western theurgy’ is ‘found in the philosophy of late Neoplatonists, especially Iamblichus’, ‘in late Neoplatonism, the spiritual universe’ being ‘regarded as a series of emanations from the One’, ‘from the One’ emanating ‘the Divine Mind (Nous) and in turn from the Divine Mind’ emanating ‘the world Soul (Psyche)’, Neoplatonists insisting ‘that the One is absolutely transcendent and in the emanations nothing of the higher was lost or transmitted to the lower, which remained unchanged by the lower emanations.’  ‘Plotinus urged contemplations for those who wished to perform theurgy, the goal of which was to reunite with the Divine (called henosis)’ while ‘Iamblichus of Calcis (Syria), a student of Porphyry (who was himself a student of Plotinus) taught a more ritualized method of theurgy that involved invocation and religious, as well as magical, ritual’, he describing ‘theurgic observance as “ritualized cosmogony” that endowed embodied souls with the divine responsibility of creating and preserving the cosmos.’ ‘The theurgist works “like with like”: at the material level, with physical symbols and “magic”; at the higher level, with mental and purely spiritual practices. Starting with correspondences of the divine in matter, the theurgist eventually reaches the level where the soul’s inner divinity unites with The Divine.’  ‘Heavily influenced by the ideas of Iamblichus’, The Emperor Julian the Apostate (332-363), who ‘favored ritual theurgy, with an emphasis on sacrifice and prayer’, ‘embraced Neoplatonic philosophy and worked to replace Christianity with a version of Neoplatonic paganism. Because of his death and the hold mainstream

Christianity had over the empire at the time’, he was ‘ultimately unsuccessful’ in this aim.
Writing in reference to Ibsen’s play about Emperor Julian, Brian Johnston comments that ‘Nietzsche’s alarming resurrection of paganism, Kierkegaard’s no less alarming resurrection of primitive Christianity correspond, one imagines’, ‘to Ibsen’s idea of the way these forces might yet create a “third empire” of spirit’,  ‘a spiritual empire’, Orley I. Holtan suggests, ‘which must be established in men’s souls at the moment of their deaths rather than a physical one which will be established in life on the earth.’  Maximus the Mystic, ‘Julian’s mentor and guide’,  describes these ‘three empires’ in the third act of the first play in the two five-act plays published under the title Emperor and Galilean (1873) that Ibsen thought, at the time he was writing it, would be his ‘chief work’ :

First that empire which is founded on the tree of knowledge; then that which is founded on the tree of the cross.... The third is the empire of the great mystery; that empire which shall be founded upon the tree of knowledge and the tree of the cross together, because it hates and loves them both and because it has its living sources under Adam’s grove and under Golgotha.

There was a need, Ibsen felt, ‘to combine the wisdom of Christianity and the wisdom of paganism.’  Julian wished ‘to restore paganism with its joy of life and its love of beauty and learning’, and objected ‘to Christianity because of its death worship, its solemnity, and its intolerance. Thus two principles are opposed to each other, the principle of life-affirmation, beauty, and joy, and the principle of death, asceticism, and life-denial.’  The third concept of Julian’s ‘had its roots in the same neo-Platonism which [the pagan philosopher] Labanios and Maximus’,  ‘who claims to have power over ghosts and spirits’,  ‘cultivated and which played such a great role in all the medieval Christian mystical writings that describe man’s yearning for something beyond his ability to comprehend’, an idea that ‘was again taken up by philosophers’, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it entering ‘quite naturally into Hegelian dialectics, which seeks to reconcile opposites in a higher unity.’  Ibsen, who thought that ‘the whole human race is on the wrong track’,  did not know ‘what will come of this death-struggle between two epochs’, but ‘anything’, he wrote to Georg Brandes, ‘rather than what is now: that is all that counts for me.’  ‘Behind both Julian and the forces of the Galilean that oppose him is the world-will working out the future of mankind in its own way and at its own price. Julian’s real role in the establishment of the third empire is as one of the “three cornerstones under the wrath of necessity”’. Maximus says that ‘The third empire shall come! The spirit of man shall re-enter on its heritage’ as Julian ‘has been chosen by a power beyond him for a task beyond his comprehension ... He has been a sacrifice in the working out of an inscrutable and inexorable will.’  Writing this play ‘strengthened’ Ibsen’s ‘belief that a moral will works in history and will suddenly appear to “sweep the board clean” of all corruption, lies and deceit.’
Seers/Christine Parks ‘Queen Christina project was never resolved because’ Parkes had insisted that ‘it should be acknowledged as a joint work’, and Seers did not want to recognise their ‘collaboration by making it public.’

After they had left the Swedenborg Society Parkes told S about how ‘a Shaman had taken her to meet a spirit guide’, and how’ they had ingested ayahuasca’ and ‘had shared the vision of the spirit animal’, she ‘using this guide to enter the spirit world to access certain information, and of how in recent times her interaction with the spirit animal had become almost entirely erotic’, she enjoying sex with this animal.  ‘This animalistic desire’ being ‘utterly at odds with the pure feelings’ he had had for her, S ‘felt possessed, as if by the spirit of the animal projected by’ Parkes, feeling that he ‘as if something feral and predatory had been unleashed’ on him and that, for him, the ‘section of her body from her knees to her waist’ was ‘a threshold into a realm of pure instinct and impulse where thoughts could not penetrate.’ ‘After this she haunted’ his ‘mind for three days’.  Swedenborg believed, S states, ‘when he visited other planets’, ‘that the earth was the worst of’ these planets ‘because its inhabitants did not say what they think, or else why they say things other than those they think.’ This reality ‘is why they have governments and princes, things that are not found on the other planets, where people live solely in families, and where they cannot lie.’

After an incident of a Tarot reading, ‘a different trajectory began’ for Seers after she arrived in Sweden. Here she reproduced photographs of Parkes from the box she had been given where, ‘attached to each photograph was a second image’, with, ‘affixed to the photograph of the’ painting of Queen Christina by the Dutch-Danish painter Abraham Wuchters (1608-1682), ‘was a photograph of Bergman’s theatre production of Strindberg’s’ play Ghost Sonata. Bergman saw his first play, which was Strindberg’s A Dream Play, at Dramaten, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, in Sweden when he was ten years old, and has said that ‘Strindberg runs like a steel column through’ his work.  ‘Isn’t’, Seers asked, ‘Bergman bound to Strindberg, whose plays he directed and whose spirit he felt he embodied?’, and ‘isn’t Strindberg bound to Harriet Bosse, his second wife, who haunted him as an astral body’.  Strindberg wrote the role of Christina for Bosse to play,  and slept ‘with a dummy to protect himself from the astral visits of Bosse’, wanting ‘to stave off her adulterous approaches, believing that when she’ came ‘to him in her lascivious nocturnal wanderings she will think he is with another woman and leave him alone.’  S’s ‘last role as an actor was in Colin Wilson’s’ play Strindberg, in which’ he ‘played the lead.’  Strindberg, Colin Wilson writes, ‘broke through the taboos of his own time’.  S, who states that he chained Parkes, through a pair of manacles that he bought ‘from an S&M shop’, feeding her and maintaining her while he ‘accused her of some of the things that she had done to’ him ‘in the past’,  saw her as ‘a Dr Mabuse’ who, in Fritz Lang’s film Das Testament des Dr Mabuse (1933), is ‘a master of telepathic hypnosis’, who ‘seems to be a malevolent spirit that possesses host after host’, she moving ‘into other entities and’ controlling him ‘through them from all directions.’  S drew on Strindberg’s Occult Diary, Marriage with Harriet Bosse,  he altering ‘some words and some of the sense of the original extracts, using them as if they’ were his own,  and possibly wrote of Queen Christina that she was ‘that murderous virgin Queen who abandoned her kingdom and then planned to take the Kingdom of Naples’, and that he is ‘one of the few who knows the real reason’ why ‘she killed Monaldeschi’  when she ordered the execution of marchese Gian Rinaldo Monaldeschi, the master of her house, after she suspected him of treachery, he being stabbed by two of her domestics, an act that was considered to be legal as she had judicial rights over members of her court.

It Has To Be This Way also includes references to William Blake’s poem And Did These Feet in Ancient Time, which refers ‘to the possible establishment of a New Jerusalem at the time of the Second Coming of Christ as prophesised in the Book of Revelation’, Blake being ‘an early adherent to Swedenborg’s mystical writings, though he later repudiated them.’

There are also references, in It Has To Be This Way, to Philip, Peter P in Terry Harry’s novel Heart of the Lion  that is also referred to in It Has To Be This Way. Philip is ‘a heretic’,  a ‘de-frocked Catholic priest’  whose ‘character is based on an actual Catholic mystic and religious reformer working in the north of Ghana’,  who ‘had been recruited by the Swedenborgian sect whilst studying in London. He was contemptuous of Catholic charity, which he regarded as tokenism given the vast wealth of the Vatican’, with ‘something about Swedenborg’s insistence that faith alone was not sufficient to guarantee salvation’ appealing ‘to his humanitarian, interventionist instincts.’  He ‘reversed a longstanding policy of the Church’ that ‘the worship of African deities would no longer be suppressed.’  ‘Donald, who adored the work of Henry James, had himself fallen under Swedenborg’s influence when studying in England after discovering that James was an adherent to the mystic’s teachings’, and ‘had been struck by Swedenborg’s belief that mankind’s true spiritual perfection was to be found in Africa, since Africans were capable of more profound interiority than any other race’, experiencing ‘an epiphany, or a least a strong sense of destiny in meeting this priest.’  Peter P asked Donald if he ‘saw a parallel between Swedenborg’s views about the daily presence of higher spirits assisting man’s spiritual awakening and the traditional Ashanti belief in the spirits that possess the priests of the fetish temples’, they contriving ‘a plan for national rebirth (or, depending on your point of view, a conspiracy of demonic treason)’, they being ‘strange bedfellows: a heretical priest with disdain for the excess of graft and want of charity amongst his countrymen, and the bon viveur with an eye for the main chance but with dreams of a national renaissance.’  ‘Swedenborg’s ideas’ had ‘inspired the Abolitionist movement and in 1787 the Swedish king, Gustaf III, established a philanthropic colony in Guinea along what we would now call Fair Trade principles, trading for agricultural produce in an effort to suppress slavery.’

'The Ashanti and the British’, Donald stated, ‘were forever bound in fraternal partnership by virtue of their having been adversaries’, he likening ‘the British to a herd of stupid cattle that had stampeded through Africa causing mayhem and destruction wherever they passed’, ‘the diligent British’ having ‘long since made off with most obtainable gold and now there’ being ‘only one resource in Ghana that combined ease of extraction and transportation with high potential profits: diamonds.’
Philip was, at one stage in his life, ‘being groomed for higher things in the Ghanaian Church’, and was ‘sent to Rome and London to study. But whilst in London he had attended an exhibition of the works of William Blake hosted by The Swedenborg Society and experienced a revelation’, being ‘struck with the absolute certainty that the Catholic dogma of the Trinity was untenable. His faith on the brink of collapse’, ‘and with his mentors unwilling to engage with his doubts’, he ‘plunged himself further into study and in doing so found a credible solution to his crisis in the writings of Swedenborg.’

S too found solace in the writings of ‘the eighteenth-century Swedish scientist and dream mystic Emanuel Swedenborg’,  ‘in particular, the doctrine of the “Science of Correspondences”’ that ‘is derived from Plotinus and Neoplatonism’, which seemed to him ‘to illuminate a whole new order of causality beyond the soulless empiricism that had come to dominate Western thinking’, he becoming ‘an adept of Tarot and other ancient forms of divination as’ he ‘sought to reveal the skeins of destiny being woven by the occult forces shaping’ his life, he going in search of God and finding the devil. ‘The science of correspondences delineates connections between the natural, spiritual and divine worlds.’ Swedenborg stated: “I have learned from heaven that the earliest people had direct revelation, since their deeper parts were turned toward heaven. That was how the Lord was connected with human beings at that time. Later, though, this kind of direct revelation stopped happening, and was replaced by indirect revelation through correspondences. Every part of their divine worship was made of correspondences, so that the religion of that era may be called “symbolic religion”. In those days, they knew what correspondences and symbols were. They knew that everything on earth corresponds to or symbolizes spiritual things in heaven and religion. So the physical items that were the outward forms of their worship served as a means for them to think spiritually, which means thinking with angels. After people forgot their knowledge of correspondences and symbols, the Bible was written, in which all the words and their meanings are correspondences, so that they have within them the spiritual or inner meanings that the angels have. So when a person reads the Bible and understands it literally, the angels understand its inner, spiritual meaning … This is why, after people moved away from heaven and broke the link, the Lord arranged a way of connecting heaven with people through the Bible.’ 

The ideas of Swedenborg, ‘such as that of vastation, or what Swedenborg called “being let into one’s own internals, that is, into what is the spirit’s own”’,  had a major impact on Strindberg. For Swedenborg ‘man’s purpose must be to become the tool of Divine Will; and this he can achieve only by making himself a receptacle of God’s love and by resisting the influences of evil spirits’ who ‘can help on occasions’ by ‘making him aware of the dangers inherent in his own temperament.’ ‘Man must accept the authority of Divine Providence and submit his will and reason to it.’  ‘Once the individual soul has been stripped of its social mask, it will reveal its true self, showing whether it is possessed of Divine Love or is corrupt.’  ‘The life which leads to heaven is not a life of retirement from the world, but of action in the world; a life of piety without a life of charity—which can only be acquired in the world—does not lead to heaven; but a life of charity which consists in acting sincerely and justly in every situation, engagement and work, from an interior principle that is from a heavenly origin’.  The ‘feeling that he was communicating with the transcendental’ as, ‘for the rest of his life’, he continued ‘to wander in the world of revelations and miracles’, sustained Strindberg ‘when his depression was most severe’. ‘It renewed his faith in life and gave new dimensions to his art.’  ‘All my sufferings’, Strindberg wrote in Inferno (1897), ‘I found described in Swedenborg ... all exactly correspond, and these elements, taken together, constitute the spiritual catharsis (purgation) which was already known to Saint Paul.’  There is a pattern running through Strindberg’s plays. As The Stranger tells The Dyer in The Burned Site, that Strindberg had originally ‘considered calling ... The World Weaveress (Världsväverskan)’, :

When you’re young you see the web set up on the loom: parents, relatives,  friends, acquaintances, and servents—they make up the warp. Later on in life  you see the woof, and the shuttle of destiny moves the threads back and  forth.  Sometimes it breaks, but is tied together again and so continues. The beam  drives; the yarn is forced into flourishes and curlicues and the fabric  emerges. In later years, when you have really learned to see, you discover that  all the curlicues form a pattern, a monogram, an ornament, hieroglypics,  which  only now can be deciphered: this is life! The World Weaver has woven it!

Strindberg wrote in 1877-78 a creation play that he called Coram Populo, or De Creatione et Sententia vera Mundi (The Creation of the World and Its True Meaning). It is, comments Harry G. Carlson, ‘generally faithful to the Gnostic Weltanschauung, with a view of the earth as a prison created by the evil underling demiurge, a place of darkness and suffering where mortals are the containers of sparks of divine light that have been trapped in matter. Men can be liberated, however, to the transcendental “other world” of their origin through knowledge, gnosis, of that luminous realm whose ruler is a supreme god representing absolute good.’  ‘For Strindberg’, Maurice Valency writes, ‘the only hope of this life is in art, which alone has power to transform pain into beauty: it is not through the perversion, but through the sublimation of nature that the troubled spirit gains its victory.’
As Valency concludes his study:

For Ibsen, there was no victory. For him, the greatness of the artist is measured by the height of the tower from which he falls, or the force of the avalanche that engulfs him. But for Strindberg, the agony of the laboring spirit is not pointless. The spirit is imprisoned, it is true, all its days in the dark castle; but the castle grows as the spirit impels it, until at last it bursts into  flame.
Then blooms the golden flower. 

‘A royal blue stage structure — a simplified replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre — punctuated by two intrusive, crystalline star sculptures of the same colour’, dominated the gallery space for Seers’ It Has To Be This Way exhibition. Chris Fite-Wassilak writes, of this exhibition, that ‘the maze of archaic references to Neoplatonism and Swedenborg’ hide, ‘at their core’, ‘a raw, personal trauma’ that ‘inevitably has to remain an open wound.’
Queen Christina was an extraordinary woman in her time. She was ‘Queen regent of Swedes, Goths and Vandals’, ‘Grand Princess of Finland, and Duchess of Ingria, Estonia and Karelia, from 1633 to 1654.’ In 1654 ‘she caused a scandal when she abdicated the throne and converted to Catholicism’. She spent her later years in Rome. ‘As a queen without a country, she protected many artists and projects.’ She ‘was moody, intelligent, and interested in books and manuscripts, religion, alchemy and science’, wanting ‘Stockholm to become the Athens of the North.’ ‘Her unconventional lifestyle and masculine behaviour’ feature ‘in countless novels and plays, and in opera and film.’  Greta Garbo starred in the classic feature film Queen Christina in 1933 while Strindberg wrote a play Kristina (1901) about her. Queen Christina ‘became a symbol of cross-dressing, transsexuality and lesbianism’ in the twentieth century.  No Roman collection of art matched hers.  Queen Christina wrote an unfinished autobiography, essays on her heroes, on art and music, ‘and acted as patron to musicians.’  ‘She studied Neostoicism, the Church Fathers, the Islam, and read Treatise of the Three Imposters, a work bestowing doubt on all organized religion, and had a firm grasp of classical history and philosophy.’ She also corresponded with the philosopher René Descartes ‘about hate and love’ and invited him to Sweden. He was invited to the castle library to discuss philosophy and religion, but the premises were very cold, and, in February 1650, he fell ill with pneumonia and died ten days later. Queen Christina ‘was distraught with guilt’, ‘embraced skepticism and became indifferent to religion.’  She ‘had a masculine voice, appearance, and movements’, and ‘had a disdain for marriage, sex, female conversation and childrearing’. ‘The midwives at her birth first believed her to be a boy, because she was “completely hairy and had a coarse and strong voice.”’ She ‘sat, talked, walked and moved in a manner her contemporaries described as masculine’ and ‘preferred men’s company to women’s unless the women were very beautiful, in which case she courted them. Likewise she enjoyed the company of other educated women, regardless of their looks.’

‘After reigning almost twenty years, working at least ten hours a day’, she is likely to have had a nervous breakdown, when she was 25. She was told to ‘take more pleasure in life’, and ‘to stop studying and working so hard’. In 1651 she told the councils she needed rest and their country needed a strong leader. The councils refused her request and she accepted to stay as Queen under the condition that she was never to be asked again to marry.  She abdicated her throne on 5 June 1654.
The plays of Strindberg, who believed that he saw his second wife in an astral body, and wrote that the world was putting out signs to him on the other side of reality in his occult diaries, very much influences the narrator in It Has To Be This Way who is looking for her missing stepsister, there being the Platonic world, and a big plan, that is breaking through this reality.

In her film The World of Julie Eisenbud (Remission) ‘Seers’ attempt to become a camera is linked to the curious life’ of ‘a psychic performer’, Ted Serios, ‘who claimed to be able to create photographic images solely by “projecting his thoughts” onto film.’ The narrator in this film ‘is identified as Rufus Eisenbud, son of’ a Denver-based psychoanalyst, Dr Jule Eisenbud, who is interested in paranormal phenomena and had ‘investigated and identified’  the ‘psychic powers’  of Ted Serios in the 1960s, who has ‘the evidence of Seers’ own errie mouth-photographs and film footage supplied’ to him ‘by a character called Frank Weston’,  ‘a documentary photographer’,  ‘described as “at worst, a stalker; at best, a researcher”’, whose ‘obsession with Seers is made plain by voyeuristic footage’ shot of her.  Dr Eisenbud, who had written a book, The World of Ted Serios (1967), about a man who had ‘psychic powers’, and had ‘developed a talent for clairvoyant viewing of hidden or far off objects’,  had met Seers in the mid-1980s when she had gone to Amsterdam to research the discovery of the island of Mauritius by Dutch explorers in the late 17th century, ‘to stand on the shore and look at the place from which Wybrant Warwijck embarked to accidentally discover Mauritius’, the ships leaving from Texel in May 1598,  and had discovered her ‘making mouth photographs’.  Warwijck was the first Dutchman to visit this island, he renaming it after the Dutch stadhouder Maurits. After a fort was established there, slaves were imported to Mauritius from Madagascar.

Dr Eisenbud ‘genuinely believed that’ Seers’ ‘images would prove every bit as effective’ as Serios’ activities ‘in revealing the mysteries of the unconscious’,  he inviting her to visit him in Denver,  which she did. Seers turned up on his doorstep ‘some six or seven years after their first meeting’, when she exhibited ‘signs of “post-traumatic shock’’’, days passing ‘before she was able to speak’.  She became ‘severely agitated’ about the activities of Frank Weston and his ‘constant presence in her life’, she seeming ‘to hold the kind of beliefs associated with primitive societies so far as photographs of her taken by other people were concerned — that the image stole or trapped the soul.’ For Rufus Eisenbud, Seers, who seemed to him ‘even more intensely strange than Ted Serios’, had ‘the same aura of someone possessed of a mysterious gift, barely understood.’  ‘The act of being a camera being’ then ‘was purging’ for her, ‘a compulsive enactment which reified a process that’ she ‘lived abstractly.’  Rufus Eisenbud had returned to Denver to visit his folks to ‘find Lindsay Seers’ weird photographs all over the place, and’ Seers, ‘an itinerant recluse, a drifter with little time except’ for ‘her own peculiar obsessions’, ‘drifting around the house like a ghost’, she having used hypnotism in her work ‘to tap into the unconscious.’  This film includes ‘vampire imagery’ of Seers, as well as her donning a black sack that functions ‘as a portable dark room’, and she adopting ‘an alternative communicative strategy’, she becoming a ventriloquist. 
Seers, who was silent for part if not all, as she states, of her childhood, ‘dumbstruck with images and with the spectacle of the world’, now, when her ‘head became the camera body and’ her lips ‘the shutters’, and she clothed herself in a sack, ‘and then put the prepared paper in’ her mouth, ‘everything was bathed’, for her, ‘in the red light of’ her body. This ‘practical beginning of’ her becoming a camera, an urge that ‘had been latent in’ her ‘for a long time’, became ‘a full-blown obsession’ for her, she having ‘no idea where it came from’. She felt ‘as if it acted through’ her, like ‘a kind of possession’, she doing this at night when her ‘head was empty of thoughts’, she being ‘like a somnambulist waking from sleep’, finding herself ‘in the middle of a gesture’ she ‘had not known’ she ‘was making.’  Seers had left home, breaking contact with her family ‘after endless arguments and refusals of them to accept the way’ she ‘had chosen to live’, she wandering ‘aimlessly in Europe’, ‘Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Dublin’.  She ‘made dozens of alchemical drawings and used them like fortune telling cards’, she following these cards that led her to Amsterdam, she journeying ‘to Holland by sea as they had suggested.’  But, finding ‘no catharsis, no revelations, and no new-found sense of direction or purpose’ from her pilgrimage to Holland, achieving little except her ‘strong conviction that’ she had to escape both her situation and Frank Weston, she being ‘tired of the endless sense of loss that came with’ her ‘life as a camera’, ‘all the struggling with light and dark’ having become tedious, Seers ‘moved to suburbia and tried to have a more normal life’, and ‘worked in a fashion store in the High Street.’  But, despite these changes, her ‘attempt to lead a normal life’, and have a relationship, did not last.
Another Seers’ film Intermission, where ‘we learn that Seers cannot separate her art practice from her daily life’,  includes a dummy called Bill who ‘is none other than Stookie Bill, the fellow used by the inventor of television, John Logie Baird, in his early demonstrations of the new medium’,  and other dummies like Candy Cannibal ‘who does not speak but instead takes photographs with a lens mechanism lodged in her mouth’,  taking ‘over Seers’ work of mouth-photography’, ‘Seers’ various “becomings”’ having ‘real life counterparts far more bizarre.’ ‘The proliferation of autonomous dummies’ in this film ‘raises the suspicion that Seers has fallen into the classic doom of vents — to be taken over by her uncanny companions.’

In Seers’ film Extramission, where ‘the first narrator is Alicia Seers, whom one presumes to be the artist’s mother’, and where ‘the whole film is steeped in a mood of childhood trauma revisited; of light shone on repressed memories and the guilt of parenthood’, Seers’ ‘return to her childhood home on the island of Mauritius’, which ‘was the home of the 19th century plantation owner and friend of Daguerre, Ferdinand Wöhrnitz’, is documented. Wöhrnitz had ‘visited Daguerre in Paris and returned to’ Mauritius ‘with a complete photographic studio in packing cases’, he using ‘the camera to make photographic identity records of the indentured workers labouring in his plantation.’  ‘The photographic portrait of the seven year-old Seers which precipitated the loss of her eidetic memory bears the stamp of the photographer, Fred Wöhrnitz, the great grandson of Ferdinand’ Wöhrnitz,  after Seers’ mother had taken her to have her ‘photograph taken by an old European man called Wöhrnitz in the town of Vacoas’ on the island of Mauritius. Here she ‘was the centre of attention’, her ‘most feared position.’ ‘The only similarly intense flashes of light’ that she knew to ‘the photographic flashes’ that followed when she was photographed, ‘was the lightning that preceded tropical hurricanes’ when her family ‘would sandbag the doorways waiting for the whirlwinds to hit.’ ‘The photograph that followed brought on a storm that raged on in later years in more covert ways’ for her, happiness being ‘an emotion’, she recalls, that she ‘never rediscovered until years later’, ‘the suddenly forced smile in the photograph’ being ‘her first attempt at fakery’, the shutter falling on the light ‘like a guillotine. This was the pivotal moment at which everything changed’ for her ‘although’, ‘at that snap and flash’, she was ‘blind to this.’

Seers was shocked seeing this image, she stating that ‘it was as if’ she had never seen herself ‘before and at that moment a rupture occurred’ for her,  she being ‘scarred by this experience’, she being ‘torn from the world of sensations and’ recognising ‘herself as separate and other to the world’, she becoming ‘an alienated, melancholic individual’,  she never considering herself, to that moment, as ‘an object in the world.’  She ‘was locked in a kaleidoscope, in which’ she ‘was equivalent to everyone else.’ She ‘was a shard in that mirrored pattern in which every part is continuously recast by the whole.’ It was, she adds, as if she ‘was ejected from that kaleidoscopic world, thrown to the outside of the long tube.’ She ‘felt a sudden introspection. For the first time’ she ‘became lost to inner thought; a voice rattled on in’ her ‘head and the outside seemed to close down’, she having ‘lost awareness of the perpetual moment’ she ‘used to inhabit and thought backwards and forwards. That was the day’ she ‘began speaking.’  For Seers’ parents, ‘it was as if everything had “come right”’ but to her ‘it was the reverse.’ ‘This turning point’ for her ‘was even more deeply punctuated by’ her family’s ‘sudden departure from Mauritius, which followed only days later’, there having ‘been hushed arguments’, and ‘a meeting in a hotel with a man’ they ‘knew in England; a jeweller and antiques dealer that’ her ‘mother had worked for.’ Seers remembers ‘looking out of the back of the bus as’ they left. She recalls that her father was ‘on the other side of the blue cloud of exhaust fumes’. She could see, from his body, ‘that he was crying. It was much later that’ Seers felt this loss. She and her mother did not know then, she poignantly recalls, that they would not ‘see him again for more than five years.’  There was a new father waiting for Seers at Orly Airport in France, ‘the same antique dealer’.  He and Seer’s mother later, after they had got married, ‘each left behind a child with their former spouse: Franck a daughter named Christine, Alicia a girl named Lindsay. Perhaps the two of them wanted their future together to be as uncluttered as the horizon they sailed over’,  Franck concluding of Ghana, after he surveyed its ‘antiquarian hinterland’, in the region that ‘had been known as the Swedish Gold Coast’, that ‘it was tolerably rich in colonial spoils.’

‘Life changed so much’ for Seers after leaving Mauritius, and it ‘took on the quality of a remote dream.’ She ‘lived in Paris for a short time’ with her new family. Her ‘eidetic ability vanished, replaced by language’, and, ‘by the age of nine’, she ‘had turned ferociously to photography.’  ‘Eager to make a good impression’, her new father brought Seers her first camera, he not foreseeing, when he bought her ‘that first precious camera’, ‘how much’ her ‘project would intensify when’ she ‘became both director and producer of the photographs.’ She initially was ‘frustrated at how little information’ she ‘could retain now’ compared to her previous eidetic state even though ‘at first this new activity’ of hers brought her ‘some relief.’ ‘Whereas before’ she ‘had remembered everything that’ she ‘thought and felt, every contingent detail, now it was as if’ she ‘was living in a fog’ that ‘started to move backwards’, the camera collecting what she ‘had been unable to hold on to.’ ‘The process of photography’ being ‘joyless and compulsive’ to her, her stepfather deeply regretted ‘the gift he had chosen’ for her and held ‘himself responsible for the obsessive problems which emerged in her, she not being able to ‘be separated from that two-eyed camera.’  ‘Her photographs defied sense for anyone but’ her: ‘pictures of plastic on the scullery floor, its milky folds against the pink shining tiles; an unremarkable ceiling light; the point where a chair leg struck the floor. There was’, she recalls, ‘no aesthetic ambition’ in these images, ‘nothing to do with artfulness; just the simple desire to recall. Yet perhaps’, Seers adds, ‘this photographic project did escalate beyond control’, it occupying most of her thoughts and most of her actions, the camera being her ‘only reason for being.’ Finally, her parents ‘forcibly took’ her camera from her and she was ‘banned from using it or any other similar device’, she submitting to their actions, it being ‘a relief’ in the end for her to stop photographing.

'Without photography, without’ her ‘camera eye’, Seers ‘took solace in reflective objects.’ Her ‘first attachment came from a silver teapot on a’ table in a café on the corner of the street where they lived in Paris. Here she ‘sat for hours’, she being ‘drawn again and again to looking at the reflective pot.’ The ‘mirrored objects’ that she watched ‘were self-reflexive, vigilant’. ‘They shone out in a room, like the sudden shock when a sleeping face opens its eyes, and changes the whole space with its consciousness.’ Seers ‘had a lot of time to think when’ she ‘stopped photographing.’ She ‘spent long hours in’ this café where she became friends with a writer, Philip Ball, who seemed to her to be ‘interested in most things’ and knowing ‘something about almost everything’, who was researching cathedrals at that time. She ‘had never read philosophy, art theory or any photographic theory, but he introduced’ her ‘to many new ideas’, he nurturing in her ‘a newfound interest in ideas.’ ‘In some ways by living through photography’, ‘much of what’ she ‘read was familiar to’ her. 

‘Seers’ own crisis of identity and objectification’ being ‘directly linked to the man who invented the identity photo’, the narrator in this film ‘situates Seers’ mouth-photographs, which bear the traces of her own body in their colouration, their distortions and saliva smears, as a deliberate attempt to achieve “the destruction of photography’s perfect surface … and”’ thus ‘“turn it into something much more personal, emotional, a lived experience”.’

‘A model square-rigged ship’, which ‘appears in a number of’ images seen in Extramission, is ‘a curious leitmotif which intrudes constantly into’ Seers’ photographs, echoing ‘other footage of restless sea journeys undertaken by’ her, ‘the model ship’ finally ‘foundering on rocks in a mock storm like the final wreck of her first two “becomings”.’  ‘Basing her approach on medieval theories of vision, in which light was supposed to emanate from the individual to illuminate perceived objects, Seers attempts to “become a projector”’  in this film where ‘images of the seafaring tradition in’ her family run ‘strongly through’ it. Her dummies in this film ‘wear seaman’s caps’, and, when Seers performs with her aunt, Barbara Seers, in this film, ‘she does so dressed in naval uniform.’  According to the DVD called Under the Influence of Magicians, which Grundy Art Gallery commissioned, Seers’ aunt was a ventriloquist.  She worked ‘as a magician’s assistant before taking up ventriloquism’  ‘in her early twenties’,  she becoming ‘one of the few female ventriloquists on the circuit’ and then, ‘within the space of a year’, ‘the only female vent in England’,  she meeting the magician Cyril Critchlow in the 1950s through her brother Peter Seers, Lindsay Seers’ father having already met Critchlow in the Navy.  Seers lived with her grandmother, the ‘bedrock of’ her family, ‘as a child in Sleaford, Lincolnshire’, when her father was at sea and her mother was in Africa, the reality that she ‘was trying to find some way back to’ her grandmother, who was Barbara’s mother, after Seers’ grandmother died, making her ask Barbara Seers ‘to come to Blackpool and perform with’ her.  The ‘separation of the controlling vent from the autonomous dummy’, M. Anthony Penwill comments, ‘is a recurring theme in Lindsay Seers’ work’,  he seeing the vent in this film as summoning ‘up, in effect, the problem of’ Seers’ ‘missing voice of her own early years’, stating that ‘to witness Seers or others interact “in good faith” with one of her dummies is to have a sense not of shared illusion but of shared psychosis.’  For Barbara Seers, who ‘had long retired from ventriloquism, citing emotional and psychological disturbance caused by her relationship with her dummies’, her joint performance with her niece Lindsay Seers became ‘a cathartic process related to the death of’ Barbara’ Seers’ mother, Lindsay Seers’ grandmother,  she needing ‘to exorcise some ghosts’.  ‘The coincidental links between their lives revolving around ventriloquism’ struck Barbara Seers as being ‘predestination’, she only being draw back to the stage at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre,  in Seers’ ‘performance art work’,  by ‘the opportunity to perform with her niece’.
The occult has never been ‘far away from the things’ Seers has ‘become involved in’, ‘the history of ventriloquism and photography’, she states, having ‘more than a few brushes with necromancy and magic in their hundreds of years of evolution.’ Through Philip Ball, who ‘had written a book on the alchemist Paracelsus’ that she had read, and who ‘first introduced’ her to what she describes as ‘formalised theatrical ideas’, she ‘had some idea’, when she saw the carving of Leadenham in a village near her grandparent’s former home in Sleaford, ‘what they were.’ ‘The association of photography to alchemy was not wasted’ on her. She understood, in these symbols, ‘the possibility of the photograph as a talisman; as a means of altering the course of things.’

Ball is the author of an article, ‘The Magical Image’, in human camera where he refers to Giambattista della Porta (1535?-1615), author of Magiae Naturalis (Natural Magic), whose book ‘covered a variety of the subjects he had investigated, including the study of occult philosophy, astrology, alchemy, mathematics, meteorology, and natural philosophy.’  He ‘was the founder of a scientific society called the Academia Secretorum Naturae (Accademia dei Segreti)’, a group ‘more commonly known as the Otiosi, (Men of Leisure).’ They ‘were one of the first scientific societies in Europe.’  ‘Their aim was to study the “secrets of nature.”’  della Porta ‘was a disciple of the burgeoning tradition of Neoplatonic natural magic’ that ‘held that nature is possessed by occult forces that mankind can learn to manipulate through magic. This was not’, he adds, ‘superstition, but a kind of proto-science, for natural magicians believed that there was a perfectly rational basis to their “art”. Certainly’, Ball adds, ‘there was no reason to doubt the existence of occult forces, for the effects of magnetism and electrostatic interactions were well-known’. ‘Those who engaged in the practical and mechanical sciences were widely regarded as magicians’, ‘an association of imaging with magic’ remaining ‘during the 17th century’, the German mathematician Kaspar Schott’s description of a portable camera obscura, for example, appearing ‘in his 1657 book Magica Optica.’

Penwill describes The Truth Was Always There as ‘Seers’ most technically ambitious film.’ It ‘traces the skein of connections between’ Seers’ ‘family and Lincolnshire’s role in the history of medieval philosophy and alchemy’, and ‘is also the most unnerving’ of her films with ‘tales of magic, cryptic symbols, secret society initiations and medieval charnel houses’ being ‘offset by a sophisticated soundscape which rustles and rumbles like the upwelling of the unconscious’, where ‘somehow the most innocuous imagery — a solitary tree in a field, a nestling swift, a ruined tower in a landscape — take on a atmosphere of dread.’  Here ‘science writer Phillip Ball outlines the map of Lincolnshire’s connection with alchemy and natural magic.’ This film ‘begins with a recurring image: a road journey along one of the Roman routes where Seers’ mother’ had settled after her return from Mauritius, her voice being heard describing ‘the death of her father shortly’ before Lindsay Seers ‘was conceived and the profound sadness’ that ‘his death caused’, she wondering, in a wavering voice, ‘if something of her melancholy was transmitted to’ Seers, the ‘endless journey through the flat bucolic landscape’, in this film, being ‘like a repeated elegy for Seers’ sorrowful quest into her own past.’

The narrator in this film ‘speculates that Seers displays an adept’s understanding of arcane knowledge’, ‘the various drawings’, in this film, being ‘filled with alchemical tree symbolism and geometric mysteries’ echoing ‘both John Dees’s investigations and those of Robert Fludd (1574-1637), the Rosicrucian and follower of Paracelsus.’  ‘One striking dual image’ in this film ‘is of an orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system, against a representation of an annular eclipse (in which the moon’s silhouette does not completely obscure the sun’s disc but leaves a bright halo or annulus)’, ‘Fludd’s Neoplatonic notion’, as Philip Ball explains it, being ‘that light was the primary substance, the sliver of night forming the annular eclipse divides and rotates until it forms the shape of an alchemical ideogram inscribed in the stones of Temple Bruer’, these symbols ‘believed to be carriers of occult knowledge indecipherable to all but the initiated.’ Penwill states ‘that this seems to be exactly how Seers regards her childhood drawings after the expulsion from her eidectic Eden’, her family never fathoming ‘the key which would decrypt her alternative modes of communication.’  ‘The narrator’, in this film, ‘draws out the connection with Fludd’s theory of light and Seers’ later attempts to create objects out of light through “becoming a projector”’, we witnessing, in this film, an event ‘in a field in Leadenham at twilight, as Seers crouches with her head enclosed in projection apparatus’, what we see being ‘a sequel to a reconstruction of a Newtonian experiment to create a tree using alchemical means which’, Penwill states, ‘the modern viewer will recognise as the chemical formation of a crystal tree in a laboratory flask.’ We see, in what Penwill states is ‘the climatic moving image’, ‘the miraculous appearance of Seers’ own alchemical tree’, as ‘a female voice’ utters ‘a wavering drone’, ‘set over an intense aural landscape of the ominous susurration of the wind of an approaching storm’, as Alicia Seers says that ‘it brings to me very great sadness at the things this child has had to encounter through her life’.

Seers ‘wanted to keep the pictures that went inside’ her. Hiding inside a sack, as she took photographs, ‘preparing herself blindly to summon up the image by an act of ritual devouring, she felt invisible to others’,  ‘her unobserved but constantly observing existence’ confining her ‘to a solitary and somewhat parasitic dependence on the world in which others seemed to live their lives for the sole purpose of being watched.’ She became a vampire, her ‘eyes drinking in the details that were being printed in (her) mouth’, she aspiring ‘to life as an embodied camera’. ‘The story of a camera’, for Pavel Büchler, ‘referenced in every photographic image, is a story of predestination’, ‘the camera, rather like a ventriloquist dummy’, only doing ‘what we can do with it’,  Seers ‘becoming a “living camera” herself rather than a camera operator’, she believing ‘that she was “possessed”, not really in control of her bizarre behaviour’, she giving ‘herself, her body and her being, to photography’, she becoming ‘invisible for the voyeuristic gratification of others and at the same time, she’ redeeming ‘her own self-obsession from narcissism.’

An artwork by Seers, that includes a thirteen minute video, with different narrators, and where a tin tabernacle was erected, and made in parts, from a fabricated structure, was part of the dis-covery exhibition, which featured eleven artists, which was held at the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart in 2011. There were four international artists and three Tasmanian artists in this exhibition, with the remaining artists being from across Australia, all of these artists, who participated in this exhibition, having lived or worked on islands at some stage in their lives. Seers was very interested in the connection between Mauritius and Tasmania because Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania after leaving from Mauritius, that his ship was called Heemskerk, or ‘home church’, so she had a ‘tin tabernacle’ or corrugated iron church made, which she put up in different places in Tasmania, it being her way of looking at arriving in a new country carrying forward an historic past.  She discovered, while she was in Tasmania, where she found an abandoned tin shed, which had been shipped out from England, in an abandoned tin settlement near Lake Margaret in Tasmania, which the tin chapel was named after the street that she grew up in Bangor. It seemed to her that everything was connected and was all predestined when she made this artwork where she reflected on the question of what it was like to be her brother Tim, and the relationship that we have with our families and our siblings, if we have siblings, she wanting to raise the question, more or less, of whether we understand each other and to raise wider historical questions about her brother. Thinking about her brother she started to think of the nature of punishment and how Tasmania was a good place to reflect about such matters due to all the convicts who were transported to Tasmania. Travelling to Savage River in Tasmania, Seers reflected on the life of Louise Lovely, who had filmed Jewelled Nights there and had dressed as a man to flee a marriage, she being one of those women in history who had dressed as men as they were looking for the freedom some men then had while she also discovered that the first European woman to land in Tasmania was disguised as a sailor on a French ship.  A Tasmanian architect, Robert Morris-Nunn, came and had lunch with her. Asked if he knew where there were any tabernacles, Seers and her companions ended up driving to a place where the name of a road was the same as the name of a place where she had lived in Mauritius.

The communication of grand historical narratives occurs in Seers’ art that is concerned with strategies to communicate such realities. Seers became acutely aware of the problems created by colonisation while working in Ghana, she becoming aware, while she was in Ghana, of the way people read her as a sign of this history. In Tasmania she had an uncanny feeling that the landscape there is English due to the way prefabricated structures were shipped out to Australia from Great Britain as a result then of the idea of transporting buildings halfway around the planet. This reality, and that of being an early pioneer in another land, is related to the way that she feels about herself, and the way that she can use an artwork to reflect about herself, her life, and that of other people. Thus she states, about filming in west Africa, where she was wearing a 17th century soldiers uniform, and where she had a camera embedded in her, that she was reflecting on the reality and the moment of the slave trade at that time, when colonisers, such as the British and the Dutch, built slave forts that still exist, wearing such costumes producing a certain theatricality in what the camera produces in her art. Seers travelled to the north of Ghana, which was initially called the Swedish Gold Coast. Here she discovered fetish temples, where you get back to Africa’s vitality away from heavy colonial influences, such as big, grey slave fortresses, which still exist in this country, stating that there is magic in transforming time, and yourself, through rituals in art. Thus an artwork that she has made, which includes an image of three women on a beach, and a boat, recounts an aspect of the story of her life in Mauritius when, as a child, she did not speak until she was eight years old, she having no idea then of how to speak, she having then an eidetic memory, having the intense ability to recall a moment in a way that can leave you dumbstruck. Language, Seers claims, is artificial if you are living in the moment given that such a reality is so dense and rich, it stopping you from operating fully in the world. Seers took photographs of her mother and herself wearing wigs for this project, she returning with her mother to Mauritius, and to the idea and the intensity of the beautiful, idyllic island, thirty years after they had lived there in three different houses, Seers remembering two of them in detail. Narratives, Seers states, are never complete, as they shift and get reconstituted, the narrative having to change due to the complexity of the moment. Referring to her work for the dis-covery exhibition Seers states that ‘looking back is a privileged position’, and that she ‘can see now how the influence of photography had overwhelmed’ her, she only now being able to understand that the photographs she ‘produced were not just documents’, and that ‘the ritual and process of making them was hidden to most’, this masking ‘their true significance, much as a talisman used for magical incantation can only be understood by the adepts who have been initiated into it’. It became obvious to Seers ‘that those photographs were portentous’, ‘the very act of making them’ altering ‘their future and so’ foreshadowing it. Thus she says of ‘our first family photograph’, that ‘one such conventional photograph, dated 1910, of Tom on his wooden Royal Navy ship (hanging in’ her ‘great grandmother’s parlour)’, that ‘it did not merely fall back in time to depict an already lived past but it actively propagated a future. Tom never returned from sea and’ Seers’ ‘father never knew him but he could see how much he looked like his great-uncle’, and ‘it was that photograph alone which instilled in’ his mind ‘that he should become a sailor’, he seeing ‘the projected future of himself in that romantic sepia world. So after the independence of Sri Lanka he found himself to be a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy in Mauritius’, the British needing ‘a radio-relay station in the southern hemisphere and, as’ her ‘father was a radio operator,’ that was how she ‘came to be born on that island off Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, instead of in a red brick terrace in a dull English Midlands town.’

Other artworks of Seers include Monocular (materials: wooden structure, parts of a boat hut, window frames, reclaimed door, moss, tree trunk, metal chimney, deer skins, two synchronised 13 minute HD projections, 4.1 surround sound, drawing) shown in the Something in the way exhibition at the Lofoten International Arts Festival in Norway in 2011. This prefabricated wooden structure was constructed in Tromso, in northern Norway, as a flat-pack assemblage and transported to Lofoten in the spirit of its historical precedents. The narrator of this film is a Norwegian/English man, Seers meeting this protagonist by chance when travelling in Norway researching prefabricated structures. This unnamed man, whose cropped face viewers see twice in this film, has a rare condition called genetic mosaicism, caused by the fusion of two fertilised eggs at a very early stage of gestation in the womb, one of the signs of this condition being heterochromia — possessing eyes of two different colours — one of which is derived from the absorbed ‘twin’, we seeing his eyes both before and after he had the brown eye removed, leaving him with a single blue eye (monocular). Like other children of Sami descent, this man was forbidden to speak the Sami language. This denial of the power of speech, or wrestling with language, is pervasive in Seers’ art, she herself not speaking until she was almost eight years old. The narrator’s father, in this film, was a reindeer herder who was displaced during World War II after the Nazis had pursued a scorched earth policy in the north of Norway to discourage the invasion of Norway by the Soviet Union, the Sami people, during post-war resettlement of the north of Norway, being given prefabricated homes constructed to traditional mainstream Norwegian design. This installation of Seers in Lofoten draws reference to this history of alienation and isolation. The narrative in this film enfolds as if written through endless coincidences and chance associations, the mesh of different modes of image and sound recordings, of inter-related historical narratives and embodiment that characterises this artist’s work enveloping the spectator as he or she sits on the reindeer skins in the inverted hut, this hut being both theatrical and real, partly constructed from a hut found by the shore of the north Atlantic, and carefully pierced back together in a patchwork of archaeology, but in its reconstruction fundamentally different from its original form. The opening sound track of this 13 minute HD video pulses in the rhythm of Morse code with a skilled Morse decoder being able to ‘unearth a text by the Neo-Platonist Plotinus embedded in the cutting of the images/sound’, ‘a sense of an encoded world beyond what is seen’ pervading this work at every level. Listeners to the surround sound track hear the medium of film/sound talking as if it has become a man, it speaking of its haunted longing to represent, the implication being that, like the protagonist’s unseen brother residing in his DNA, is that this haunting is written into this medium at the level of its material structure, this embodied, encoded character emanating from the digital form like a genie from a bottle, ‘computer generated images of particles and genres’ emerging ‘as we break through the skin of appearances to the structure of matter.’ Kjetil Røed writes, of this video installation, that Seers’ work is fully on par with the best of film essays — Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, for example, or Jean Luc Godard’s Histories du Cinema, with ‘its exquisitely directed images in relation to the space the work is presented in’ while Line Ukeleiv describes it as ‘a brilliant work [of art] whose ‘mosaic-like editing is seductive to the core.’ Jon-Ove Steinhaug describes it as a ‘film about many things; about likeness and difference, about seeing with one eye, about a person who continues life carrying parts of his unborn twin brother in this form of a differently coloured eye, about a man Seers meets in England who has a Sami father, the cod wars of the 60s and 70s and so on’, which is shown in a house-like construction reminiscent of a lavvo, with reindeer skins and all, ‘the many elements forming a seductive story we never fully grasp.

Another work by Seers, Nowhere Less Now (2012-13), also has a connection with Tasmania in that a cousin of her great-great-uncle died in Tasmania, it including, in its concerns, Seers’ fascination with the past, including our genetic past, memory, slavery, freemasonry and Africa.
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[1] David Burrows, ‘Becoming Analogue’, in human camera, Article Press, University of Central England, Birmingham, 2007, p.109.

[1] M. Anthony Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, Matt’s Gallery, London, 2010, p.114.

[1] Ibid., p.36.

[1] Rufus Eisenbud, ‘Remission’, in human camera, op. cit., p.76.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.36.

[1] M. Anthony Penwill, Introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.1.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Becoming Something’, in human camera, op. cit., pp.35-36.

[1] Ibid., p.36.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.36.

[1] Richard Grayson, ‘Lindsay Seers’, essay for Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, 2007,  p.2, http://ensemble.va.com.au/Grayson/texts/Lindsay-Seers.html 15/8/2011.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Return to Mauritius/My Life as a Projector’, in human camera, op. cit., p.151.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.152.

[1] Ibid., pp.152-153.

[1] Ibid., p.153.

[1] Ibid., p.162.

[1] Ibid., p.156.

[1] Ibid., p.162.

[1] Ibid., p.164.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.36, and his introduction to Human Camera, op. cit., p.1.

[1] Penwill, Introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.1.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.37.

[1] Ibid., p.36.

[1] Ibid., p.37.

[1] Ibid., p.36.

[1] Richard Cavendish, The Magical Arts, Arkana, London, 1984, p.52.

[1] Ibid., p.76.

[1] Ibid., p.52.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Vampire, Originality’, in human camera, op. cit., p.94.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.7.

[1] Seers, ‘Vampire, Originality’, op. cit., p.94.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.7.

[1] Seers, ‘Vampire, Originality’, op. cit., p.94.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.7.

[1] Lindsay Seers, Artforum talk, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 25/3/2011.

[1] Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory, The University of Chicago Press and Routledge and Kegan Paul, Chicago and London, 1972, p.387.

[1] Ibid., p.187.

[1] Ibid., p.387.

[1] Ibid., p.174.

[1] Ibid., p.176.

[1] Ibid., p.221.

[1] Johannes Fabricius, Alchemy, The Medieval Alchemists and Their Royal Art, Rosenkilde and Bagger, Copenhagen, 1976, p.6.

[1] Ibid., p.16.

[1] Frances A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1964, p.1.

[1] Ibid., p.2.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.3.

[1] Ibid., p.4.

[1] Ibid., p.5.

[1] Ibid., p.6.

[1] Ibid., p.11.

[1] Ibid., p.17.

[1] Ibid., pp.18-19.

[1] Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, Boston and Henley, 1979, p.17.

[1] Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, op. cit., p.21.

[1] Ibid., p.20.

[1] Ibid., p.21.

[1] Ibid., p.22.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.23.

[1] Ibid., pp.44-45.

[1] Ibid., p.37.

[1] Ibid., p.60.

[1] Ibid., pp.60-61.

[1] Ibid., p.246.

[1] Ibid., p.239.

[1] Ibid., p.246.

[1] Ibid., p.248.

[1] Ibid., p.249.

[1] Ibid., p.268.

[1] For a detailed discussion of White’s novels, see a forthcoming study, by this author, of The Sacred in Australian Literature in the case of Randolph Stow, Patrick White, Francis Webb and Harold Stewart.

[1] Cavendish, The Magical Arts, op. cit., p.5.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.6.

[1] Ibid., p.8.

[1] Ibid., p.86.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Alchemy’, in human camera, op. cit., p.132.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.

[1] Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London and Boston, 1972, p.198.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.104.

[1] Lindsay Seers, Foreword to Penwill’s It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Seers, ‘Alchemy’, in human camera, op. cit., p.132.

[1] Lindsay Seers, Foreword to Penwill’s It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Grayson, ‘Lindsay Seers’, essay for Smart Project Space, loc. cit.

[1] Diane di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, in Dr. John Dee, The Hieroglyphic Monad, translated and with a commentary by J. W. Hamilton-Jones, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1975.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Alchemy’, in human camera, op. cit., p.132.

[1] E. J. Holmyard, Alchemy, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, 1968, p.118.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.19.

[1] Chris Firth, ‘As Above, So Below’, ‘Magic and mathematics’, in human camera, op. cit., p.145.

[1] Firth, ‘As Above, So Below’, in human camera, op. cit., p.139.

[1] Firth, ‘As Above, So Below’, ‘Magic and mathematics’, in human camera, op. cit., p.145.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid.

[1] ‘Enochian’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enochian 5/12/2011, p.1.

[1] ‘Enochian Writings’, http://enochian.org/enochian.shtml 5/12/2011, p.6.

[1] Ibid., p.7.

[1] Ibid., p.10.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.19.

[1] Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, op. cit., p.80.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, op. cit., p.80.

[1] Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.221.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] Ibid.

[1] ‘Enochian Writings’, op. cit., p.8.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, op. cit., p.80.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] ‘Enochian Writings’, op. cit., p.8.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.221.

[1] Preface to Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.xiii.

[1] Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.99.

[1] Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, op. cit., pp.92-93.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.124.

[1] Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, op. cit., p.89.

[1] Ibid., p.161.

[1] di Prima, ‘411 Years Later: A Preface, John Dee: A Biographical Note’, loc. cit.

[1] di Prima, ‘Working With The Hieroglyphic Monad: Suggestions For A Way In’, in Dr. John Dee, The Hieroglyphic Monad, op. cit., p.4.

[1] Dee, The Hieroglyphic Monad, op. cit., p.10.

[1] Ibid., p.11.

[1] Ibid., p.14.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.104.

[1] Ibid., p.79.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.23.

[1] Zone Books, 1988.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.23.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8. See Susanna Akerman, Christina of Sweden (1626-1689), the Porta Magica and the Italian poets of the Golden Rosy and Cross.

[1] Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, op. cit., p.200.

[1] Ibid., p.193.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.10.

[1] Ibid., p.9.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.146.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.9.

[1] Foreword to Part 2 of Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.114.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.9.

[1] Ibid., p.7.

[1] Ibid., p.8.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.43.

[1] Ibid., p.44.

[1] Ibid., p.78.

[1] Ibid., p.83.

[1] Ibid., p.79.

[1] Ibid., p.136.

[1] M. Anthony Penwill, Preface to It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.12.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.121.

[1] Ibid., p.120.

[1] Ibid., p.121.

[1] Ibid., p.122.

[1] Ibid., p.120.

[1] Ibid., p.111.

[1] Ibid., p.110.

[1] Ibid., p.82.

[1] Ibid., p.83.

[1] Ibid., p.19.

[1] Fabricius, Alchemy, The Medieval Alchemists and Their Royal Art, op. cit., p.26.

[1] Dr. Herbert Silberer, Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts, translated by Smith Ely Jelliffe, Dover Publications, New York, 1971, p.196.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.15.

[1] Ibid., p.17.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, p.104.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Ibid., p.9.

[1] Penwill, Preface to It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.11.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit.7.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.49.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.7.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., pp.83-84.

[1] http://www.mattsgallery.org/artists/seers/exhibition-1 .php 15/8/2011.

[1] Seers, Foreword to Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.8.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.23.

[1] Ibid., p.21.

[1] Ibid., p.23.

[1] Ibid., p.125.

[1] Ibid., p.23.

[1] Ibid., p.126.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.134.

[1] Ibid., p.135.

[1] Ibid., p.136.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.129.

[1] Ibid., p.136.

[1] Ibid., p.145.

[1] Ibid., pp.145-46.

[1] Ibid., p.146.

[1] Ibid., p.140.

[1] Ibid., p.141.

[1] Ibid., p.24.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.25.

[1] Ibid., p.27.

[1] Ibid., p.21.

[1] Ibid., p.27.

[1] Ibid., p.131.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.34.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.35.

[1] Ibid., pp.35-36.

[1] Ibid., p.39.

[1] Ibid., p.40.

[1] Ibid., p.151.

[1] Ibid., p.40.

[1] ‘Theurgy’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theurgy 15/12/2011, p.3.

[1] Ibid., p.1.

[1] Ibid., p.2.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Brian Johnston, The Ibsen Cycle, The Design of the Plays from Pillars of Society to When We Dead Awaken, The Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 1992, p.339.

[1] Orley I. Holtan, Mythic Patterns in Ibsen’s Last Plays, The University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1970, p.181.

[1] Ibid., p.31.

[1] Ibid., p.30.

[1] Ibid., p.31.

[1] Halvdan Koht, Life Of Ibsen, translated and edited by Einar Haugen and A. E. Santaniello, Benjamin Blom, New York, 1971, p.271.

[1] Holtan, Mythic Patterns in Ibsen’s Last Plays, op. cit., p.31.

[1] Koht, Life Of Ibsen, op. cit., p.283.

[1] Ibid., p.271.

[1] Ibid., p.283.

[1] Holtan, Mythic Patterns in Ibsen’s Last Plays, op. cit., p.33.

[1] Koht, Life Of Ibsen, op. cit., p.288.

[1] Holtan, Mythic Patterns in Ibsen’s Last Plays, op. cit., p.32.

[1] Ibid., p.33.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.42.

[1] Ibid., pp.71-72.

[1] Ibid., p.72.

[1] Ibid., p.73.

[1] Ibid., p.75.

[1] Ibid., p.76.

[1] Ibid., p.48.

[1] Ibid., p.88.

[1] Ibid., p.86.

[1] Ibid., p.78.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.79.

[1] Secker & Warburg, 1965.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.73.

[1] Ibid., p.76.

[1] ‘Christina, Queen of Sweden’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina,_Queen_of_Sweden, pp.10-11, 5/12/2011.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.123.

[1] Ibid., p.151.

[1] Ibid., p.138.

[1] Ibid., p.150.

[1] Ibid., p.151.

[1] Ibid., p.138.

[1] Ibid., p.156.

[1] Ibid., p.138.

[1] Ibid., p.139.

[1] Ibid., p.138.

[1] Ibid., p.137.

[1] Ibid., p.151.

[1] Michael Tucker, Dreaming With Open Eyes, the Shamanic Spirit In Twentieth Century Art And Culture, Aquarian/Harper, San Francisco, 1992, p.151.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.152.

[1] Tucker, Dreaming with Open Eyes, The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth-Century Art and Culture, op. cit., p.383.

[1] John Ward, The Social and Religious Plays of Strindberg, The Athlone Press, London, 1980, p.123.

[1] Ibid., p.122.

[1] Ibid., p.124.

[1] Martin Lamm, August Strindberg, translated and edited by Harry G. Carlson, Benjamin Blom, New York, 1971, p.298.

[1] Maurice Valency, The Flower And The Castle, An Introduction to Modern Drama, Octagon Books, New York, 1975, p.392.

[1] Lamm, August Strindberg, op. cit., p.485.

[1] Harry G. Carlson, Strindberg And The Poetry Of Myth, University of California Press, Berleley, 1982, pp.192-93.

[1] Ibid., p.22.

[1] Valency, The Flower And The Castle, An Introduction to Modern Drama, op, cit., p.403.

[1] Chris Fite-Wassilak, ‘Lindsay Seers’, Frieze Magazine, Issue 122, April 2009, http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/lindsay seers/ 15/8/2011.

[1] ‘Christina, Queen of Sweden’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina,_Queen_of_Sweden, p.1, 5/12/2011.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.11.

[1] Ibid., p.12.

[1] Ibid., p.4.

[1] Ibid., p.14.

[1] Ibid., p.6.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.2.

[1] Rufus Eisenbud, ‘Remission’, in human camera, op. cit., p.71.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.3.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘My Camera Life’, in human camera, op. cit., p.61.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.3.

[1] Eisenbud, ‘Remission’, in human camera, op. cit., p.71.

[1] Seers, ‘My Camera Life, Amsterdam’, in human camera, op. cit., p.62.

[1] Eisenbud, ‘Remission’, in human camera, op. cit., p.74.

[1] ‘The Dutch On Mauritius 1638-1658, 1664-1710’, in http://www.colonialvoyage.com/eng/africa/mauritius/dutch.html , 5/12/2011, p.1.

[1] Seers, ‘My Camera Life, Amsterdam’, in human camera, op. cit., p.71.

[1] Ibid., p.76.

[1] Ibid., p.80.

[1] Ibid., p.82.

[1] Ibid., p.62.

[1] Eisenbud, ‘Remission’, in human camera, op. cit., p.74.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.5.

[1] Seers, ‘My Camera Life’, in human camera, op. cit., p.59.

[1] Ibid., p.60.

[1] Ibid., p.61.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Vampire’, in human camera, op. cit., p.89.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.7.

[1] Ibid., p.9.

[1] Ibid., p.7.

[1] Ibid., p.9.

[1] Ibid., p.11.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Becoming Something’, in human camera, op. cit., p.39.

[1] Ibid., p.40.

[1] David Burrows, ‘Fleshy Analogue Machine’, in human camera, op. cit., p.114.

[1] Seers, ‘Becoming Something’, in human camera, op. cit., p.40.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.41.

[1] Penwill, It Has To Be This Way, op. cit., p.41.

[1] Ibid., p.42.

[1] Seers, ‘Becoming Something’, in human camera, op. cit., p.41.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.43.

[1] Ibid., p.44.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.11.

[1] Ibid., p.12.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Ibid., p.16.

[1] Ibid., p.12.

[1] Ibid., p.13.

[1] Lindsay Seers, ‘Ventriloquism’, in human camera, op. cit., p.98.

[1] Ibid., p.99.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.16.

[1] Seers, ‘Ventriloquism’, op. cit., p.99.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.16.

[1] Ibid., p.17.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Seers, ‘Ventriloquism’, op. cit., p.104.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.17.

[1] Seers, ‘Ventriloquism’, op. cit., p.104.

[1] Penwill, introduction to human camera, op. cit., p.17.

[1] Seers, ‘Alchemy’, in human camera, op. cit., p.132.

[1] ‘Giambattista della Porta’, in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giambattista_della_Porta , 5/12/2011, p.1.

[1] Ibid., p.2.

[1] Philip Ball, ‘The Magical Image’, in human camera, op. cit., p.53.

[1] Ibid., pp.18-19.

[1] Ibid., p.19.

[1] Ibid., pp.19-20.

[1] Ibid., p.20.

[1] Ibid.

[1] Pavel Büchler, ‘A True Story’, in human camera, op. cit., p.25.

[1] Ibid., p.26.

[1] Ibid., p.27.

[1] Penny Thow, ‘Islands in the theme’, Mercury, 12/2/2011, p.51.

[1] Ibid.

[1] ‘Lindsay Seers’, dis-covery exhibition catalogue, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, 2011, p.21.

[1] ‘Viewing Exhibition: Something in the way / Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway / August 2011, http://www.lindsayseers.info/exhibition_node/238 , 16/12/2001.