Neuro-Pictomancy: A Communication in Progress
This month, Ellie Page shares her Neuro-Pictomancy technique and how it bridges the gap between her migraines, the body's neural networks, and art as a mode of communication.
Last week, I woke up with a migraine, emailed my therapist to rearrange in urgent tones, ordered my partner to get a gel eye mask I had kept in the fridge, took painkillers, and then slept until 6pm. I don’t recall any of this, other than the brief feeling of cool gel on my eyelids as I fell back into unconsciousness.
Waking up from a migraine like this, the intense pain at the front half of my head has usually dulled, as though it has gone to have its own nap somewhere in the back of my mind, where it lurks heavily for the few hours that are left of the day. The state that I am in at this point is not an entirely unpleasant experience in itself. It is essentially like I am really high. I am very slow, my speech is slurred, and my eyes are half-closed little moons. Emotionally, I am mostly happy not to be in intense pain anymore and pleased that I’m awake. I am too out of it to experience any emotion intensely, and everything is a bit softer, which is something of a relief. I mean, I am really out of it; not capable of holding a conversation or carrying out mundane tasks. Totally out of it, but perfectly content.
I was in this state last week after my migraine, and I made a lot of art that depicts the various stages of my typical and atypical ‘migraines’ with eerie accuracy. Eerie, because I can hardly remember creating them.
There are extreme swirls of colours that I sometimes see - they can be based on the colours around me but more often than not, I later look at the natural scene only to find that the colours I saw aren’t to be found anywhere. The doctors have assigned these visuals a descriptor within their own terminology - ‘auras’. But the hallucinations I see are more like the art that I’ve made. That’s why I made it.
I don’t see a transparent glow or a suggestion of colour - I see huge swathes of colours warping and twirling. The colours I see are sometimes not even just colours but opaque materials; usually thick glossy paint. These hallucinations happen much less frequently. They are sometimes preceded by or tend to preclude a sudden and very long surprise sleep. Sometimes they preclude a migraine, typical or otherwise, or a cataplexy attack, or a [question-marked] non-epileptic seizure. Whatever my brain is trying to communicate to me by showing me these incredible scenes of dancing light and organic art, I never feel anxious or frightened when it happens. Rather, I feel privileged to be in the audience.
Neuro-Pictomancy represents synaesthesia of sorts between the neural networks that make up our body’s intranet and the idea of portrayal (picturing, painting) as a means of communication. It permits the conflation of sensory perception, both optically and in our ‘mind’s eye’, through which we exist, with the idea of a secret or meaningful communication.
Neuro- // of the nerves, nervous system (from modern Latin and modern Greek, 1600s)
Logia // to study
Neurology // the study of our neural networks
-mancer // practitioner of a specific type of divination.
-mancy // The practice of a specific type of divination
The act of divining; a foreseeing or foretelling of future events.
The apparent art of discovering secrets or the future by preternatural means.
An indication of what is future or secret; augury omen; conjectural presage; prediction.
—> Neuromancy - the art of neural divination
pictum (f: picta, m: pictus)
decorated, embellished, having been decorated
painted, coloured, having been painted
portrayed, having been portrayed
—> Pictomancy - the art of divination through colour
Neuro-Pictomancy - the practice of divining communication with our neural networks through the use of colour.