Introducing Infinite Transitions, a groundbreaking interactive game that fuses transformative art, archetypes, and mythology to unlock the depths of the human psyche. Embark on a hero's quest, rolling the dice and traversing a magical playing field. Each cell is a gateway to a unique artwork, accompanied by a profound message. In the context of small group dynamics, this game cultivates collaboration and collective exploration of archetypal themes and mythological symbols. Together, players unravel hidden meanings and venture into uncharted territories of the mind.
Join us on an extraordinary quest. Limited spots available for our game sessions during the June, with a maximum of 10 participants per session.
Are you ready to embark on this transformative journey?
Book your ticket here!
Infinite Transitions: a transformative art game.
Roll the dice, explore unique artworks, and uncover hidden meanings. Join us on an extraordinary quest. Limited spots available on 08.06.2024 for up to 10 participants.
Are you ready to embark on this journey?
Infinite Transitions: a transformative art game.
Roll the dice, explore unique artworks, and uncover hidden meanings. Join us on an extraordinary quest. Limited spots available for up to 10 participants. More dates will be available soon,
Interview with Lyubov Matyunina by Maria Domracheva
Lyuba, the archetypes in your game are gathered from what one might call world mythology, which you have been exploring for many years. How did it become possible for you? What makes myths from different cultures relatable?
I shall begin with the fact that myths are, in a way, an attempt by humans to explain what they don't understand. For example, there are myths dedicated to the theme of creation or birth. What is birth? Some ancient people believed that sex has no connection to fertilization. They believed that everyone in their tribe was constantly reincarnated. If an elder passed away, a woman would eat an apple, get pregnant, and consequently give birth, which would mean – the elder was reborn.
As time passed and causal relationships formed, myths about fertilization emerged. For example, in ancient Greek myths, Zeus would engage in a love affair with a woman, and as a result, a demigod would be born. A similar story with the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus. What unifies these myths, I believe, is the common human desire to explain what is incomprehensible. People have always been feeling something that they couldn't explain, so they looked at nature, observed its workings, and thought, – Ah, so we have something like that, makes sense. Plus there is something else I don't understand – I'll call it a God. And thus a myth is born – a story that explains the unfathomable.
And why do we need myths and mythological thinking nowadays? How can it be beneficial for humans?
The book Mythologems by James Hollis can speak for me. We live in an age of lost meanings, where in many parts of the world ancient religions and myths have no power anymore. For example, in the Netherlands, – I don't know the statistics, – but the percentage of the religious population is extremely small. It's not like Poland, Germany, or Italy, where people still often adhere to some form of religion. Here, the forefront is occupied by intellect, and technology, where it seems that everything can be explained rationally. And people do explain things rationally, however, it doesn't make everything clear. Life goes on, yet there's an emotional unease that persists. And so, people realize that they are missing an important puzzle piece. And this puzzle might be a personal myth – it is necessary for all of us.
What is a personal myth? It's our life purpose, our dreams, our aspirations. We mythologize everything around us. But how does this happen? You say: I understand! I need to pursue exactly that! I see meaning and purpose in it. Plus, we are social beings, so this purpose needs to contribute to the world. And over time, the purpose can become greater than you. Myth is always about a connection to the transcendent, to something divine, numinous, greater. It is not possible to live your life solely by earning money and building a career, because there is a risk of eventually facing tremendous burnout precisely because of the lack of meaning in everyday life. The personal myth creates that meaning. And in my view, it is essential to understand that every individual has this myth, has something transcendent, something divine within them.
And how can your game help uncover one's myth?
There are a total of 22 cards and accordingly – cells in the game. Of course, many people draw the same cards, but each person approaches a game move with different inquiries. In general, everyone has similar concerns and issues, often related to work, financial matters, family, love, and relationships – questions like where to live, what to do, how to earn a living, whether they are loved, and so on. By drawing a card, you encounter a specific archetype that highlights a particular aspect of your inquiry. This makes interpretations always very diverse – all the moves are archetypal and contain fundamental meanings that can be understood differently depending on the situation.
Placed in a particular segment, the archetype is illuminated from a specific facet. For example, we're discussing a financial question, and the card Dice of Anger appears. How can it be positioned? It depends on the inquiry. One possibility is that you're very angry with the world that you don't have money, but you do nothing about it. Another possibility is self-aggression: you beat yourself up for not having money when you could direct that energy toward finding a job. Then if the Dice of Anger appears in an inquiry about relationships – a different context emerges. It could be about asserting boundaries, for example. Is there any hidden anger in that process?
In other words, each card/move symbolizes a certain archetype that unfolds within the context of the inquiry.
How can one generally recognize their personal myth and learn to work with it?
Working with a personal myth is about openness and awareness. The person who is initially open and curious will gain the most from the game. If you're not ready to open up, you won't gain anything. If the doors are closed, nothing will enter them, and maybe that's how it should be. Or sometimes a person may have too many fears about seeing and embracing something. Sometimes during the game some people see things that scare them and shut themselves off.
In general, my intention in the game is to help people first and foremost establish a relationship with themselves, to learn to listen to themselves, because everything begins with the self. The teachings of Laozi, Jung, Clarissa Pinkola Estés and other wise men and women tell us that there is a whole world inside a person and that what one has inside is reflected outward. The better you begin to understand yourself, the better you start to understand the world around you.
I'm currently finishing reading Hodorovsky's book Psychomagic. He provides a great parallel about lucid dreaming. He writes: When I learned to sleep consciously, I learned to live consciously. This means that many people are asleep while being awake. It means that we do a lot of things automatically. The reason for this can be found in how our brain works – it always seeks the easiest path for itself.
Why do habits form in 21 days? Because neural connections are being shaped within this timeframe. Our brain automates regular actions, and the more routines one has in life, the more one actually sleeps during those moments. Consciousness doesn't spend energy on realizing how we shower and brush our teeth. For many of us, at some point, these routine actions accumulate so much that we spend up to 80% of our time as if asleep. And then the night comes, and woow! Finally! The subconscious starts speaking to you, and you seem to wake up, but in reality, you soon fall back into sleep, the actual one, because that's your routine.
The game is precisely an opportunity to connect the unconscious with consciousness, and a chance to wake up a little and understand that reality is also fluid. Just notice it!
If you're ready to see it, a lot of things will become apparent to you. People or situations will shed light on something. It depends on how open you are. It's just like in the game: if you're open, you will gain some insights. I always give an example that if a person is open, they will read instructions on how to use a washing machine and say, – Wow, I've gained so many insights! And someone else reads Jung and thinks, – What nonsense!
And why do you think people have those fears?
It's appropriate to mention Sartre's novel Nausea here. Sartre notes two types of existentialism – one assumes the presence of God and destiny, and the other denies it. In the book he tells the story of a historian who becomes increasingly disillusioned with the world, and experiences a deep sense of existential despair. The novel delves into the existential crisis faced by the protagonist as he grapples with the absurdity and meaninglessness of life, ultimately leading to a profound questioning of one’s existence itself. The protagonist is pierced with horror, he feels nauseous, he experiences helplessness and absurdity, and feels fear because he realizes that everything, every action he takes, leads to some consequences. He feels the weight and horror of existence. A great novel!
But at the same time, I believe that due to this existential tradition, we all have some kind of cult of suffering. Yes, generally, that's how life is! But we can look at it differently, for example: It's amazing how all my thoughts, consciousness, and subconsciousness shape my life! Quantum physics, cool! I observe a particle, and it becomes a certain way, but if I don't observe it, it becomes something else. Where goes attention – flows energy. Now, I will direct my attention there, infuse it with a bunch of my energy, and something will transform!
So, all of this can be interpreted, it's just that our limbic brain is wired to find danger in everything. Humans have been surviving for many centuries, running from predators, fighting for life, and so on. Nowadays, we live in a relatively safe time, or at least in a safe place like the Netherlands, but we still run away. We suffer from bills from the tax office or encounters with past traumatic experiences because our bodies perceive these events as predators. And we fear, run away, and suffer in the same way that our ancestors did. Because our brain is accustomed to survival. But what if, as rational beings, we conclude that we don't want to just survive, we want to live differently, in another way? Through pleasure...? And how is that possible?
What are all religions about? You're a servant of God, mortal, kneel, subdue the flesh, now we'll burn you, and then you'll get to the kingdom of heaven... So, there is no skill to live through joy and ease, even though the Bible speaks of it as well: By your faith, it shall be done unto you, Love your neighbor as yourself... But still, people often focus on limitations: if you sin – judgment awaits, celibacy, you'll be fried at the stake! And so we already fry ourselves like french fries in advance :)
But is it possible to redirect, shift energy cognitively?
Yes, it is possible. It's a form of training. We're just too lazy to do it. Meditation is precisely about that. Let's take, for example, a meditation that suggests doing 10 inhales and 10 exhales without getting distracted. If you get distracted by any thought, you start over. This allows us to observe how difficult it is and how we struggle to let go of our attention. We don't even track such things in our daily lives. Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where, you know, we are walking along the path in the forest: everything is fine, la-la. And then we wake up and find ourselves zooming down the highway at full speed. And you ask yourself: How did I end up there? Why am I racing with all those cars?
We are so unaware of our reactions. I'm the same! Not enlightened, just a mortal human. But it's very interesting, and actually, – the more we start contemplating this, the more we catch ourselves on the highway and say, – No, brakes, that's it, I'm going back to the forest! mentally hopping back into the forest and continuing walking on the path, – the more grounded we become, returning to ourselves and redirecting attention. The highway here is an allegory of the neural connection that is formed within us. To break that connection, we need to constantly practice redirecting attention and returning to ourselves, and our bodies. I truly believe in this. And the practice depends on the individual. A person with a mathematical mindset may need to use visual cues, for example. A person with a creative mindset may need to come up with some kind of ritual. For example, every time I get caught up in destructive thoughts, I jump in place ten times. Returning to the body helps a lot. It's no coincidence that when animals experience stress, they start shaking. The same goes for the human body – you shake, jump, do push-ups, and say, – That's it, I don't want to think about this, I want to think about something else.
The body is incredibly helpful in immersing oneself in the here and now. Because the body lives in the here and now, it doesn't live in the future; it doesn't exist there yet. The shape in which the body exists now – only exists now. And you will never be younger than you are right now, and that's great to realize it.
Maria Domracheva is activist, curator, writer. Art history (BA) political philosophy (MA).