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Department of Psychology

A new book by the Department's Artist in Residence, Clive Wilkins, is published on 22nd December 2014. Count Zapik is one in a series of four books, which form the Moustachio Quartet. The books of the Quartet may be read in any order; this is an intentional exploration of memory.

Count Zapik is published by Wind on the Wire. The other three parts of the Quartet are coming soon.


From the Foreword:

"The series of books comprising The Moustachio Quartet happened by accident.

They should never have appeared, since the author is, by trade and training, a fine art painter. This may explain the visual nature of the writing and the apparent attention to small detail in the narrative. The notion that a lifetime of ideas in one medium could be transferred into another, and the accompanying conjecture of what the effect might be, is an interesting one.

Writing, like music and dance, unfolds in time, and through space~ ideas are encouraged to move and develop layers in a way that painting or sculpture is rarely perceived to do. This is the distinct advantage of the form, and why one painter needed to change horses mid-race.

The scene setting can be precise in a visual image or object. It speaks of a fixed time and place, and is resonant by demanding the viewer sees the complexity and power in that one moment~ the subsequent analysis of detail can be in depth, such worlds existing as a kind of phenomenology~ but such intensity is invariably too great, maybe too much. How long do most people look at a static artwork before moving on? The initial wonder, for many viewers, quickly alters and progresses to conjecture what went before, or what might be coming next. It too often becomes the internalising of an external experience within the existing canon of the spectator’s personal history, becoming read as part of an unfolding story that needs to be recognised as having continuity and fixed logic. It becomes altered to no longer be what it is, but instead says more of what we programme ourselves to willingly see, both individually and collectively. It’s what we naturally do as part of living, and is how our cognitive processes respond. Much of our success on the planet, to date, has been afforded by virtue of our ability to engage in such mental time travel and the holistic analysis of changing perspectives, but always on our own terms, a gift that appears to be virtually unique to our species. Indeed it has been said~ imagination is the door to identity.

Imagine paintings that move, where symbols, metaphors and ideas slide, morph and change form during the course of the narrative, with the aim of questioning how we think, with the intention of revealing the unseen.

The psychological questioning of realities and consciousness, amidst the ‘miasma of being’ and the questioning of the ‘subjective experience of thinking’, brought this work to the attention of the Dept. of Psychology at Cambridge University, and Prof. Nicky Clayton in particular. This resulted in key sections from the books being used in university lectures in the United Kingdom, in Europe and in America, as part of an arts/science collaboration, entitled ‘The Captured Thought’.

The themes are multifarious and could be discussed endlessly, but not by the author, at least not outside of a lecture environment, since, in truth, the document that is The Moustachio Quartet should be testament enough to the ideas it conceals~ this is to become its measure for success. Each book works individually and is a world unto itself, although the true measure of what is being explored and investigated, in Warcapest and beyond, is only fully revealed when the action and incidents across the entire series is collated. "

Clive Wilkins