Text: Oliver Georgiou Images: Martin Bell
‘What you see is what you get’ can sometimes be applied in life to ease the pain of the thought that there is always more going on than we can comprehend. The depth of space, spirituality, cosmic karma, and communal energy are all things that baffle the best of us when seriously pondered for lengths of time. Armed with a compact digital camera, Melbourne-based artist Martin Bell is not afraid to do just that. Martin Bell has seen the light, or should I say the lights.
Orbs are the circular lights that appear from time to time in flash photography especially with compact digital cameras, often dismissed as air pollutants such as dust. Martin is not alone in believing otherwise. There is a belief that orbs are actually made up of plasma, too small to be seen by the naked eye, and are beaming energy back at you when photographed with a flash, therefore magnifying them and making them visible. This energy exists in the fourth dimension and is the final state of matter, a kind of energy in transit, a minute fabric binding life-force to life-force.
After pondering these ideas and doing his research, it became obvious to Martin that there is indeed more than meets the eye and he embarked on a quest that has bought his feet to the ground and also assisted in the fruition of his latest book From The Fourth Dimension. A quadruple paper burger-with-the-lot, bound together not only by glue and stitching but also by his new found friends, the orbs.
“The stuff that I subscribe to, I put at the start of the book. I had been reading a lot of stuff about communal consciousness and about how there is no such thing as coincidence. There are quite a few books on orbs, maybe about ten or something, and a lot of them talk about uncanny things where, for example, you might drop your camera and it might go off and you will get one. What are the chances of that? That is what a lot of Jungian stuff is about. The other thing I was looking into was the fourth dimension and traveling faster than time, quantum physics stuff, and reading a lot of Einstein stuff and watching a lot of videos, but I didn’t really make the psychological link. Then I read this book about Jung which mention how Einstein and Jung went on holiday and that Jung made these comments about how he thought that you could break down the cell so you could have the same effect as breaking down the atom which would mean you would go into the fourth dimension through meditation and getting your particles to split because we are all atoms and molecules. So if you could just Zen out to the point where you actually transcend the same as when people use Synchrotron and spin it around really quickly to split the atom, he had a theory that humans could evolve to the point where they could split themselves through Zenning out and do super hero stuff like go through walls or become liquid in the sea of energy. That idea just jumped out at me from the book.”
Oliver Georgiou: Is there an optimal place or time where you can capture orbs in photographs?
Martin Bell: Everybody has different theories but my theory initially was – if you read all the pop culture shit on the internet, it’s all like, ‘You’ve gotta go to grave sites and haunted houses’ – my theory was that, if they are communicating with you through your brain or whatever, that they will just be able to come to you. So I just used to take the same photos every night, exactly the same view out my window, and I’d get these amazing photos from really simple to tons of orbs, just built out of nothing – so you just take a photo of the sky and they will be nothing, a bit more, and a bit more, then they get to know you and they come back at exactly the same view point.
The subconscious is a powerful thing – guiding us, confusing us and attempting to enlighten us. Many believe that in the past or future, humans are or were capable of a lot more. Through meditation and evolution of enlightenment, people may be able to fly or talk without saying anything. Martin hypothesises that, indeed, people are well aware of the orbs and the power they possess.
If you look at a lot of contemporary architecture, like the underneath of bridges or the side of building facades, people are putting circles in tons of stuff. Sure, maybe the circle is a vogue shape, but it seems sort of weird to me. I think it’s in the forefront of everyone’s creative subconscious. How many clothing companies have circle logo prints, just big bland circles on the front of a t-shirt? It’s such a constant motif.
Looking into information online and talking with people about orbs myself, it is apparent that, not unlike religion or science or both mixed together, there are people who are quick to dismiss those who are curious and those whose lives have been changed profoundly.
Since I have found out about the orbs, even if it isn’t really real, it makes me feel so completely relaxed with everything and has given me faith in the bigger picture and the universe. I’m not so stressed out about stupid stuff, it has bought me general happiness. Recently, things seem to be going a lot shitter than they have ever gone before – but somehow I’m happier, that’s definitely a good thing. I don’t feel like a born again Christian or anything, like I’m not about to start preaching to everyone and trying to freak people out, I’m not going to argue this point at a dinner conversation. I’m just putting it out there to say, “Check this out”. If people say it is the stupidest thing they have heard in the whole world, I’m cool with that, I won’t even bother talking about it. It’s not my agenda.
The way I do the layout is I get like an idea for a layout concept in terms of the page format or a thematical thing, and then I do that for like 20 pages. Then I get another idea, like a page where I’m just going to put orbs everywhere. Because I laid out the book, I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, but sometimes I worried that I was going to kill the book with a certain aesthetic.
Throughout the book, Martin has included photos and drawings from many stages of his life dating back to his early childhood, in a way tying in the idea that time and space is completely relevant/irrelevant.
Publishing drawings that I did when I was ten or whatever, that I thought were dope at the time, is a way of giving gratitude to the kid I was then, now. I feel like I owed it to my daydreams as a kid. There are drawings and paintings in there from all different ages of me and they sit just as proudly next to a drawing I did last week, so what does that say about context and what’s valid and what’s not? A kid could put out a book tomorrow and dudes would probably write it off as one of those children that has just been pumped up or whatever, whereas when that same kid is 33 like me and he puts out a book and he puts his kid’s drawings in it, dudes would be looking at it seriously going, “Ah that’s sick!” It’s fascinating. In a way it’s like time travel in another sort of sense, isn’t it. I’m still that person.
OG: Have you taken any photos of the actual book and gotten orbs?
MB: Ha, no, not yet. I think that, if you were to be romantic about it, I would think that I was chosen to do it. Everyone has different skills. People will be like, that’s not real, or that dude is a tripper, or that’s so stupid or whatever, but in 20 years time we will know whether or not it is a kooky sort of Y2K phase where dudes were just tripping out on this stuff or are we gonna have something real? Think about the guy that discovered germs and said that people should wash their hands between delivering babies and doing autopsies. He was killed for being ridiculous. Germs are invisible things so people didn’t believe in them.
Martin Bell launched his new book From The Fourth Dimension at Melbourne’s Hell Gallery. An adventure, an insight and exploration into the barely known, sure to throw some people’s minds into complete disarray and to guide others into the circular shining light.
Check out and buy From The Fourth Dimension as well as other Martin Bell titles at his website.
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