Ten years ago, artist Marta Salas-Porras, discovered the astonishing achievement in the three volumes of research of American art historian Carl Schuster and anthropologist Ted Carpenter. Appreciating the brilliant work of these two men and how “patterns connect”, it changed her way of looking at how humans are culturally connected on this planet. Salas-Porras’ investigations have led her to understand how ancient and tribal patterns and symbols – a visual language of our human past – are linked with present technologies, and ways that we can once again connect to our genealogy. This is a legacy that has been lost or forgotten; the visual DNA of our cultural genome. The Patterns Project explores the deep significance of Schuster and Carpenters’ rigorous investigations on these patterns seen around the world, their critical importance to society, and how they connect us to our past as it slips away.
The impermanence and transient nature of information today, with daily visual bombardments of media that we consume highlights the importance of this work. Bringing this work to the public allows for us to understand how we are all connected through a visual language. The importance of this Patterns Project lies in our education of, and understanding that, within our biosphere is our ethnosphere, which connects us to our own personal legacy and that of our collected humanity through ancient and present patterns. From Paleolithic markings, labyrinths, genealogy, all the way to patterns in DNA, we can learn about our connected selves on this planet. Salas-Porras is interested in telling this story using the multiple art mediums she’s been working with for over 30 years. This is a fascinating and rich story that can be exhibited through multi-media visualizations with a sensorial experience and that can be shared with large audiences. Salas-Porras draws from the vast archives of Carl Schuster’s prolific work, including 200,000 photographs, 80,000 negatives and 25,000 pages of personal correspondence from his investigations. Along with the archives are the interpretations, scholarship and dedication of Ted Carpenter expressed in three volumes and eleven stunning books that spanned over ten years of work.
Both of these brilliant men will serve as inspirational Directors, guides and experts for the Patterns Project, in memoriam, as we create the continuum of this exceptional visual exploration and discovery into the next decade of the Patterns that Connect.