“It’s time to freaking get galactic here.”
So says Michael Chichi, designer, blogger, and founder of the popular art website Synaptic Stimuli. He’s talking about the importance of being open-minded, sharing, and communicating, and doing so not just on a global level, but an interstellar one.
We’re at the end of an hour-long interview, and we’ve discussed art, the internet, connectivity, curation, expression, contact with other star systems, communication with non-human entities, and consciousness. Chichi is the kind of thinker that harvests ideas and influences from all of his diverse experiences; you’re never quite sure where he’s going to go next. It’s that unpredictable synthesis that makes his curated websites so interesting and compelling.
An example of Synaptic Stimuli's aesthetic.
“Art has always been instrumental throughout our history as a way to instill vision in people," according to Chichi, who adds that art also allows people "to be visionaries themselves.”
Synaptic Stimuli, one of Chichi's more popular art websites, typically features a collection of images that are bound with a concise, and often abstract, line of text that's crafted by ChiChi. For example, the words, “Enlightenment is neither a goal nor a destination. It’s a process of awakening to one’s inner light,” hang over a collection of light sculptures by Olafur Eliasson, whose work is regularly featured on the site.
Synaptic Stimuli is an offshoot of a concept Chichi perfected a decade ago while working with Space Collective, a website billed as a place, “where forward thinking terrestrials exchange ideas and information about the state of the species, the planet, and the universe, living the lives of science fiction today.” By pairing a striking photo or piece of art with a few lines of text, Chichi found that he was able to add his response to the images without overanalyzing them. People so liked what he was doing that he decided to launch a blog dedicated to the approach.
One of his most recent posts featured a collection of photographs decorated in ink by Alana Dee Haynes, which he titled “Remix, redesign and refashion your reality.” It’s a phenomenally engaging series of drawings that play with the boundary between the organic and the commercial, a story told by the strength and cadence of Haynes' inky lines.
From Alana Dee Haynes' Tumblr.
“I’m very particular about how I frame the art,” Chichi says. “That idea of distilling it down to one or two sentences ... creates, to me, this other thing, this gestalt of this combination of pieces.” In addition to serving as as a platform for sharing art and an archive, this curated collection of art has ultimately become its own creative entity.
“We’re always curating,” Chichi says. “Blogs are just another way to have a more public expression of that to the world, which is amazing."
Synaptic is a spare site that is utterly and completely devoted to the power of artwork to inspire. Scrolling through it is like jumping into a pool of cool water, over and over. The art is always bright and invigorating, lighting up lots of nerve endings.
Chichi says that Synaptic Stimuli, “helps communicate the possibilities and the interconnectedness of all things, and the idea of living in the future, and what that can be like, and what our potential is as creative inhabitants of this planet.” He finds that, " art, certain types of art, especially, can help to activate that potential in us.”
It’s impossible to separate Chichi’s creative output from his personal beliefs, especially as they relate to what might be termed the supernatural. The main purpose of his blogs is to open lines of communication, a goal that is informed by Chichi's belief that people should be open and communicative with "galactic entities."
According to Chichi, such contact happens primarily at the level of consciousness, not speech; that’s part of why the visual arts are so important to his work. Full consciousness, Chichi assured me, is a level which everyone can access, once they learn how. Learning where and how to access such awareness is an ongoing endeavor, he says.
“The more you look and the more complex it gets, the more you see. That’s what’s so exciting to me. I’m not looking for an endgame here, to me it’s about the process,” says Chichi. “If we find out it’s a very populated universe, that changes the paradigm of everything.”
As a viewer, you don't have to agree with Chichi’s beliefs in interconnectivity and extraterrestrials to appreciate the quality of the art he features. Almost every artist on the site has a singular and remarkable vision and clarity of expression, and their vitality lends the site its distinctive tone.
Synaptic Stimuli isn't just a website, but an expressive, engaging, and sometimes revelatory digital contemporary art gallery. If we are lucky enough to have Chichi as an intergalactic artistic ambassador, so much the better for us.