Corey deVos needs no introduction to members of Integral Life. He has been Editor-In-Chief of the platform since its inception in 2003, creating an extraordinary series of interviews with Ken Wilber, and curating the amazing wealth of content that has appeared on the platform over 20 years.
Corey and Steve start out talking a bit about the world premiere of Steve’s major choral expression of Integral, ‘Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio’, which took place on 14th May 2022. The high-quality film of the full concert, which met with a rapturous response, is now available to view on Integral Life. A must-see for anyone into Integral music.
Corey carves his Integral art in beautiful exotic woods, with designs created digitally and carved by computer-driven tools. He describes how a synchronistic combination of states and ‘structures’ led him to discover his affinity with this artform, which was also a confluence of many of Corey’s existing passions (including being inspired by the Japanese art of Shou Sugi Ban – charring wood by burning it). His story is a beautiful example of how an artist’s search for wholeness and happiness leads them to an artistic expression which is unique to their particular life journey. Corey talks about how this artform is an integration of a number of historic technologies, ranging from agrarian to industrial to informational.
Pieces we discuss in this episode:
Want a piece of your own? Contact Corey at [email protected] to set up a commission!
Corey then talks about his latest creation, ‘Fourth Turning Dharma Wheel’, a beautiful three-dimensional mandala representing the ‘fourth turning’ of Buddhism, with symbols representing the four Quadrants (and, indeed, the eight ‘zones’ of Integral Methodological Pluralism).
Steve draws parallels with Corey’s process of creating his pieces with his own process of composing the Blue Pearl oratorio, from an initial idea that appears in the mind, to using computer programmes to turn that idea into a specific form or ‘design’, and then making that design materially manifest – in Corey’s case needing knowledge of the particular features of each wood; in Steve’s case, needing knowledge of the particular features of each instrument in the choir and orchestra.
Corey talks about his other passion in the arts – music: how it helped him develop emotionally, and his DJ compilations of different tracks into an integral whole. He talks about how music is somehow harder to talk about than most other (visual) artforms, such as film. They also talk about how and why there has been very little classical music in the Integral world compared to other musical genres.
Corey goes on to talk through his ‘Quadrant series’ – a series of stunning depictions of the ‘AQAL’ diagram (Quadrants and Levels) that has changed so many lives, and how the making of these pieces has been a part of the process over many years of deepening his interior experience of the quadrants.
Corey compares music to visual art, and explains how, for him, music has a particular power in the way that it bypasses the conceptual mind and leads you directly into altered states, with simultaneously both a transcendent and a directly immanent quality; whereas extracting the meaning from a painting takes some time. He reads a beautiful quote about music from Walter Savage Landor:
Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.
Corey explains how he hopes his carvings will impact the viewer, and his process of customising each piece for a particular person. And then they go on to discuss a question about Integral art in general: can you tell that a work of art is Integral just by looking at it, or hearing it? They talk about the ‘emergent’ feature of the evolving Kosmos which is so central to an Integral approach, and how therefore Integral art is likely to emerge in ever evolving forms. And how seeking out only art that is Integral may be missing the point, when an Integrally-informed viewer can ‘enact’ any art Integrally. They end with a brief look at some miscellaneous pieces Corey has made and Corey talks about where he sees his art going from here.
You can find some of Corey’s music mixes here:
“In recent years, much of my creativity has been focused around my woodworking. It has become an all-consuming passion for me, and over the last year or so I have created a number of custom-designed carvings that try to bring integral ideas and iconography out of the abstract and into solid material form.”
The world premiere of Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio, composed by Steve Banks and performed on 14th May 2022, at St Giles’ Cripplegate, London. Blue Pearl is an ground-breaking new oratorio for choir, four solo singers and orchestra. It is inspired by the writing of American mystical philosopher, Ken Wilber, and his Integral vision.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.
About Stephen Banks
Steve is deeply immersed in Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral’ theory and has presented at the Integral European Conference. In 2013 Steve set out to compose a large-scale choral work giving expression to the Integral view of humanity and our place in the Kosmos. The result is ‘Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio’, a ground-breaking, inspirational work which will have its world premiere on 14.5.22 in London and streamed online live and on demand. Ken Wilber has described the oratorio as a ‘A superb, exhilarating, magical piece of music.’ You can listen to a demo recording of Blue Pearl, and read more about it, at Steve’s website, www.stevebanks.info. As a violinist, drummer and singer, Steve has performed classical, folk, and world music with ensembles as diverse as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Carnival Band. He has been writing and arranging songs for 30 years. Alongside music, the other main stream of Steve’s life has been a rich and varied journey of psycho-spiritual healing and exploration. This included training as a Psychosynthesis counsellor, which he went on to apply in leadership development. He has been practicing meditation in the Buddhist tradition for many years.