H E N G E   L A B





The project is being developed on Minister’s Hill in Bridgton, Maine. Henge Lab uses principles of ancient geometry to reveal a fundamental synchronicity which reappears, not only in the external environment of Nature’s systems and structures, but also in features of human awareness. The project is rooted in the idea that patterns arising from the innate mechanisms of meaningful perception were unintentionally replicated in the signs of language and the modeling of information. The organizing principles underlying these patterns are found both in Nature and in the earliest artifacts of the emergence of the symbolic mind.


Scale model of Henge Lab’s circular configuration of stones. The project is based on a henge of 26 stones. The stones illustrate the relative location of the 26 letter-points of a circular alphabetic configuration which is used to produce ‘word-generated imagery’ (see below). This same configuration of 26 stones also aligns with celestial events occurring at the site.


The word-generated forms are produced using a rigorous process. The letters of the Roman Alphabet are treated as a circular configuration of 26 letter-points (illustrated by the 26 stones of the henge). The design of the alphabetic configuration is based on a symmetry of vowels. When lines are inscribed which interconnect the letter-points according to the spelling of words, abstract forms are produced.


Lexicon from a 2017 work titled “TRACED” which illustrates a statement of ‘word-generated forms’ (spelled-forms). All variations in form result entirely from spelling because the configuration of alphabetic points is fixed or constant. The unique spacing of the alphabetic points is based on a symmetry of vowels (see lower left of image)


In Henge Lab, the stones are not only positioned at the exact location of the 26 letter-points of the alphabetic matrix, those same 26 stones also align with celestial events at the site (on Minister’s Hill in Bridgton, Maine). The GPS graphic below illustrates how, on the day of the Summer Solstice, the relative positions of the stones (shown using an enlarged alphabetic configuration) also mark the exact direction of sunrise (point ‘H’ on the green line) and Sunset (point B on the red line). Point R’ on the yellow line shows the South to North azimuth at Solar Noon on the Solstice—the sun’s rays will be traveling North, focused directly at the zero/360 degree point (point ‘E’) at Solar Noon. The stones also align to celestial events in the night sky. This type of alignment between the relational foundation of our innate or intuitive patterning of symbolic phenomena and the timing of celestial events supports Carl Jung’s idea of universal ‘Synchronicity.’




An illustration of the location of the henge using Google Earth images of the site on Ministers Hill in Maine.


Mock-up of an alphabetic henge positioned at the site on Ministers Hill


The Idea for Henge Lab Evolved from Previous Works in an Ongoing Exploration:


Image from a 1989 installation titled “ILLUMINATIONS” (Curious Visions, New York) Slides of standing stones are projected on a circular arrangement of aligned paper-screens of gouache-painted ‘word-images’ (the stones were photographed earlier that year at various Megalithic sites in the Brittany Region of France).


Several works involving standing stones were developed using photographs taken at actual Megalithic sites. Past works based on linear alignments of stones and circular henges are part of an ongoing exploration of structural relationships between: language, symbolic phenomena, and the mechanisms of perception. Early artifacts of the emergence of the symbolic mind have a design which is similar to the intuitively formulated patterns underlying the signs of language.

In the early 80’s, the exploration focused solely on the imagery and implications of word-generated forms (spelled-forms) but it gradually expanded to include a variety of symbolic phenomena. The word-generated forms, which reveal an unexpected patterning in the letter-sequencing of the spelling of words, are still the primary focus.


The spelled-form of the word ‘CURLED’ is shown with a shell-bead adornment which is over 100,000 years old (the bead’s discovery indicates that modern language is much older than previously thought—adornments are evidence of culture, culture requires language). The spelled-form of the word ‘EDGE’ is shown with a stone axe and its edge-detail. (From “The Book Book of Spells” 2014: Special Collections, Haas Art Library, Yale University)


Details of “SUBTEXT” (an outdoor installation at Havemeyer Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn presented by Tipi Project, May-September, 2014). The work explores connections between modern language and early artifacts of the emergence of the symbolic mind. The installation is comprised of engraved stones, shell-beads, earth pigments and outdoor signage illustrating the mapping of the word-generated forms.


Many historical illustrations of basic concepts are modeled on circular arrangements of points. The hour and minute markings on the face of a clock and the directional markings on the dial of a compass illustrate our perception of time and space (these and other concepts depicted using circular forms are explored in relation to thought and language in the book, Extreme Measures 1989). A henge is fundamentally a monumental circle of points aligned to astronomical events. A Megalithic circle of stones is an archetypal depiction of how the patterning of human awareness is inherently synchronized with the patterning of the physical universe. A gallery installation which used stones to represent the letter-points of the alphabetic configuration was presented in 2006 (image below).


“ALIGNMENTS” 2006, detail of an Installation at Galeria AT, Academy of Fine Art, Poznan, Poland (the spelled-form of the word ‘IDEA,’ which is the same in Polish and English, was inscribed in the circle of alphabetic stones)


See ‘Project Update’ Page for current info on the progression of the project.


Henge Lab represents the culmination of a lifelong (37 year) exploration of the patterning of the signs and systems of human communication, and their relationship to various phenomena of Nature which employ these same principles of patterning. For more information, visit: MichaelWinklerArt.com and read the articles, “Poetry of Zebras”“New discoveries should reopen the discussion of signs”

Biographical Information