I had a project as a little boy

In this film, which is based on the title screenshots of my films, I endeavour to contrast Peter and Sian harmony with today’s unnatural divide between science and philosophy:

I had a project as a tiny boy from omphalos

Music credit:
Sian said “oh Peter, you will like this, it is by John Grant and Guy Garvey”

Sian was right.

Hole Ousia


Hole Ousia is beyond measurement.

Lennox and Gotthelf, in “Philosophical Issues in Aristotle’s Biology”:

Hole Ousia described - from 'Philosophical issues in Aristotle's biology'

Hans-Georg Gadamer, in “The Enigma of Health” :Gadamer on Hole Ousia

In a poetic form by Peter J. Gordon:

Hole Ousia collage


“The untidy, sunken little plaque still visible on his abdomen”

Three years ago I decided to collect my films under the name “Omphalos”.

As a scientist I have generally found that through naming things we may feel that we can be (or hope to be) more ‘objective.’ This of course may not always be the case. As my medical career has demonstrated to me.

Omphalos 24 may 2014

      Omphalos carved by Peter into a dead tree stump

As an artist I find that I have to see beyond the scientific method to more fully value the subjective. I find as an artist that I do not always want to explain why I have named things. I also worry (perhaps too much) that in naming things we reduce the experience of ‘being in the world’ to a single word or very brief term.


The Black Mirror by Ray Tallis2

   This book is not really about death. It is about life.

So here I am not going to reveal the reasons why I chose to collect my films under the name “Omphalos”.

Omphalos 6 Aug 2015

Raymond Tallis, in his latest book, does explore, rather wonderfully the biological basis of omphalos. A basis, that when you stop to think about it, turns out to be so much more:

Tallis - Black Mirror (44)b

Baby Peter & his Mummy

              Peter held in his mother's arms

Tallis - Black Mirror (44)c

Omphalos films1

Tallis - Black Mirror (45)

Omphalos films2

A little tearful (and McCall Smith)

I was left a little tearful after Alexander McCall Smith contacted me this year to say that he was an admirer of my short films.


Why might I have been left a little tearful?

Well of course it is wonderful to be appreciated by an Internationally renowned writer like McCall Smith.

We also share family experience in Africa.

But my tearfulness, and here I can only explain what I feel, was my appreciation that McCall Smith portrays in his writings, that moments of being really do matter.

Alexander McCall Smith had a career in bio-ethics.

Some time ago I made a film about the varied responses to my short films. This followed a formal letter, from NHS Forth Valley expressing “concerns” about my “films”. It later came to light that the senior manager who wrote to me expressing concerns about my films had not watched a single film made by me.

More recently, the Executive Clinical Director of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, wrote to my employers, stating that “this individual resorts to making films”. [bolding is mine]

Make of this as you will. I am interested in all responses, but I would prefer if they come from those that have actually watched my films.

Responses from omphalos on Vimeo.