Archive for December, 2010

From Rainer Maria

Why don’t you think of him as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity, the one who will someday arrive, the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? What keeps you from projecting his birth into the ages that are coming into existence, and living your life as a painful and lovely day in the history of a great pregnancy? Don’t you see how everything that happens is again and again a beginning, and couldn’t it be His beginning, since, in itself, starting is always so beautiful? If he is the most perfect one, must not what is less perfect precede him, so that he can choose himself out of fullness and superabundance? – Must not he be the last one, so that he can include everything in himself, and what meaning would we have if he whom we are longing for has already existed?

As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start Him whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time.

Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?

- Rainer Maria Rilke,”Letters To A Young Poet” (Letter Six)

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12 2010

Reasons I am excited about working in my field

Art as Social Practice: Mapping New Relations Within The Social Interstice

[This is a recent research paper & is a foundational exploration in issues, theories, & history of art as social practice.]

In his 1998 essay, Relational Aesthetics Nicolas Bourriaud wrote about the theoretical concerns of a new form of contemporary art that addresses issues of the relational, that is, art that directly takes into its praxis particular socio-cultural concerns, and that situates itself out of the privatized spaces of the gallery and into the public sphere. Such a movement toward art as social practice shifts the understanding of art as object into one of encounter. In introducing the term relational aesthetics, Bourriaud wrote:

The possibility of a relational art (an art taking as its theoretical horizon the realm of human interactions and its social context, rather than the assertion of an independent and private symbolic space), points to a radical upheaval of the aesthetic, cultural, and political goals introduced by modern art. To sketch a sociology of this, this evolution stems essentially from the birth of a world-wide urban culture and from the extension of this city model to more or less all cultural phenomenon (14).

Bourriaud frames his treatise on this new possibility of art within a political and historical context, broadly tracing the origins of the modern political era to the Enlightenment period and then into the rise of modernity and the twentieth century avant-garde, specifically pointing to Dada, Surrealism, and the Situationists. Already within this brief passage, Bourriaud alludes to key factors, which not only organize and contextualize the world in which we in the capitalist West experience, but also the practices, production, and consumption of contemporary art – namely, economies, geographies, and socio-cultural divisions, specifically within an urban context. To trace this historical trajectory, we understand modern and contemporary artistic practices within a geopolitical context of conquest and power relations, wherein which the Enlightenment project of the 18th century and the anti-authoritarian avant-garde movements of the 20th century ultimately fell short of their emancipatory aims. Bourriaud writes, “Instead of culminating in a hoped-for emancipation, the advances of technologies and ‘Reason’ made it that much easier to exploit the South of planet earth, blindly replace human labor by machines, and set up more and more sophisticated subjugation techniques […]” (12).   Read the rest of this entry →

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12 2010

Han Circuit: prototype installation

Some photos for the first prototype of Han Circuit, a two-channel video installation.

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The background image was a landscape image of Yeonpyeong Island just after the recent North Korean bombing. Periodically, text ran across this image, which was taken from interviews with a North Korean defector and an elderly woman who had been separated from her son during the Korean War.

The main screen was divided into five smaller sections or panels, each a visual representation of Han and haan*: archival images of Koreans during the war, a dancer performing a traditional Buddhist dance called Seung-mu, and images of fire and water.

Viewer-participants sat in between the two projections.HanCircuit02

A live camera-feed inserted the viewer-participant’s image, also picking up the landscape image behind him, into the center frame of the main projection screen. Movements made by the viewer-participant also changed light intensities in the camera’s lens, which then effected the transparency and mixing of the images within the panels of the main screen.

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He could also listen to traditional Korean folk music via headphones, which helped to facilitate a more intimate experience.

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The feed from the camera was also on a delay that fed into the two side panels of the screen, so that when the viewer-participant left the installation, his image would slowly reappear and linger for a while.

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Han Circuit

Two-channel video | MiniDV | Color & Sound

Work in process

Han Circuit is a two-channel video installation that explores themes of the Korean psyche in socio-cultural and spiritual terms, as well as within the context of Korea’s modern history since the turn of the twentieth century until the present moment. There are two primary cultural forces which drive the content and form of this piece; the first being what is known as psychological han, a particular sentiment, or psycho-emotional state that is best understood as a cumulative process of suffering, longing, or resentment caused by extraneous forms of oppression. It connotes enduring hardships caused by forces outside of one’s own control, and can be especially understood within the context of Korea’s modern history, a narrative that includes colonization, civil war, and national division.

The second force at play is philosophical han. Though it shares similarity in spelling, philosophical han is distinctively different in that it is a philosophy indigenous to Korea that is concerned with the understanding and fostering of a harmonious relationship between man and the Universe. It is also an organizing factor in many forms of traditional music and dance. It is a philosophy that has existed since the very beginnings of civilization on the peninsula, and offers ways of understanding how to harmonize disparate or dissonant elements within the world. Kim Sang-Yil, a noted han scholar once stated that psychological han epitomizes the Korean psyche since national division, and philosophical han offers ways to understand how unification could be made possible.

This installation embodies the cyclical nature of psychological han while also adhering to elemental principles found within philosophical han. Cybernetic theory has offered a plentitude of possibilities in thinking about the conceptual and physical design of this piece. By understanding psychological han as a continuous pattern of generation, feedback, and regeneration, this installation has been designed as a closed circuit reactive piece, in which the viewer is also implicated into the circuit. Through this design I offer the viewer an intimate venue of experience for the understanding of the particularities and complexities of the Korean psyche.

21

12 2010

From the Global Oneness Project: Sraddhalu Ranade Complete Interview

Global Oneness Project website.

Bio
Sraddhalu Ranade is a scientist, educator and scholar at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram where he grew up in the care of the late Sri M. P. Pandit. He is presently involved in the production of video programs based on India’s cultural roots, and conducts teacher-training programs based on a soul-centered approach to education. He has conducted numerous intensive teacher-training workshops on Integral and value-based education all over India. Over 4,500 teachers from more than 200 schools and colleges have benefited from these programs. He has been involved in various research projects including artificial intelligence based on neural networks, multimedia search and retrieval, and educational tools. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on science and spirituality and lectures around the world on the yoga teachings of Sri Aurobindo.

Global Oneness: Living Oneness Study Guide

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12 2010