Monday, January 28, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

 For a snack we made spinach tacos, using the leaf like the Japanese use nori. This is how I got them to eat spinach!

 What was beautiful today?

My three-and-a-half year old niece asked if she could draw me on the couch. She looked up at my face, then down at her etch-a-sketch, made two little dots and said, “These are your eyes.” She continued to place a nose, ear, hair, and an oval for a head all around the picture plane, balancing the composition with a long vertical line she called my mouth. I asked if she wanted to practice drawing and looking at the same time. “Ok,” she said without hesitation. She stared into my eyes while making a little squiggly line, looked down at it pleased and said, “That is your face.”
And it was!

What was beautiful today?
Before we eat the soup my dad made for us, we put our hands together and thank everyone involved. I call out a certain entity and say Thank You! and the kids echo just like when we sing. “Thank you, farmer. Thank you, mr. pig. Thank you, truck driver. Thank you, sunshine. Thank you, rain. Thank you, mommy. Thank you, daddy.” The kids repeat each phrase in whatever tone I set. I ask, is there anyone else? “Ba!” Margot says. “Thank you, Ba! Thank you, Da.” I say, “That was good. Now we can eat!” I am about to put my first bite into my mouth when David interrupts. “Wait,” he says. “Thank you, uncle David.”

What was beautiful today?
While getting ready for bed, my niece asked if I would help her put on her shirt; “I can’t do it by myself.” I replied, “I will, but you start and I’ll help you finish.” So she put her arms through the holes, lifted her hands above her head, then suddenly grabbed the shirt and pulled down in just the right place to push her big head through the tiny neck. I looked at her in amazement, and suddenly she burst into laughter. “I did it! I did it!” We both hugged and laughed in love.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Principle of Correspondence

Each painting in my show intends to be a body-landscape/micro-macro/above-below "remix," heavily influenced by 19th century American Landscape Painters (realism, luminism, and tonalism). I'm also thinking a lot about body-lanscape "entanglement" (Hodder, Tilley, Merleau-Ponty, Abram (who is also a slight-of-hand magician!)), origin myths, horizons, clouds of unknowing, and body theology. I love the mystical truism that "God lives in you as you," which is a mashup of 1 Corinthians 3:16 , the hermetic axiom "As above, so below," and some New Age American Buddhist thought.   

When Bird and the tulku Yondenzan visited Lawrence last month, we went to the medicine wheel, gave incense offerings from Yondenzan's monastery in Tibet, and prayed "the long-life prayer of the Dalai Lama", who signifies the Supreme Wish. "May All Powerful Chenrizig remain until samsara ends."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Contemporary Japanese Art

 Butoh: The Dance of Darkness 

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Jung

I just did a lecture for the University of Reddit about some Contemporary Japanese Art. I started my narrative with the Japanese post-bomb "silent scream" that found expression in Butoh dance emerging from  Hiroshima in the late 50s. Both male and female butoh dancers would typically strip naked, cover their bodies in white body paint, and move in a hauntingly slow pace with their faces contorted into terrifyingly living masks. The first famous Butoh dance performed in 1959 was inspired by Yukio Mishima's first novel "Forbidden Colors" (the Oscar Wilde of Japan?) and concluded with founder Kazuo Ono's 12 year old son Yoshito (with whom in 2006 I got to briefly study!) simulating sex with a chicken and running off stage. From that context I then introduced five popular contemporary visual artists working and thriving in Japan: Takashi Murakami, Aida Makoto, Tenmyouya Hisashi, Yayoi Kusama, and Konoike Tomoko. Whatever these artists are doing, it must be resonating with something true in the Japanese psyche because the Japanese people love them. The hour-long lecture is on youtube, but I'll give you a shorter version here later.

Where is his memory stored?

I don't even know what to believe when people can survive with no brain and even thrive in some cases. There is that psychologically healthy man with hydrocephalus who didn't even know he had no brain and graduated with a mathematics degree and 126 IQ, the only default being that had a slightly larger-than-normal scull!. Some researcher noticed this and asked to take a look and found that this kid's head was empty, or, well, it was full of spinal fluid, but no brain. He did have a kind of brain though; the thin, millimeter of brain-cell film inside his scull, the neuro-network and bacteria of his body, and the “extended mind” of our material culture, or course. The complex network of perception was there, and I guess that alternative brain, along with the reptilian brain stem regulating his heart beat and what not, were enough of a base for mind, by God. Hell, they were plenty of base considering how smart he was! Maybe the normal, fatty brain is just spinal fluid in jelly form, lol. Elliot says this guy’s brain literally melted. Eric says "see?, our thoughts DO exist inside water." So obviously all our brainwaves (and image sustaining brainwave synchrony) exist regardless of the specific nature of their material base. Maybe any fatty fluid will work. But WHERE are his memories stored again? Anyone? They can’t just come from our material things aka exograms, (albeit material things, like cookies, do evoke their creative, synesthetic emergence). The interior, non-locatable “engrams” also exist, according to neuropsychologists, and maybe Sheldrake and the Buddhist mythologies got it right and there are subtle material fields of thought, intention, memory, energy, and even bodies that exist within but also beyond the physical fate of the gross material body. Maybe this alleged “astral body,” who we are when we dream at night, is what transmigrates at death, Idk. The Buddhists make it clear that even in the “reincarnation” reality there is no permanent “self” that lives on but rather there is a strong intention, or motivating wish that lives on like a ripple and even if parts of our personality are tied to that “indestructible drop,” the personal memories about who I am “dies with the brain-body.” anyone else thinking about this kind of stuff?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's official

My final thesis show opens Sunday, February 24th at the Art and Design building gallery at KU. Please come the opening Sunday from 2-4 if you can!!!

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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