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on rituals: in the beginning, there was constellate…

11/08/09

like drew, i’ve been meditating on, well, meditation. on prayer. on rituals. on prescribed gestures. constellate was the first foray for reclamation in these realms. the illustration of commitment and devotion through representative acts. generally, simple, repetitive acts. prostration. palms pressed together. the bowing of a head. chants. hymns. breaking of bread. lighting of candles. lighting of incense. what does this do, what does it mean, how does it achieve what it’s supposed to do? what is the meaning of the gesture? or the proper gesture? of the improper gesture? in the art context, it seems purely performative, a strange thing, but look outside of “performance art” and it’s everywhere. uncomfortable, almost embarrassing at first, but then empowering, comforting, and at times even necessary once familiarized.

to further explore, understand these questions, am interested in creating a “constellate” for each of the reclamation spaces. specifically, gestures that can be performed by one person or several together, that break the regular axes in space and ask that individuals personify forms in space related to the theme of the exhibition space. meaning, for example, with constellate, we asked individuals to create constellations with their bodies (“create heavenly bodies with your earthly bodies”). with aquarium, i’m imagining along similar lines, we ask individuals to create river formations with their bodies (maybe call it “topography” pronounced “tO pah gra fi ee” or “branch” as rivers branch..) both of these are similar in that they offer individuals to groups to meditate and consider natural forms which modernity is increasingly removing us from,  informs them/us of factual information of these bodies (the names, formation, and existence of stars and rivers, respectively), are simple in execution, and offer individuals room for interpretation of the instructions. in this last way, it differs from rituals in other religions/belief systems that are extremely specific; in this last way, the “belief system” of reclamation continues to spread a message of social engagement that celebrates individuality (something that many i have encountered believe to be an impossible and contradictory notion).

edwina and all who are still confused about what “constellate” is, i will post more on that sooner rather than later. apologies in my delay, but have been trying to figure out the best method to document constellate so that it can continue to have a life of its own in an organized, intuitive fashion without totally glutting the blog.

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