The majority of my work explores how seemingly independent phenomena are, upon
analysis, actually interdependent with their environments. Such interdependence may be
understood in terms of the Buddhist notion of emptiness, which holds that no object, physical or
mental, exists in isolation from the rest of reality. For example, humans often think of themselves
as embodied individuals that act separately from their surroundings and other people. However,
when people examine even the most basic unit of the individual self-the human body-they
find it composed entirely of "non-self" physical elements (e.g., parents' genetic material, food,
and water that all, ultimately, originate from ancient stellar explosions), which are in continual
exchange with the environment and with others (e.g., through genetic transmission, eating,
respiration, immunological processes, etc.). Similarly, human mental structures and processes,
including languages, ideas, memories, and preferences, all emerge fiom our interactions with
other individuals and society. Even when alone, the imprints of these interactions drive our
mental processes. Such a view of interdependence and emergence has gained widespread
contemporary support in the fields of complexity theory, social psychology, and network theory.
"Wisdom tells me I am nothing; love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows."
--From I am That, Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Sometimes we spontaneously feel love - through the kind words of someone else, a smile, or admiration for
someone's selfless actions. How can we cultivate such thoughts deliberately and consistently? Buddhists
meditate in order to attain these states reliably. Meditation's not for everyone. This installation is an attempt
to turn a meditative thought process into a projected reality embodying the Buddhist notion of spontaneous
I will create two interactive narrative video works comprised of large projections that react to and interact
with viewers. Each work presents a silhouette narrative of a prominent Christian Scientist. The first work
concerns the events surrounding Mary Baker Eddy's discovering and founding Christian Science in the
1860s. The second presents moments in the life of the American surrealist and Christian Science
practitioner Joseph Cornell between 1930 and 1950. The Christian Science faith is best known for it's
belief in the power of the mind, and the mind's ability to heal the body of illness - a belief that echoes the
ideas of interdependence, emergence and emptiness, that inform my work.
Both pieces will be synthetically constructed narratives. The projected imagery will be silhouette
performances in the tradition of 19th century magic lantern and shadow theatre. These performances,
however, will be algorithmically generated, so that their specific actions and movements are always
slightly different. These movements will be rooted in live recordings made on a soundstage and in
animations, but will primarily exist as computer models.
Viewers will interact with a work when they walk between a projector and a projection on the screen.
Viewers' own shadows will instantly become an integral part of the projected scene. They will feel an
immediate sense of presence at a phenomenal level, through the reaction of snow, rain, and scenery to
their shadows. Their movements and actions will also have a narrative effect, advancing each work from
scene-to-scene in ways that reflect viewers' physical behavior.
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