Last week, on the Autumnal Equinox, I led this immersive installation as part of my final graduate presentation at Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington.
The 45-minute event was meant to share aspects of my art practice and research process experientially. I was given a small room within which to set the environment: about 50 beautiful stones from the shores of the port, a winding and tangled red thread and two altars set between two sets of two opposite-facing chairs. Each of the altars held a bowl of sea water and a large silver spoon.
I used a loop pedal and guitar to accompany the voiced-soundscape, (a Voicing) for the 3-part contemplative practice, which included excerpts from my memoir/portfolio on creative process, esoteric & contemplative approaches to the arts, improvisation and the mysteries of reverb.
In the first part of the practice, upon the sound of a bell, participants entered the room and began to wander amidst the stones and red thread scattered on the floor. The thread was an indicator of boundaries and edges: their subjective nature, their malleability, the point-of-perspective that shifts according to where one chooses to stand. The invitation was to aquaint oneself with an attractive stone–to feel its contour, colors and weight–and to call to mind a burden wishing for release. The second invitation was to take a seat opposite one of the bowls, wait for someone to arrive in the seat opposite, approach the bowl as a pair and then, one at a time, to bathe each-other’s stone and exchange them with the intent that the other be liberated from their burden. At the concluding bell, participants were invited to let the stone find itself a home. Many stones returned to the Salish Sea under a milky full moon the following night, some found new resting places in Montana and Oregon, Denver, Massachusettes, California, New York….