Kan観

A scenography and performance in collaboration with Lee Jian Long
Feb 2004 , Tokyo

photos of performance

photos of performance

This event was held in a basement exhibition space in Kodaira, Tokyo .

It is an installation that becomes performance space over five days with invited artists asked to give their own interpretations of ‘body in space’.

Steeply-embedded in the Buddhist philosophy of reflective meditation on self- KAN, the realization that what the eye beholds as real is not always true carries through the conception of the space.

A raw concrete column of 1m x 1m square base and 5m in height is covered on all four faces by scrolls of hand-written Buddhist scripture. Each scroll is treated differently, alternating between upright and mirror-image; with two written in Chinese Ink, one in salt, and one in light. This represents the different degrees of ascension towards “Enlightenment”.

The base of the column is flanked by four basins of water (measuring 1m x 1.5m x 0.2m). The ‘lotus petals’ at the foot of the column is completed with a ring of raked salt, representing a water ripple. Each ‘pool’ of water appearing as ‘black’ to the undiscerning eye, is actually dyed respectively, red, blue, yellow and black. The reflected scripture from all four scrolls reveal the true nature of KAN- alluding to the distrust of first impressions.

The opening performance was of two performers, clad in white robes, immersing and emerging from the pools of water for 10 minutes. With the ebbing of time, the robes expose the ‘true colours’ of the reflecting pools. As the raked salt ‘ripple’ is subject to ‘destructive interference’, the ‘invisible’ salt scripture is stained into existence then washed away.

The subsequent performances took place without ‘clean-up’ hence allowing the space to evolve over time.

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