10 day Vipassana retreat

Video still from installation 'Passing and Arising' A three screen installation comprising of 12 minute loops

In this project I collaborated with visual anthropologist Emma Parkinson to document a ten-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat. The project was as much about the collaboration and the meeting of our different practices as it was about how to document the intangible experience of the retreat. The project is also about endurance, during the retreat I had to abstain from all intoxicants, and be stripped of any possessions. All modes of communication, speech, touch; pens, paper and music were forbidden. Adherence to a strict frugal diet and regimented daily routine were also required. Parkinson and I want to observe the mind during self imposed restriction and removal of societal and temporal confines. We have looked to artist such as Cheng Tsieh who’s extreme acts of endurance involved year long actions such as being isolated in a small room and also Bill Viola who’s art practice is guided by Asian and European mysticism as well as his own spiritual practice. Viola aims to lead others towards better self-knowledge through his video work. Working with film, multi-screen projections and sound, Parkinson and I aim to overcome one-dimensional forms of presenting ethnographic research, the distorted interpretations created by insistence on objectivity and instead wish to engage the viewer in an immersive multi-sensory experience.