‘Now, and the Mind Tears’, immersive installation at Agency Agency, Nicholas Building, Melbourne

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Now, and The Mind Tears

you walk down the street 
youve stared too long at nothing
something steps your miss
you are where?

An installation exploring the existential quandary of the city-dweller, inquiring into apathy and conscious renunciation as a response to the chaos of contemporary life.

This work intersperses writing from the Hindu scripture known as the Avadhut Gita (Song of the Freewith reflections written by the Artist.

The Avadhut Gita is poetic scripture based on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta (non-duality), which posits that the individual soul is comparable to the highest metaphysical reality.


‘Nectarean’

Of Nectar; ‘life-giving drink of the Gods’

Compound of
     ‘Nek’- coming from “death” (necro), and
‘tar’- coming from ‘tere’ to cross over, pass through or overcome:

– that which overcomes death

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

I present this work as my first public installation, inquiring into how the themes of poetic verse can be communicated through immersive and experiential means.

You are invite to enter this work and make your way through to the centre, reading as much or as little of the text as you would prefer.

I am curious about the potentiality for non-traditional readings to communicate new messages and would love to know about your experiences should you wish to share them. Please find some pages for you to leave your thoughts at the back of the room on the ledge.
 

About the Avadhut Gita:

The Avadhut Gita is believed to have been anonymously written during the 9th or 10th Century BC. Later accreditations to the author as ‘Sri Dattatreya’ have been proffered, but historians cannot validate this character. The poetic translation used in this work comes from Swami Abhayananda.

“Throughout history, it has been the contention of the mystics of all cultural traditions that the “vision of God” reveals man’s essential oneness with Absolute Being, awakening him to his true, eternal Identity. Prior to such divine illumination, say these mystics, man suffers under the mistaken illusion that he is a limited and finite being, separate and distinct from other beings, who possesses his own individual identity.”

The Artist and Agency Agency would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

We note that this performance takes place on land that was appropriated violently and against the will of the First Australians. We also acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded and the Australian Government continues to systematically persecute and abuse Aboriginal people in Australia.

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THE STUDIO: AGENCY AGENCY
Agency Agency exists as a place of space for provocateurs of the unconscious. Double-agents of agency Dario Vacirca, Nick Roux, Nithya Iyer and Ching Ching Ho operate in service of the proverbial people, creating and facilitating critical media, reflections and manipulations for individual and mass de-sedation. Agency Agency can assist with locating one’s agency, ensuring all holes in the matrix are quickly exacerbated, and calculated ruptures to modus operandi are executed. “On-world” services include experimental performance and arts-inquiry, intercultural theatre arts translation, sound and video design, critical writing, research and scholarship, and all other forms of creating. For more information, insert message through the space-time continuum here, or alternatively phone/email as follows.

 

 

 

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Discourses on God V

 

If God was your mother, could they ever unlove you? If God gave you birth, could they ever wish you away?

Whence you step out of their lines, when you fail to do as they please, would God ever smite you so you were forbidden to exist? Could God ever hate you away?

If God couldn’t understand the words that you spoke, couldn’t understand the clothes that you wore; if God couldn’t find beauty in your poetry, does that mean your poetry does not speak of God? Does that mean that your poetry is not for them to read? Does that mean that God fails to be themselves?

Enraged, poisoned, blinded, devastated, sorrowed, broken by their sight: perhaps God is only muted when such separation occurs. Lost in the mire of maya that engulfs us to believe that the material, the dogmatic, the rules and order, the lineage, the blood, the story, is what makes you a valid child of God. Perhaps in such moments, they are simply suspended by this disruption of etheric connection so much so that they cannot see that you are still their own, in different form, in different word, in different step.

If such a God were lost in their own soul, what a journey to find their way home. If you were the child of God and thought yourself unloved, what a journey to find your way back to love. If God were born to God and could not see it as such, what a journey to realize the other, what a battle through the forces of the mind to victor as such.

For you are no ones child but for God. Your flesh and bones borrowed from dust and earth, your blood born of rivers that begin before time. You are no ones pure being, you are no ones corruption: you are whole and complete in and unto yourself, to God. Given forth through the mystery and pain to traverse into this world through another of its own. Placed with the challenge of sewing the webs of uncertainty until you find your way home, to each other, to the world, and to yourself.

And where you are placed to reject your flesh, to question your being, to face the tragedy of a self unloved, you are simply placed with a pathway back to God. In every breath that is caught in your anxious heart, that turns your stomach in the muck of guilt and shame, that smallens your voice into a child that has wronged, your responsibility is to exhale, and inhale, and exhale, and inhale, again and again, until you find your way back to the eternal love within you that is God. To be disciplined in your ego’s watch, and be firm of hand against the indulgences of destruction. To be of unwavering faith in this service, until your compass points to love. The love that bars no one. The loves that spans out across the sky and believes hate to be no more than a passing cloud. The love that is the peace at the end of a storm’s wreckage. The love that meets you unchanged in every morning’s sun.

If God were your mother, if God were your father, they could not unlove you away. It is not their right, nor their ability in the heart. For love is the bond between us that makes us its children, and each others kin, unwaveringly, irrefutably, inextricably. Through time and space, severing the curses of word and the blackened visions of mind, the resonance of love pulses, an echo through the aeons upon which our forebearers and celestial sages whisper their secrets to generations lost in the mind: there is only love, there is only love, there is only love.

And if we were to falter, to cry out in anguish or to act out of hurt, be quick to forgive and stay aglow, for such a God has only forgotten who they are. Absorbe no ignorance, be of steady heart, and know that love will always lead us home.

Discourses on God – III

Hands of God - Nithya Iyer

Hands of God – Nithya Iyer

If God had one chance to live, what life would he live? Would ‘he’ live a life of austere reverence unto ‘Himself’? Would ‘he’ seek out saintly and sagely ways to experience what we experience of ‘Him’? Would ‘he’ stoop to slovenly dwellings and be heavy with his earthly limbs and human secretions? Would ‘he’ consume until his tongue knew no more tastes and his belly no more swelling? Fornicate in every way written bye kamadeva’s sutra until his throbbing satiated? I wonder what it is that God would seek of man if he were given a chance to meet him thus: a chance to climb into a body that is genetically predisposed to seek evolution to higher mind, and interact with an infinite sum of material possibility.

If you were God, how would you know yourself?

Sometimes when I look at myself, I feel the sense of observing a two way mirror. On one side I see a reflection of my physicality, yet somewhere in my psyche I observe myself observing; the tangible nature of my existence is constantly accompanied with a consciousness of being conscious. In this there is duality and union. It is only possible if I exist on both sides of the mirror; it is only possible because I exist on both sides of the mirror. We are witness to ourselves constantly, not only in our presence but in this symbiotic observation of our presence. Is God the observer or is it us, observing the observer, who is God? Perhaps God, in ‘his’ infinite wisdom, has given us the greatest amnesia possible: an amnesia of psychic divide so as to allow us a state of constant exploration.

I am in awe that God has conjured a manifestation as such. That we have given birth to ourselves in such complex fruition that we have this impossible spectrum upon which to meditate. In moments of pure existentialism, following the lines of colour across a canvas, unsure of the image that will take shape, we dance upon this polarity. The observer and the observed holding hands as we act and perceive in the holy communion of intuitive faith – faith that as we move, an equilibrium of these two aspects of our psyche will find balance and meaningful creation.

I muse that it is in these ephemeral moments we are truly at one with God. A conscious act of unconsciousness. A playful gesture between two beings, who exist in awe of the other.

Discourses on God – II

David Agenko Intimacy

David Agenjo Intimacy

For what do I seek beyond God itself? A place to see the darkness in me. A place to be the unholy and sacred. A place to be less than strong, where I can want and be wanted. For I want to consume and be consumed, as much as I crave solitude. I want to be admired in awe as much as I want to be invisible. I want to push upon a force equivalent to me, as much as I want to disappear. For these are the various mirrors of me that I choose to reflect upon. Could it be that ‘God’ alone is not enough for the spectrum I crave? For it seems that what I crave for, above and beyond ‘God’, is to be human, and to be loved as such. What realization this is for the seeker to know that what one desires the most, is to be enlightened to ones’ self: to have true form in presence, illuminated; to at last see ourselves as what we are, and thus to realize a God beyond any we have ever known.

Discourses on God – I

The Creation of Man - Michelangelo Sistine Chapel

The Creation of Man – Michelangelo Sistine Chapel

God; universal energy; the supreme consciousness in which we are all encapsulated, through which we move, of which we are made and the substance of our manifest existence: This ‘God’, whatever you may refer to ‘him’ as, does not define your worth by the life that you live. This is not a God that decides your worthiness through the decisions you make, nor the words you speak, nor the actions you take. This is not a God that holds a rule book to you, measuring your successes and failures and the thoughts and motives behind them, sizing you up for an A+ or an F based on your ability to obey. This is not a God that bears down upon you when you have sinned; this is not a God that sees sin or salvation. This is not a God that cares whether or not you believe, nor how you do so.

This God, which so many seek through so many paths, exists throughout and within all that is. An invisible seam that begins in your breath and weaves through the fabric of all existence. The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. These are not terms defined by God; these are terms defined by us. There are no conceptions of life seen as ill-fated by God. There is no punishment nor reward. All such notions are created by and lived by us alone.

We bear such pain and such love in the name of God, forgetting that the very manifestation of such a being is the result of our experience of an essential Self; a moment spent within the infinite undefinable inner being that resides within; the Atman. Experiences of the Divine – the overwhelming senses and moments we bear witness to that alter our known perceptions of existence – whisper to us the truths of the illusion in which we live. Whether they be illusions of matter or mind, body or sense, the experiences I refer to as those of the Divine show us that we do not exist as a singularity enslaved to it’s environment. Rather, in the connection of these moments we surrender to the realization that we are one with all that is around us; consciously interacting with an expression of our own selves that – where we allow it – we feel intimately. When the wind blows upon your face, do you not feel the sensation of its breath alongside the force of its gust; do you not know what it is to be kissed by the wind as much as you do to be the wind itself?

Dwarfed by the magnitude of such interventions, it is only natural that one seeks to cast themselves as inferior: as a humble by-stander momentarily swept up within the magnificence of a passing constellation. It requires such love for oneself to instead perceive that we are the shooting stars that paint the heavens with their magnificence. That we, of our very essence, are the pinnacle of manifest creation; a beauteous force of ever-expanding evolution materialized in tactile experience.

Perhaps our folly then, is in the moments in which we forge separation as a means to validate ourselves; actions or thoughts in which we decide that our worth, our ‘goodness’, is dependent upon something other than our existence. We strive in fear and hurt, in egoic intellect or in the imagined grandeur of saintliness, hoping that our actions upon our paths result in a future gold star upon the paper of our lives. A star that says “Yes, you are right. You are a good human. The best in fact. And you will be rewarded for you have proved your worth”. Could it be that this is the star we seek to heal us from the years of self-judgment we have inflicted upon ourselves? We accumulate a subconscious list of ‘to-do’s’ hoping that when the list is finished, we have achieved our duties as a human and therefore qualify to the realms of the heavens. After such a long journey of hardship, what does one do when they realize no such star exists?

For you are the field and the observer of the field. You are human, and the ‘God’ which perceives itself as such. You write your story, not with the force of will, but with the power of observation. For what is a story if not a tale written and read by your mind? What is life, if not a unique experience of yourself, within yourself? What is ‘God’, if not an energy you harness in guiding your own existence?

Where we find ourselves lost, as I do upon this evening, it brings ease to ailing hearts to remember that we are not alone. For as I experience existence, the sensations and feelings that meet me come from the canvas I share with you. Where my thoughts fill with clutter or my heart with ache, I remember to see through them to the essential breath we share. Where my eyes glow with wonder, and my skin tingles in sensation, I know you know such feelings too. Because we share this; we share this experience, whether in the singularity of this moment or upon the eternity of time. We meet each other, again and again, in the silent being within. And here, regardless of our journeys along the polarities of existence, here we share in God. In each other. In the One that we all are.

 

Journeys from the Fire

 

Parvathy 3 Bauls

 

I sit by the fire, the earth by my side, water in my hand, breath in my lungs, space in my being. I inhale, I exhale. I identify the elements in myself and guide them with my breath and conscious mind; I anchor my form and presence to the elements, and by doing so, I coalesce into all that is and lose definition. I expand into the ether and lose sense of where I begin and end. Infinite, I realize the truth professed by the Bon*; I understand that integration of the elements results in surrender to the infinite cosmos, and therefore surrender of Self, to the Self.

The spaces between us, within us, the synaptic connections that define our relativities, form and movement, are the same as those which govern the infinite universe. In balance, we reveal our natural order, and align with not only the material environment, but also with the structure of the universe, with all energy and matter. From this alignment we expand, like an extension of our limbs, we begin to experience the shapeless, formless, That, in which we exist. We gain cognitive experience of what it is to be infinite in being and understand the meaning of so many scriptures that profess our conscious unity with all That is.

One need not be a saint or sage to experience such bliss, for we live in an age where pathways to the Divine are left like open books, for us to access with our minds and bodies. However, these pathways require discipline, courage and humility, and ultimately, the willingness to surrender ego – the final frontier of fear. How strong is your faith in Self, to surrender the reins? To allow yourself to have no control, and therefore align with your natural state?

Sometimes when I hear these melodies, churned by voices and breath, by string and palm rhythms, I feel my body seize, trying to contain that which moves me, whilst simultaneously trying to harness the movement into myself. The force is so strong, I am afraid of what would happen if I were to surrender completely. Will I go mad? Will I ever return to this world?

The only thing that scares me more, is the thought of dying without ever knowing.

Gently, I dip my toe into the ocean of such existentialism. It beckons to me through the music, through the wind and the trees, the sun and the stars; it streams to me through the blood in my veins. It seeks me out as I take coy glances towards its beauty. Like lovers lost, we begin to find each other. And in moments of peace, when I least expect, it cascades through me, leaving me exhilarated and hushed by the magnificence of such great love.

 

* “Bon is Tibet’s oldest spiritual tradition. It includes teachings and practices applicable to all parts of life, including our relationship with the elemental qualities of nature; our ethical and moral behavior; the development of love, compassion, joy and equanimity; and Bon’s highest teachings of the “Great Perfection,” dzogchen” – http://www.ligmincha.org/en/bon-buddhism.html