Monday, April 12, 2010

Wabi-Sabi, values and ideas.

I've been reading 'Wabi-Sabi, for artists, designers, poets and philosophers' recently and have been using it mainly to build on my knowledge of both ancient Tea Ceremony practices and also the types of thinking and philosophy that were underlying in the cultures that practiced such things.

In short, Wabi-Sabi itself is a fairly expansive ancient Japanese aesthetic and world view anchored around such concepts as seeing beauty in the unusual and imperfect and also the acceptance of the transient nature of things. Here are a few underlying values that I have found and consider key to the Wabi-Sabi and also very linked to the way I have been trying to present my installation.

- All things are impermanent, the inclination towards nothingness is unrelenting and universal.

- All things are imperfect, this becomes clear when looking closer and nothing is an exception.

- All things are incomplete and in a constant state of either becoming or dissolving.

- Greatness exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details.

- 'Material poverty, spiritual richness''

- One must find a balance of pleasure gained from things, and from the freedom of things.

I think that each of these concepts can be linked to the ideas I am trying to convey with my, simplest of installations. It will be impermanent, as it moves from venue to venue sometimes only being displayed for a matter of hours. It will be imperfect, as the sounds it will take from those who use it and will combine will certainly not always be pleasing or pleasant to the ear. It will be in a constant state of incompletion and dissolving, as each new user begins to fill the cups with their own verbalized thoughts some of the previous user will remain until overwritten, possibly allowing for a collaboration between people who have never met but inevitably resulting in the slow disintegration of one individuals efforts, one cup at a time. It will be materialistically impoverished appearing sparse and plain, but the sonic results it will yield will produce a richness that exceeds its appearance and aesthetic.

These are some of the ideas I am exploring and trying to convey with the piece and will, I hope, add to the users enjoyment and understanding of the tea set if I present them in a more detailed and accessible way to each user.

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