Alchemy of Awareness
05.13.2017, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“I cannot cause the light, the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.”  – Annie Dillard

Everything you see is bathed in eight-minute-old light. And for the next eight minutes, we invite you to re-establish an awareness of your direct connection to the sun, which has fueled planetary systems on Earth for the past 4.6 billion years.

Eight minutes ago, photons of light that took thousands of years to migrate from the sun’s core left the surface and traveled towards Earth. Their ongoing arrivals here and now allow you to read this text, see this space, plants to grow, life on Earth to exist.

Hold your hand in front of your eyes, and you deflect and transform particles of the sun that have just streaked 93,000,000 miles at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, to arrive here, eight minutes later.

At any given moment, we can make ourselves aware of this reality — which is the very basis for each of our lives and all life on this planet.  But contemporary life affords little context for us to pause and deliberately sense this most consequential event envelop us.

We have attuned today’s micro-production to the ongoing arrivals of photons from the sun.

The Last Eight Minutes: Everything We take to be a Constant is Changing, invites you to use your awareness to activate an alchemy of several singular and unique elements: Namely, the eight minute interval of time for a single photon’s journey from the sun, the simultaneous eight minute long brewing of water, tea leaves and time that we will serve you, and the sun’s ongoing act of releasing new and unique photons each micro-second.

Today at noon*, the photons that we experience as sunlight will have taken just over 8 minutes and 24 seconds to travel

… from the sun’s surface,

… through the windows of this gallery,

… into, and as, our life’s time,

… to illuminate all that we see.

Today’s event is co-produced by all who are present, along with the material conditions of this particular time and space. This series draws from a decade of work focused on deep time, geologic change, and the wildly uncertain futures that are now in the making on a planetary scale.

Through this project we experiment with diverse forms—architectural, gestural, theatrical, conceptual to create a focused context that serves as studio + teahouse + place of contemplation and refuge.  We translate aspects of Japanese tea traditions to create an ephemeral shelter of exposure.

The tea we will cold brew today is produced by a small cooperative in Kyotanabe, Kyoto prefecture, Japan known for its award-winning gyokuro. Several weeks before harvest, growers create this unique type of tea by shading tea leaves from the sun to intensify flavor and nutrients.

We will also serve you two small sweets called higashi.   The higashi were custom-made by wagashi asobi in Tokyo for today’s event.

Shortly, we will ring a bell to mark the start and the finish of an eight minute, 24 second interval of time. This will help you to synchronize your imagination and perceptions with a single photon’s departure from the sun, and its 93,466,655 million mile long journey to your eyes.

While that photon makes its journey, we will be giving the tea leaves an eight minutes and 24 second long brewing.  We will ring the bell a second time to mark the photon’s arrival.

We will then serve you a sweet followed by a cup of tea.

Please join us in the work.

* excerpts from The Last Eight Minutes: Everything We take to be a Constant is Changing, staged as part of con•tin•u•ums (time beyond lifetimes)April 23rd, 002017.


all images this post: Tomson Tee

*further documentation and video can be found on on the smudge studio project page.

1 Comment so far
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What we see in that light is created by the algorithms of our brains. There are waves and particles, some we see, hear, feel – some not. What we see – we all see. That we all share and become one.

Comment by jlaw

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