Meeting the Path of Totality: 2017 Solar Eclipse
08.07.2017, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

from empty practice for meeting the path of totality, smudge studio 002017

The question of how to live the challenges and realities of the Anthropocene intensifies. It has led many in the humanities to call for creative engagement with ancient and medial human practices and cosmologies and with nonhuman beings.

David Hinton‘s * work has introduced us to Chinese sages who activated aesthetic experience as a vehicle for arriving at no separation between one’s sense of self and the cosmos.

We take up new, translational projects many hundreds of years after the ancients and from across deep cultural difference. Propelled by the growing awareness of the Anthropocene, working from here and now, we set out to devise and enact contemporary translational practices that reach across temporalities, languages, aesthetic practices, geologies and distant ways of being.

cover, smudge book of changes, smudge studio 002017

We produced a chapbook that delineates these new directions for our work, the smudge book of changes.  Printed versions of the chapbook will be available in late fall, 002017.

We will put the smudge book of changes into practice by meeting and creatively responding to the total solar eclipse of August 21st, 002017 — not a minor experience! (see Annie Dillard’s personal account in Total Eclipse).

For the past year, we’ve been preparing to do work at the site of the greatest duration of totality in North America.  On August 21, we will be in the path of the shadow as it enters southern Illinois at 1:17pm CDT and moves out of the state at 1:25pm.

During these charged moments, we will be hosted by the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, in Carbondale, Illinois where totality will last for 2 minutes and 37 seconds (national maps of the eclipse are available here).

The practice we created for meeting the path of totality is informed by smudge’s new directions.  We share empty practice for meeting the path of totality in the smudge book of changes chapbook.

from empty practice for meeting the path of totality, smudge studio 002017

On August 21, we will enact empty practice in an aesthetic gesture of meeting the path of totality.  We expect to make subsequent work that draws from our experiences that day. We’re excited about discovering what performing empty practice invites.


* Thank you to David Hinton for his translational work and insights, and the Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship for Artists for support to attend Hinton’s workshop, Daoist Roots: Entering the Wilderness of Early Chinese Zen, at Zen Mountain Monastery, July 002017.

2 Comments so far
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Beautiful! I look forward to getting the printed versions!

Comment by Tamara Pittman

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