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THUNDER³ : 002020
12.08.2020, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 DRAGON³from THUNDER³ : 002020, smudge studio 002020, 5 x 7 woodblock print, hand-typed text

Of its own accord, a third I Ching trigram appeared within a human brain, and extended traditional I Ching hexagrams into the 21st Century.  

That day, fires raged up and down the West coast of the United States. Over 6 million acres burned before the 2020 fire season even began.

FIRE over FIRE over FIRE. 

The first nonagram.

It was the “anthro” burgeoning forth and co-assembling with, and in, elemental material conditions on Earth.

 

FIRE³ nonagram overlay (base image of fires along the West Coast via NY Times/Mapbox)

Soon after, WIND over WIND over WIND emerged.

Typhoon Haishen gathered force in the Pacific Ocean. The first Super Typhoon of the 002020 season, holding sustained wind speeds of 135 kt (155 mph; 250 km/h). Within weeks, Haishen was out-scaled by Typhoon Goni (sustained 140 mph) and Hurricane Iota (sustained 160 mph). The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season was the most active in the 169-year official record. 

WIND³ nonagram overlay (base image of Typhoon Haisen’s windspeed from Windy.com)

The stacking of three I Ching trigrams. 

Unheard of.

I Ching nonagrams do not exist

There is no established way to “read” them.  

An attempt to interpret their significance requires viewing them from within the foment of life in 002020.

Nonagrams, like 002020, defy capture by legacy ways of thinking and seeing.

And yet, here they both are. 

Nonagrams. Contemporary life in 002020. THUNDER over THUNDER over THUNDER.

Forces of change intermingle, manifest, shape-shift.

 

Nested within the nonagrams are eight trigrams (THUNDER, FIRE, WIND, WATER, MOUNTAIN, LAKE, EARTH, DRAGON*). These are the dynamic roots of all 64, traditional I Ching hexagrams. The trigrams express eight elemental energetics that fuel ongoing transformation of the cosmos—as observed and storied by humans over 2000 years ago.  

Do not be fooled by the spare appearance. 

Trigrams quake with the imminence of transformations to come.

They signal inciting forces of the physical universe.

For millennia they have informed humans of the necessity and wisdom of moving-with, and expecting — change.

The graphic simplicity and spare grace of the eight trigrams render their readings infinitely ambiguous, withdrawn, adaptable, evocative.

Entirely abstract, yet indicating dynamics that animate every formed thing. 

In their doings and undoings, the cosmos continues its formings and unformings.

The nonagrams presented here upend traditional stories of political strategy that are often associated with the I Ching hexagrams.

The composition of a nonagram is a shifting one—signaling Earthly interactions with larger, enigmatic movements of the cosmos.

The project:  THUNDER³ : 002020

It has been challenging and humbling to continue creative work this past year. Our engagements with ancient Taoist philosophy and practices gave us perspectives and means for responding to 2020’s new realities and their embeddedness within forces of planetary and cosmological change.

The result of those engagements is THUNDER³ : 002020.

A collection of works on paper (16 wood-block prints).

In which the forces of change represented by the original eight trigrams of the I Ching join with limit case human and planetary events of 002020.

Graphic design, poetry, visual stories offered from within human lives lived during a pandemic year.

Communications from the Tao—or preferably, and without separation—the Tao imaging itself. 

The project consists of a series of eight pairs:  8 “002020 themed” nonagrams paired with 8 “karma’s wise return” nonagrams.

THE 8 002020 NONAGRAMS:  Eight graphic, poetic sensations of compounding transformational forces. Image-sensations of 002020. Shape-shifting configurations of elemental materials. A respectful riff on the I Ching.

THE 8 KARMA’S WISE RETURN NONAGRAMS: Eight wishes and teachers taking shape out of the changes storied by the 002020 nonagrams. Glints of karmically re-shaped, potential futures. Invitations to unrealized wisdoms. A Taoist bow to transformation’s nuanced complexities.  

The “002020” themes appear on the left, and the “karma’s wise return” themes appear on the right in each pairing.

THUNDER, THUNDER, THUNDER      002020     |     002021
WATER, WATER, WATER     D. TRUMP       |      BLM/#METOO/ACTIVE CITIZENS
EARTH, EARTH, EARTH     COVID-19        |      HUMANS CO-EXIST WITH NON-HUMANS
DRAGON, DRAGON, DRAGON*      NYC FEBRUARY 2020    |    URBAN CO-ARISING DIFFERENCE
MOUNTAIN, MOUNTAIN, MOUNTAIN       QUARANTINE/SOCIAL DISTANCING   |  LOCAL COMMUNITIES, PLACE
FIRE, FIRE, FIRE      WESTERN WILDFIRES      |      NATIONWIDE CLIMATE CRISIS AWARENESS
WIND, WIND, WIND      TYPHOON GION, HURRICANE IOTA    |  GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS AWARENESS
LAKE, LAKE, LAKE     ZOOM         |      LIVELIHOOD ASPIRATIONS RECAST

 
For documentation of all 16 nonagrams and information on how to collect the prints, visit our project page at smudgestudio.org
 
* For this project, we have relied on David Hinton’s translation of the I Ching — but we have chosen to use DRAGON to refer to the dynamic forces that Hinton (and many others) refer to as HEAVEN. 

 


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