Title: Alchemy in a pandemic
Medium: Digital Video
2 minutes 16 seconds
Alchemy is traditionally known as attempts to turn a base metal into gold. A lesser known alchemy was ‘inner alchemy’ where a practitioner would still their mind so suppressed aspects of the self come into ones awareness, are seen, felt and integrated.
With the containment, restrictions and austerity that the pandemic brought, a certain resilience was needed to cope with these circumstances. I began to feel that collectively we were under going a type of ‘alchemy’. With these ‘restrictions’ and ‘containments’ and often a lack of distractions, suppressed traumas seemed to rise, individually and collectively. The pandemic produced a ‘pressure cooker’ and the question that seemed to be asked, was individuality and collective, did we have the resilience and strength to ‘hold’ a space for these unresolved issues to be seen, felt and integrated.
This work is a digital installation. 197 mala strings, hang, forming a rectangle in a darkened space. A mala is a string of 108 beads. A meditator shifts the beads through his/her fingers, as they recite a mantra. A process to still the mind. The lighting of the beads to form a vessel shape, is a metaphor for, as the mind stills the vessel is created and sealed and what is hidden or unresolved is brought into ‘light’ or ‘awareness’ and transformed.
Each bead could be read as an individual or a community which is part of a larger community. The rectangle shape of malas is in reference to a room/house where many spent lock down. The concept behind creating a virtual installation as opposed to a physical installation was in reference to how in the pandemic we collectively were forced even more into a virtual world.