by Thomas Lindsey
Prev | 1
The term comes to me from the cosmologist Brian Swimme, and
I apply it, as he did, to the Sun/Earth relationship. My sense
of the spiritual is similar to this quote by Michael Shermer from
a piece in The Skeptic. "….I define the spirit as the
pattern of information of which we are made - our genes, proteins,
memories, and personalities. In this sense, spirituality is the
quest to know the place of our spirit within the deep time of
evolution and the deep space of the cosmos. I believe that science
gives us the deepest possible sense of grandeur and wonder about
our place in time and space." In this regard I am attempting
to relate, through these site-specific installations, to our creative
place on the planet. Life, fueled by the sun, has become conscious
of itself and the cosmos.
GARDEN: We have this idea that we are just recently born.
We see ourselves as coming into being as the sperm and egg unite
to form a unit that begins to divide at a cellular level, and
we grow a child. Our parents, our families and our community celebrate
a new being, a new entity. Me, you and us…we. And so we are 'x'
many years old from that birthday. We count that time; I am presently
there is another way to look at this living, this line of life.
This sperm and egg are just the miniscule ends of a hugely complicated
and unimaginably massive ball of gravid twine. This living entity
is only the present form of a long connection of livingness that
stretches back, how far? To the very beginning of emergent life.
If we were to answer the question as of old we are, the answer
would be something like 3.4 billion years old - or more (13.7
billion), considering the age of the Universe. From emergence
day one, there has never been a break in this line of living for
you, for me or for anything alive at this very moment, otherwise,
we would not be here sharing Planet Earth. Our genetic heritage
is that of countless beings before us, arisen from the primal
material of the Earth/Universe and nurtured in the liquid womb,
bathed by the sun's energy.
is the meditation that I see expressed by the nature of 'the garden'.
The embodiment of time through our intimate connection to, microbes,
bacteria, plants, insects, lichens, animals, nutrients, who all
share our genome and our common emergence. We celebrate the living
entity that constantly renews itself, constant metamorphosis unfolding
to self-educate to evolving demands and demanding conditions.
The garden, as the prayer wheel, is a metaphor for the larger
whole, a microcosm of growth and change, a place where the sacred
closing: The contemporary art aesthetic is often shy about
embracing the sacred. There seems to be some hesitation and red
flags tend to go up when an artist begins to acknowledge that
his or her creative impulse includes a 'sacred dimension'. I know
this hesitation myself. However, when I look to the history of
our species, I come to view the emergence of our self-awareness
as identical to, part and parcel of, the totality of emergent
creativity. One could not exist without the other, and both are
a component of the energy born from the initial seed of potential,
that 'something special' of great systems that self-organize.
Our species did not just 'pop' into existence - we carry the genetic
lineage of 4 billion years of life educating itself to the conditions
of planet Earth.
to imagine the mysterious movement across the black waters of
pre-creation, of the spirit of God. Imagine a quickening that
pierces the Pacific-the entire ocean suddenly invested with
being, suddenly restless, inhaling and exhaling the moon-coaxed
breaths called tides. Limn this vast being with glaciers in
the north, volcanic fissures in its depths. Imbue it with the
same blue, gray and green surfaces and glass-smooth-to-mountainous
textures as the Pacific; same molten-to-frozen temperature ranges;
same unknowable, 36,000-foot depths; same power to produce wonder,
terror, beauty, death and life. Imagine this being is your biological
mother--because in a very real sense, she is. Imagine the Sun
is your biological father--because in equally real, life-giving
ways, he is. Imagine that after the spirit of God touched them,
your distant but brilliant father and 70-million-square-mile
mother not only fell in love, but began making love: Imagine
Ocean and Sun; in coitus for eternity--because they are. Imagine
your Ocean mother's wombs are countless, that her fecundity
is infinitely varied, and that her endless slow lovemaking with
Sun brings blue whales and great white sharks; endless living
castles of coral; vast phalanxes of fishes; incalculable flocks
of birds; gigantic typhoons; weather patterns the size of continents--because
James Duncan, from A Prayer for Salmon's Second Coming).
vast amount of creative energy throughout traceable human history
that has been devoted to honoring the sacred, to erecting shrines,
to scientific research, painting caves, philosophical meditations,
building pyramids, cathedrals, and entire cities and cultures,
poems, songs, symphonies and compositions of all sorts; gardens,
ritual objects, paintings, sculptures, astronomical complexes,
telescopes, and spaceships….is very telling. There is the deepest
desire to know about our origins, the origin of life, of the mind,
of the cosmos. It comes with the territory of self-aware curiosity
and has found expression through our participation as the creative
creatures that are giving expression to natural process that we
are. It should be said that on a microscopic level we
are the Earth becoming aware of itself, and on the
macroscopic plane, because we have emerged from this greater whole,
we are the Universe discovering itself.
contemporary artists are reflecting upon the most recent scientific
discoveries and bringing these revelatory concepts into the creative
language of our time. We need to embrace the expanse of the Universe
as we engender an art form that participates with the processes
that are meaningful to emergent consciousness. We have at our
fingertips a wealth of information that can fuel creative enterprise.
As artists, we have an opportunity to engage these dynamic themes
and to reflect upon where humanity has come from and to envision
where humanity might be headed. We need to envision a deeply centering
cosmology and bring this forward as an artistic expression of
is no deeper source of meaning for human beings than to experience
our own lives as reflecting the nature and origin of the universe"
Primack/Nancy Ellen Abrams The View from the Center of the
have put together a series of sketches and maquettes (models)
along with some material that I have written regarding my motivation
for embarking on this pursuit. In addition, I have begun collecting
writings from poets, writers, theorists, cosmologists, and scientists
that reflect the general theme that I have outlined. I hope to
find support to build one of these installations and to publish
a manuscript with 10-15 essays.
currently working with Cynthia Leitner, Director of The Museum
of Outdoor Art in Englewood, Colorado to develop a site-specific
that have some examples of my work:
Prev | 1
Credits: All images courtesy of Thomas Lindsey.