07/28/09 OM BENA SATO SAMAYA / Santa Monica, CA
100 syllable mantra, the chanting of which is used in rituals of purification.
07/01/09 NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO / UC Santa Cruz, CA
Hebrew blessing: “Strong, strong, and let us be strengthened!” follows the conclusion of each of the five books of the Torah.
03/28/08 Setting Up the Mantra Trailer / Durham, NC
This is the first day of the cross-country tour. The kick off is tonight at the Center for Documentary Studies. I’ll be presenting the project during the Fresh Docs program. “Setting Up the Mantra Trailer” was shot in January with Erika Simon in Atlanta, GA. We edited it this week for it’s premier tonight at Fresh Docs.
03/19/08 OM BHUR BHUVAS SUVAHA / Durham, NC
Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh! Creator of the Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
Mantra Trailer appearance hosted by the Art Musuem of Western Virginia.
I took the day off and enjoyed the beach at San Sebastian State Park. When I walked over the crest of the boardwalk I saw salmon blue clouds and the peep of the sun over the horizon. I had decided to get to the beach early enough to watch the sunrise and it was astounding. There were multiple flocks of sea birds worshiping the sun at a single point on the beach. My first impulse was to grab my camera and try to capture the image of natural beauty in front of me, but then I would miss seeing it for myself.
On this journey I decided not to image the “natural” landscape without evidence of human intervention. The experience of witnessing nature is a sacred event when it moves the heart. This is not an experience that I can bring to you through an image. I thought about the way images dilute the sacredness of a place. With better and better imaging technology we are tricked into believing that seeing the image is just as good as experiencing the real thing and more convenient to boot. If people choose not to experience nature first hand there will be no witness, which can lead to inaction, to the deadening of the spirit, and to the diminishing of our sense of and desire for the sacred.
I’ve also decided not to take any images of the interior of the Mantra Trailer for the same reason. It’s a space to be experienced, explored and witnessed from the heart. Like our own interiors, like nature, the interior of the Mantra Trailer is not a curio or spectacle to be merely viewed, or examined.
For those who do not have the opportunity to experience the Mantra Trailer in real life, I invite them to look inward to imagine the interior space. Imagine a comforting oasis, a warm, bright womb.
12/01/07 BISMILLAH IR RAHMAN IR RAHIM / Roanoke, VA
11/28/07 Signboard Heaven / Lynchburg, VA
Filmed during a residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in November. Lynchburg is the home of Liberty Universtity, founded by Jerry Falwell. Fast food empoyees say “It’s an honor to serve you and have a blessed day.” There’s a church signboard on every corner.