Circle of Multiple Realities – Temple as a Body, Animal as in Real Time and Ritual as a Cage.
The work intends to problematize the inter-relationship between three realities – Temple as a Body, Animal as in Real Time and Ritual as a Cage. These realities are investigated through various forms of socio-political settings, which are rooted as part of our everyday life. Thus, forming an invisible chain of circles that binds us together regardless where we come from or who we are in real time. It is within this light, I am locating the term “circle of multiple realities”, which will be explored through my performance work.
Temple as a Body
According to Ramanujan (1973: 19–22), the temple represents the human body and therefore it fuses the distinction between divine and human bodies. This union is sought through bhakti; a divine unity that engages devotee and deity. However, the deity and devotee still maintain their own identities.
In the temple, human body and the temple as a body exist to reaffirms the relationship of the macro-micro. With temple as a body, it exists at macro level in a spiritual dimension, and whereas for a human body, it exists at micro level yearning to be unified with the divine.
These sort of realities challenges the complexities of human body and it’s existence in today’s context (new order) which will be explored in the performance.
Animal as in Real Time
In Hindu scriptures, Yama, the Lord of death, rides a buffalo. He is also known as God of Death and Kala(Time) who sits on the buffalo to roam around the world, searching for souls which are about to exit the earthly abode. Here, the buffalo as a celestial beast is symbolized in upholding justice.
In according to Vedic literature, there is a divine presence that unifies everyone and everything – between Human and Human, Human and Animal, and as well as Human and Nature. In this aspect, the performance explores the everyday reality that co-exist between Human and Animal not in form of divinity but as part of everyday life.
Within the context of the performance, the buffalo has its own existences and with my presence on the site is merely to co-exist with it. Our co-existences will be shared through events (gathered through news) happening in real time. This shared reality created on the site amalgamates both existences (Human and Animal); as a sense of unify everyone and everything.
Ritual as a Cage
In a temple ritual, it has two aspects – one is to construct the body and second is to deconstruct the body in a single consciousness. That is, during the ritual process, the body disintegrate itself to be embodied with the divine. It is between these two realities (a process of disintegration and embodiment) that we are ‘caged’ to form union with the divine. In other words, rituals are created caged human in a physical space through divine form. As A.K. Ramanujan asserts, “Ritual, superstition, sacred space and sacred time, pilgrimage and temple going, offerings to god and priest, prayers and promises— all forms of ‘making’ and ‘doing’— all of them are performed to get results, to manipulate and manage carefully the Lord’s universe to serve one’s own purposes, to save one’s soul or one’s skin” (1973: 30).
In the performance, I will be exploring how ‘information gathering’ as a modern tool construct and deconstruct our body in a single consciousness. And how we are caged to emphasize the agency of body as a database.
In this work, the challenge lies in dealing with the different three realities – Temple as a Body, Animal as in Real Time and Ritual as a Cage. And how the symbolic fusion between these three realities can be seen as an embodiment of “Circle of Multiple Realities”.
During the performance, I will be sitting in a temple-like cage and discussing about Taiwan and world politics with the buffalo. The performance will be done over three days. The performance hours
Performance Venue: Egret Grassland, Taipei National University of the Arts
The news to be read during the performance will be adapted from the following link: