Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's a Buddha Made Of?

Is it trees and sky and space?  or snakes and snails and puppy dog tails - or tales?

There is a very real sense that we are composed of everything we have experienced, but some things, like DNA, bear more weight than some other things, like great shoes.

I am working on conceptualizing the art I would create to represent a buddha.  An ordinary small-time buddha-in-the-making.  Say that buddha is 70, like me; it would have seventy-one galleries joined railroad flat style.  And you go in at gallery 0, before conception.  What is there?  The DNA of two people, their lust, their dreams, the homes they grew up in, the scenes of their relationship flickering on the walls, the popular music of the time, of course.  In my case, a film of World War II, bombs falling.  You move on to gallery 1, I am born.  Now each gallery represents one year......

and here I got carried away and wrote an essay that went far afield of this.  There are lots of ways to play with the question, how to graphically present an individual.  You could have each visitor flip a coin to determine whether they start at the present-time buddha and work backward, or take the train down to that beginning and slog through the buddha's whole life up till now.  I'm warning you, some of those years would make iMAX look dull; I can see people insisting, Let me out!  I said that sometimes myself.  And don't forget the dull parts, the long years of slogging along the path.  But wait, how to include that space that opens now and then, maybe opens more..........And while you were constructing it, the buddha is experiencing new events, breathing in new molecules, changing..... 

[You can see more of the work of this gifted artist, Dan Mountford, on his Facebook page.]


  1. My immediate reaction to your question, What's a Buddha make of, was: Everything and nothing. Which is kind of meaningless when I think about it, but I thought I'd share it anyway :)

    1. I think it's very apt. It has me thinking about how to portray nothing. In glass, that light shines through. But how in words?