Digital video, 2023, 5’33”, stereo audio
In the aftermath of the pandemic, it is time to face the psychological trauma it caused. Having previously found value in experiencing life in symbiosis with communities and society, the lockdowns stripped me of my agency to live according to those values, thus damaging my identity and connections to the outer world. The project Dependent Origination brings back the confinement and alienation of those years, aiming to face and work through the damage it caused. Inspired by the Tibetan Wheel of Life, the video takes you on an inner journey featuring figures echoing twelve Nidanas of Samsara to understand and accept the existentialist crises we found ourselves in psychologically and spiritually unprepared.
The twelve nidanas are symbols of a Buddhist belief system that radically differs from European culture, representing different stages of existence caught up in Samsara, a state of unconscious existence. Breaking out of this and reaching Nirvana is only possible by recognising these stages and reversing the cycle. Unlike their traditional form of representation, this piece presents the nidanas in three dimensions in a fictional cave sanctuary inspired by the architectural motifs of the Ajanta Caves in India. The moon, representing Nirvana, traditionally appears subtly in the corner of the paintings of the Tibetan Wheel of Life, we too can glimpse the moon outside of the built environment, through a shaft looking up to the sky.
The logic and value system typical of Western thought is dissolved by these symbols, which in some ways, discuss existence in a more essential and egalitarian way than Christian faith. They deal with elementary phenomena of existence in a way that can be applied to almost all human life – regardless of gender or social situation. Also, the nidanas can provide an alternative perspective on many modern philosophical issues; such as the relationship between the self and the other, perception, mimesis and creation.