Ritual Meditation (better late than never…)

I am interested in the spectacle of religious ceremonies and how these rituals might inspire awe with the different methods used to create unique experiences for adherents/members, like the candles lit before mass, or a tribal dance before a hunt begins. While I’m non-religious, I’m not unaffected by such transformative experiences. For this project I wish to focus on what makes for a personal transformative experience/ritual that is also engaging for an audience…or at least I hope so.

Michael Dudeck’s (documented) live performance, Witch Doctor, was definitely an influence on my acceptance of the spiritual power of religious ceremony.

Michael Dudeck, “Religion”

On the basis of a project that I did last year in Interdisciplinary Critique#1, I propose to pursue my original concept for that project – which I ultimately decided against – to make a superior quality illusion mirror which functions as a mask. Masks have always held a significant role in human society and especially in religious ceremonies, i.e. rituals. An archetypal example of a mask’s function is for the wearer to become whatever the mask represents.

Understanding mathematical concepts has always been difficult for me. This infinity mask that I propose to construct functions as the focus of ritual meditation on the paradox of dividing by zero. To construct a visual representation of this paradox (“You cannot divide by zero”) is an excellent way for me to understand it.

One transformative aspect is the ‘worm-hole’ (/0) effect, and the message it carries is a deeply meditative one: the mind goes on forever. The second aspect is crucial to my performance and has been an actual ritual that I’ve practiced for nearly three years. I will be attempting a form of Tuvan throat singing: Dag Kargyraa. This was obviously never part of my own culture, but when I first discovered the sound of the ‘steppes and the mountains’ three years ago, the sound reached me profoundly. I made it part of my life. I’ve found a few places on campus with superb acoustic quality where I’ve made a habit of been practicing it before class.

Here’s the video that connected with me: 

 For dress, I’ll be wearing a simple, rather tight fitting cloak as the ceremonial garb.

The wormhole is made from a clock that I dissected and altered, a round mirror and a one-way acrylic mirror, LED colour changing mood strips with a 120VAC system* with IR controller & receiver.

*I will have to plug myself in instead of walking in a continuous figure-8 since my 12VDC system has connection issues.

This piece is meant to be a live solo performance (However, if received well, I might consider a future performance with a second or even a third player.) Good acoustics are vital, so our critique room is more than adequate. Ideally, the setting would be lower-lit, as low lighting has a distinct ethereal quality that has been exploited by various religions in their ceremonies.


Dudeck, M. “Religion”. Retrieved September 15, 2013. http://www.michaeldudeck.com/

Paul Kasmin Gallery. Ivan Navaro, featured artist. Retrieved October 27, 2013.  http://www.paulkasmingallery.com/artists/ivn-navarro/

Author unknown. “Types of Throat-Singing with Tips”. Retrieved November 3, 2013.        http://khoomei.com/types.htm

wiki links:  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headgear             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceremonial_use_of_lights

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