Monday, November 21, 2011

News from the DAC Constellation

Just a few updates of things around the DAC Universe.

Robby Herbst, who is presenting his project New Pyramid for the Capitalist System in February, has been interviewed about Occupy LA, his performances and related matters:

Aeron Bergman and Alejandra Salinas are interviewed about their newest Feng Shui performance at 0047:
(The site is in Norwegian, but the video is in English). Bergman and Salinas exhibition this fall at DAC was arranged in consultation with a Feng Shui master.

DAC Director Karl Erickson wrote a short essay at the site about the economy as an exhibition theme, collaboration and community:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Interview with Adam Overton of the experimental meditation center los angeles

(Adam Overton sharing a workshop)

Last October, DAC was privileged to have an esteemed member of the experimental meditation center los angeles by to lead a work of experimental meditation practices. A small group headed to
Brooklyn Bridge Park for an afternoon of exploration.

The experimental meditation center of los angeles is a frame[work], a magic circle, a safe space, a temporary autonomous zone, a performance space... for the facilitation of artist-led meditations. We’ll be exploring some meditation best hits, plus some full-throated group meditation strategies good for beginners and gurus alike. The experimental meditation center of los angeles has no center!

I had a chance to have a quick conversation with Adam Overton over email about the center, laughing and more.
-Karl Erickson

Karl Erickson: The experimental meditation center of los angeles (and all of your related projects) all have a lot of humor to them. Is there something that the humor lets you do, that maybe you couldn't do if you approached the spiritual angle straight-faced?

Adam Overton: sure. emcla primarily serves the experimental artist community of los angeles, and i think if only overly serious new-agey folks were leading sessions, our semi-secularist community of artists would be turned off immediately. presenting playful, middle(ing) ways through these forms seems to appeal to folks like myself who tend to be wary of the Sages of Certainty. that said, very little of what we do is meant at the outset to elicit chuckles, rather i think this is just a by-product of experimentalism – the occasional domain of seemingly odd combinations, comparisons, contradictions, etc. in fact, it feels important to take these explorations seriously while engaging with them for them to "work." in any case, if emcla were to start a church (which is a good idea, actually), it'd probably be something like "the Holy RollerSkating Rink & Playground Cult", where believers find solace in being irreverently reverent, or/and reverently irreverent. or maybe this is all irrelevant?

KE: Any thoughts on "laughing yoga"?

AO: stay away at all costs! it's an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable form of meditation! i sprained my 3rd chakra when i tried it!

KE: It seems to me that repetition, practice and concentration are integral parts of meditation/spirituality, yet the nature of experimental meditation seems that each session is wildly varied. Can these aspects be reconciled? And is experimental meditation a valid component of transcendence?

AO: yes. there are many spiritual and ritual forms set up to scare off noobs, the same way much music does: HARD HAT AREA: PRACTICE OR CERTIFICATION REQUIRED. but i hearken from an art and spiritual tradition that sees direct connections between experimentalism, amateurism, and maintaining a beginner's mind, and that believes magical rewards can still emerge from even the most temporary, whimsical engagement. therefore i tend look to Fluxus or/and Matador Oven's A Dabblerist Manifesto (released in the Library of Sacred Technologies, for guidance in such matters of virtue(osity):

The DABBLER proclaims: “Our bodies are not measuring sticks!!” DABBLERISM never measures, not from the outside at least (unless that’s a temporary project you’re undertaking) – neither quality nor quantity is of concern in one’s dipping. The DABBLER might dip her toes, his hair, a leg and fist, one’s entire being – all options are equal in their unique dipping incident. An hour, a year, a lifetime, never-ever? We welcome all philosophies of time and engaged experience!

as for transcendence: i have no idea. er, well, actually, maybe i do have an idea. it seems that transcendence of any kind probably depends more on the practitioner than the meditation (c.f. Ranciere's "The Emancipated Spectator"). but an artful, experimental, playful practice indeed seems well-suited if you're in search of Sanctified Metonymy or/and of the Allegorically Divine.

KE: Do you think there is a spiritual difference between NYC and LA?

AO: the experimental meditation center of los angeles has no center, and therefore loves all cities and the experimental gentle beings who inhabit them, as they all have such wonderful and different resources and perspectives to offer!

KE: Is spirituality an end to your art practice or a means?

AO: i don't know - i'll have to meditate on that one.

(meditaters in Brooklyn Bridge Park)