“Discard such definite imaginations of phenomena as your own self, thou human being, thou’rt a numberless mass of sun-motes: each mote a shrine. The same as to your shyness of other selves, selfness as divided into infinite numbers of beings, or selfness as identified as one self existing eternally. Be obliging and noble, be generous with your time and help and possessions, and be kind, because the emptiness of this little place of flesh you carry around and call your soul, your entity, is the same emptiness in every direction of space unmeasurably emptiness, the same, one, and holy emptiness everywhere: why be selfly and unfree, Man God, in your dream? Wake up, thou’rt selfless and free. “Even and upright your mind abides nowhere,” states Hui Neng of China. We’re all in Heaven now.”
– The Scripture of the Golden Eternity, Jack Kerouac
I grew up thinking that I am what is contained within the limits of my own body, and only that. I loved learning that there were many other ways to think about it, from the cosmic to the spiritual. I am intrigued by the idea that this separateness that I feel – from other people, from the objects that surround me in my life – is potentially just an imagined separation, and I enjoy thinking about how my own existence could expand to include other objects in my surroundings if I so desire.
I’m drawn to industrial forms – sometimes it’s an aesthetic appeal, but often it’s the mystery that the object holds for me. I am not skilled in any vocational trade, all of the machines and technology that allow me to live my life comfortably I take completely for granted. I have no idea how they actually work. I think it’s this sense of helplessness and naiveté that draw me closer to these structures. The electricity meter in the alleyway, the thermostat by the door, the gas gauge behind the dumpster. These things are always hidden in plain sight until you notice them – then you see them everywhere. And because of that, because they’re so commonplace that I don’t even see them unless I’m actively looking, it makes them feel somehow so much more obtrusive to my everyday life. With all of the things I can control about my life, this is one thing that is ever-present whether I like it or not.
This relationship between the human body and industrial forms may not seem obvious or sensible, which I think is exactly why I like it. The body is soft and fleshy and vulnerable while the lines of industry are sharp and clean, with plenty of hard edges and right angles. I’ve always wondered how my body, with all of its lumps and bumps, is supposed to relate to our world that has been so clearly defined in recent years by the machined lined. This contrast makes me uncomfortable, which is why I want to explore it more.