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Chinese sage Chuang-Tzu (c.300 BCE) poses conversations that question our notions of connectivity to each other and to our environment :
The Shade asks the Shadow “A little while ago you moved, now you stop. A little while ago you sat down and now you stand up. Why this instability of purpose?” Shadow responds “Do I depend on something else to be this way? Does that something on which I depend also depend on something else?”1
My current series of ceramic octagons seeks to enter this conversation. In a context where Shade and Shadow are neither separate from each other nor from the environments that produce them, the illusions of ceramic form can appear precise and permanent but the ephemeral modality of light and dark by which we perceive them is endlessly changing. The ceramic materials and production processes emerge along an organic path of earth, water, air and fire but there are also clear marks of the mechanized and cerebral. Is each a speck in an infinite universe, irrelevant in its smallness, or a moment in an all-powerful existence that sets in motion continual waves of minute change everywhere? Indeed, are we all entirely both and neither of these?
To make a mark to show that a mark is not a mark
Is not as good as to make a Non-mark
To show that a mark is not a mark
In a universe that is in reality but one mark. 2
1, 2 Chuang-Tzu references from Chan, Wing-Tsit, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press,1973 (190,183-4).