What the Water Chandelier is about
The Water Chandelier began as an invitation to join my friend Ines Sun in a collaborative installation. Over the many years we have known each other, Ines and I have discovered a common bond throughout our work in the celebration of ceremony and ritual, to create environments that give pause and space, slowing the pulse of time.
Our ideas resulted in collaboration with Ines and 6 other artists to represent her Mobile Tea Garden at TENRI gallery for the Asian American Arts Alliance 2012 ‘Locating the Sacred’ Festival. My contribution was at the center of the tea making, surrounded by 4 tatami mats, with each mat serving as a place for tea ceremony. The glass vessel assemblages were suspended from the ceiling by old barn and ship pulleys, and counter weighted with blocks of Himalayan salt, branch pieces of Japanese activated charcoal, found steel manufacturing plates, and deer antler. The glass laboratory vessels, filled with water, hovered a few feet to a few inches above the center of the tea service, and functioned as an artistic focal point as well as supplying filtered water for the making of the tea.
The Water Chandelier is a poetic device, constructed as a magpie forms her habitats freely from a wide palette of carefully chosen materials and designed with function and inherent beauty. The basis for these materials is a relationship of balance with the 5 natural elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. Charcoal, salt, water, glass, hand-worked wool, metal, plastic, rubber and wood are the chosen materials for these assemblages. Some of the materials bring histories with them as objects, and therefore carry a relevance of their age; others are purposeful in form and shape; and still others are there to offer direct sensory connections to nature. All together, they comprise a devise intended to subtly slow the viewer’s sense of time, bridging the unconscious mind with a more conscious body awareness of time and space. The vessels are actively doing this by slowly releasing drops of water at a pace timed to a slow heartbeat. Rather than a ticking clock, a soft meter of flowing water drops silently or with a meditative ear, a discernable, gentle pinging inside the singing bowls beneath.
At the center of the Water Chandelier is an ancient healing musical instrument acting at the center of its connection to space and air. The singing bowl has been in historical use for many centuries as a healing instrument of direct sound wave transmission. While the Western understanding of tonal healing is still very much new, it is nonetheless a powerful medium for accessing the body sound vessel via vibration of the cell vessels, which all carry their own unique energetic vibrations within greater and greater arrangements and thereby a cellular energetic tone to which all cells respond.
While we most often think of accessing our body by way of conscious and linear mental activity, or relaxing this mental effort in meditation, the singing bowl tones bypass our active thinking and allow the cells to rest and relax into the tonal resonance of the sound wave transmission. Our cells reset atonal vibrations, and our body re-calibrates itself with an attunement of the cells individually, and as groups of cells. Our bodily vessels communicate more freely again without the mind’s conscious effort or interference. The sounds of the bowl are active, generating tones synchronous with Theta and Delta wavelengths, allowing our brains to re-balance the left and right hemispheres by passively hearing and feeling the sound waves.
Likewise, many of the singing bowls made as healing bowls are set to particular musical notes, which correspond with specific body energy centers known as Chakras in Eastern medicine. The tones therefore can be ‘focused’ upon the Chakra centers that need energetic rebalancing. The balancing is a result of creating greater connection to the body’s self-regulated attunement, which is furthered by the energetic clarity at the cellular level. With greater clarity of ‘healthy self’ at the cellular level, the body begins to literally follow a different tune of consciousness, and thereby accesses greater holistic health.