Here & Now, Art, Roshni Kavate, tea ink (Bill Platz), bee pollen dye, Tanya Aguiñiga, Wendy Murayama, Ibeyi, Les Twins, Anoushka Shankar
HERE AND NOW
Weather news has been full of dire warnings that the Monterey Peninsula may become an “island” due to the rise of river floodwaters. While I want everyone to be safe, I admit that I’ve been looking forward to it, just a little. Perhaps this peninsula will someday become an island. It’s not impossible.
I mentioned in the last issue that I expect to do more meditation in 2023. I’ve been following Buddhist Geeks for several years, although I haven’t been very active there. Yesterday I participated in two twenty-minute, online meditation sessions, the first with the local Zen center, and the second with a small group from Buddhist Geeks (BG).
Meditation practices can vary widely. Traditional Zen meditation involves sitting in silence while noting and attending to the phenomena one experiences. Over the last few years, the BG have been developing and practicing a form of “social meditation” which retains much of traditional meditation’s “noting” practice. But in social meditation what you note is verbally shared (briefly). You say one or two words noting what comes up in your awareness (e.g., “breathing,” “hearing,” “anxiety,” “discomfort,” “sadness,” “happiness,” etc.). The point is to break out of a solipsistic, individualist mindset, and to experience meditation in the larger sense of connectedness or “interbeing,” a well-known concept in Buddhism—even in Zen—but the solitariness of meditation practice may seem to contradict this. As Vince Horn (co-founder of Buddhist Geeks) put it, “I'd say that we need to Stop Practicing Anti-Social Meditation and recognize the inherent relationality of life itself!”
Allowing me to move out of my self-focus, the latter experience was unexpectedly touching, and gave me a sense of how powerful this form of practice might be. I was reminded of the Philippine concept of kapwa, the sense of shared identity and interconnectedness with others.
I’ve found the recent news about an attack targeting an Asian woman on a bus (Indiana), and police-involved killing of a Black English teacher, to be very disturbing and sad. This sort of violence happens a lot in this country, and one carries on—but every once in awhile it just gets to you. Aside from being depressing, it also makes me feel more unsafe, more defensive when I go out and about. So, just acknowledging that.
The next issue will feature answers to the Six Questions, by artist and giant puppet creator, Sarah Lovett.
Grief and Comfort Food. Article by Roshni Kavate in Riposte.
I drink a lot of tea. But I always feel like I should be able to re-use the leftover tea for something . . . like ink. I found a recipe for that from Dr. Bill Platz (Queensland Art Gallery Board):
Bee pollen dye? Yes, indeed. From Cereal Magazine
Tanya Aguiñiga discusses “lineages”—something I don’t think about much due to my parents’ migration to this country. I never met my grandparents on both sides. I had a chance to meet cousins, who told stories about family. Yet it always felt like something was missing. Can artists shape their own lineages?
Wendy Maruyama on “Rethinking the Artistic Process.”
"Deathless." Powerful stuff by Ibeyi, featuring Kamasi Washington:
I’m a little obsessed at the moment with Yak Films’ street dance and B-boy videos, filmed in spaces as varied as Catholic schools, Manila cemeteries, airports, Paris streets, grocery stores, and Tokyo intersections. Here are Les Twins (Laurent & Larry Bourgeois) at Treasure Island. Music: “Ancient Cultures Remix” by Viramaina.
Anoushka Shankar performing pieces from Love Letterswith Alev Lenz: vocals, piano (co-producer and co-writer on all Love Letters songs barring "Those Words"); Nicki Wells: vocals, tanpura, beat machine; Nina Harries: vocals, bass; Danny Keane: cello, piano (and co-writer on “The End”); Pirashanna Thevarajah: mridangam, ghatak, mooring, mandira, beat machine:
Until next Saturday . . .
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My website is jeanvengua.com
My other newsletter is Commonwealth Cafe
Music video by Anoushka Shankar performing Love Letters (Live from Purcell Room, Southbank Center). A Mercury KX Video; © 2021 Universal Music Operations Limited