Honen-in is a Zen Buddhist temple in the eastern mountains of Kyoto with a history of supporting the arts. This performance based installation at Honen-in Kobe was open to the public for an eight day stretch, seven hours a day. Throughout this time I would be found sitting motionless except for the quiet and slow act of cutting. I held a pair of scissors in one hand, a kimono in the other, and cut heart shaped pieces one by one from the fabric, placing them in a basket before me. The entirety of the performance was spent in this way.
This work was part of a series of installations I created exploring ideas of physical impermanence and the practice of meditation.
Encircling where I sat were small fabric scraps which accumulated from the daily process of cutting. It was similar scraps from the same process which had been used to create the hand-stitched robe that I wore during this installation (see portfolio page: From the Remains for more detailed information of this garment). This performance was envisioned as a way to offer context and narrative to this garment/textile. As for the rest of the costume: the headdress was created from antique Japanese temple tassels, my forearms are wrapped with traditional leggings worn by farmers for field work, under the robe I wore a natural white shirt and pair of pants that were Japanese military undergarments from the turn of the century made (most likely) from hand-spun and hand-woven cloth.
The temple bell would ring to mark the close of every day at which time I would rise and carry the day’s labor forward to the altar. On the floor before the altar is where the basket of heart shaped pieces of kimono would be emptied as an offering to Buddha.
This work was created in 2009 as a Monbukagakusho scholarship recipient while living in Kyoto, Japan.