Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Path to Enlightenment - July 2017

I had been working on different projects that related to the Sisyphus myth and eventually one group of experimental threads coalesced into a resolved performance piece.

It is said that in order to reach a state of enlightenment and experience nirvana, we must first rid ourselves of worldly delusions. Nirvana literally means something like 'extinguishing' or 'quenching' and the flame that we must extinguish is that of greed, hatred and other selfish and worldly obsessions.

I wished to demonstrate such a struggle and in this performance I found a simple, I should say simplistic, method of encapsulating this struggle. In the performance, I act as another Sisyphean character attempting to extinguish the candle that represents the delusions that must be quenched, and as is the nature of the Sisyphean experience, each attempt fails...the candle relights itself. After a period I try again, only to fail again (shades of Beckett's famous line from Worstward Ho: 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better').

This struggle could continue for ever but, thankfully, the candle eventually extinguishes itself after running out of wax and paraffin vapour. So is this the end of the struggle? Perhaps not because as often is the case in life, these tasks are set not by others but by ourselves. We often bring on these torments to ourselves without even realising it.
The beginning of the performance alludes to this, as I am the one who lights the candle thereby initiating the process, which is why I incorporated the lighting of the candle into the performance.

'The Path to Enlightenment' - 2nd July 2017

The recording can also be viewed on my channel here:

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