BELLS OF MINDFULNESS // LUCAS ARTS RESIDENCY // MONTALVO ARTS CENTRE // CALIFORNIA USA // 2013
The artwork doubles as an experiment, identifying what ‘happens’ when people are invited to engage with an open-ended concept. The project consists of a number of stages, the first of which is a large-scale, outdoor installation made up of compositions using chakra coloured strings and bells suspended from the tree. This initial installation functions as at catalyst for the main body of the work, which comprises the process of audience interaction and engagement. For the last stage of the installation, the audience will be invited to a ceremony where they are asked to take one of the strings of bells away and reinstall the bell in their sacred place initiating the ‘mapping’ of sacred places through social media and photo sharing. Through this a map of the bells will be generated for future audiences to experience the works subtle reincarnations of the moving and shifting bells as the work becomes a living entity.
Bells Of Mindfulness draws on the Buddhist tradition of bell ringing to remind us to exist in the present moment, creating a participatory work that focuses on wellbeing through sound, play and activation. Attempting to create a work that acts as as a catalyst for the sensual experience to aid an internal shift thats helps us to return to self. To achieve this the artist creates the conditions for us to focus on the breath, smile whilst pausing for a moment to take time to experience the simplicity of the artwork and the beauty of the natural surroundings which contain it. Meditation, mediation and repetition in the form of the multiple have become signifiers of Singh's practice related to the notion of the whole represented in parts, which corresponds to our responsibility as a collective entity and our individual roles within that construct. The cranes were left exposed to the elements, slowly dissolving and becoming tattered as the wish is released. In this way they are related to the prayer flags of India and Tibet and echo to the cyclical notion of the bells being installed, deinstalled and reinstalled in their different incarnations.
In sourcing the bells from rural artisans in western India, Singh hopes The Bells of Mindfulness will inspire conversations about the importance of better equity in international trade.