i-ching writing workshop

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I recently held a writing workshop as part of an exhibition of current work by myself and artist Siobhán McDonald at the Joinery gallery. The show was called Alchemical Reserve, you can learn more about it here.

The workshop explored the idea of persistence of vision: In one sense, how the i-ching/the book of changes, a kind of tool for visualizing your path in a time of crisis, has persisted over 1000’s of years, and in another sense, how the technique of film became first manifest through the experiment of the thaumotrope which demonstrated the persistence of vision as perceived by the human eye & mind.

So the way the workshop panned out – I read a little from the i-ching, a quite arbitrary page from it, not at all using it as a divining tool. From this reading, those present scribbled down a few words I read which resonated with them for some reason or other. With those words participants had to write a dialogue – between two of whatever kind, type, or species – wherein one has a question and the other seems to answer with knowledge & authority. (This is all related to my own research and work, and simply was a way for me to discuss some of the ideas that are germinating in my thoughts…)

After about 20 mins writing – everyone was invited to create a thaumotrope that presented two ideas/images/voices/thoughts from their writing, one on each side of the circular disc, threaded with cat gut. When the discs were spun the images seemed to blend together into one… which seems to be something like the ultimate human endeavor across the sciences…

Here’s what I wrote:

Words from I-Ching: Six, Praise, Pleasure, Undertaking, Structure, Spoiled, Favorable, Occupied, Starting Point, Judgement, Joyously, Commentary, Phrase, Weak, Force, Inaction, Hence, The Sequence, Wood, Parents, Love, Prevail.

A Decision

– I don’t know which to choose, I feel spoiled…

+ It’s a Dark undertaking, to choose.

– Favorable, The Sequence though.

+ Indeed.

– I am no clearer, what should I do?

+ What do you want, friend?

– Pleasure.

+ Ah, that daft phrase…

– Well, it wasn’t a phrase, it’s a word I mentioned…

+ Six structures you need to answer this question.

– What question?

+ Which you should choose…

– Oh yes… which… This occupied judgement wrecks me…

+ It does so because you have no taste for praise. Your undertaking is weak.

– That’s easy for you to say – you have little choice to make, you twerp of a tree!

+ Abuse and inaction will lead you no where, or if anywhere to ulceration – be warned young leaf!

– If I had parents I’d prevail, but instead I have you. Nonsense world this.

+ Why choose at all, young leaf – why not Love?

– There is wood in your words tree.

+ I speak with force youngling: but Love & your choices dissovle.

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