Kaleidoscope of the Universes
2015 - 2016
In Buddhism, mandala is the painting representing the universe/cosmos. The word originates from Sanskrit, which means “cosmogram” or “world in harmony.” For Tibetan tantric Buddhism, the mandala is drawn by monks using colourful sand during a ritual, and immediately destroyed when the image is finished as the closure of the ritual. The mandala symbolises all the living creatures and the gods, the origin of universe, and its immediate destruction signifies the impermanence of existence. The mandala mirrors how the creators of the mandala understand the world, an image of the universe that was apparent to the people living back in the time.
Nowadays, Science has given explanation to many mysterious things. The imagery of Mandala no longer represent the truth but a religious view.
Could we possibly ‘update’ the imagery of Mandala to our current understanding of the world? What will it represent? How can the mandala reflect our relationship and our projection of the universe nowadays?
Kaleidoscope of the Universes is a project that attempts to find a new agency for modern human within the structure of ancient rituals. Using the notion of actual sand (soil) to culture and isolate microbes to expend the invisible biological universes for our unaided eyes, with a 3D printer controlled by brainwave as our new tool for drawing, which constructs the modern growing mandala as the reflection of our perceivable universe.
The project is divided into three major parts: 1) the tool for drawing, 2) the ritual, and 3) the performance of meditation. The tool for drawing is a microorganism printer controlled by brainwave meditation, along with a ‘canvas’ (growth medium) for the microbes. The ritual is to redesign a process for using this ‘drawing machine’ for meditation. The spiritual purification of incense becomes the actual sterilisation of a microbiological protocol. The third part - Meditation - is the performative part. Each mandala that is drawn is one reflective experience, and each time the result is different. This part will be filmed, and the mandalas will be kept and grown. This performance will be continuously performed throughout a few weeks. In the end, the growing mandalas will be the record of the meditation.
Research Blog at http://modernmandala.peiyinglin.net/blog
3D Printer Software & Hardware Design: Luis Díaz, David Pello, Fablab Asturias, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial
3D Printer Software & Hardware Consultant: MinShu Huang
Microbiology Consultants: Professor Chun-Yao Chen from Environmental Microbiology Laboratory, Tzu-Chi University, and Fenix Cheng-Tsung Pan
NTMOFA, Taipei City Government- Department of Cultural Affairs, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Industrias ROKO