Archive for the ‘Fluxus’ Category

It must be about fifteen years ago that I read an article in National Geographic on Japanese aesthetic.  Just now  I found a reference to it online:  “Shibui: A Messenger of Peace in Nature, Humanity and Diplomacy” by Carol Miller.

Does not the sight of a single leaf, seen through a fence, capture your     breath? In this split second of perception and veneration, motion ceases and mindfulness increases. This moment awakens one to enlightenment and wisdom. This moment is shibui.

I don’t remember the text in that National Geo article but the image of that leaf sticking through a fence has stayed with me.  When I saw the image I didn’t have to be instructed about this “other culture’s “ sensibility. I was already acquainted with the term shibui. But this magazine picture triggered  a moment of recognition.  This was my sensibility and there was a word for it.

Writers like to say, they don’t know what they’re thinking until they write it.  Painters also don’t know what they feel until they have painted it.  Art making is not about premeditation but about recognition and discovery.

About four years ago I built a fence and a little seating enclosure at my side door.  A narrow planter box became part of the structure.  I needed it, actually, to strengthen the whole arrangement, since my carpentry skills are rather feeble.  But I planned it in such a way that the full blast of the annuals would be towards the street, to be seen by the public, while on the private side where the benches are, the inpatients would be peaking through the fence.  That sight is for me.  As I go in and out and muck about my daily chores, there’s a moment of recognition.


All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.




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Fluxus art flourished, or should we say “flowed,” abundantly in the 1960’s.  The word Fluxus comes from Latin “to flow.”  Like its grand-daddy  Dada, Fluxus celebrates chance occurrences and simple everyday objects and events.   It reminds us to pay attention—to see and to listen.  Not just to look and label, but to, errrm,( what other word is there) to see.  Ditto in the auditory department.  Listen!  Wherever you are, you can go into a state of seeing and listening.  Waiting for a bus, waiting for the light to change, waiting for the recitation of the menu to be over, waiting for the water to run hot…take a moment to notice what’s happening in your senses.  Needless to say, this involves a sense of humor.

A great Fluxus moment is presented to us by a snow fall. When you’re done with the shoveling, treat yourself to a walk around the block or just a look around the yard.  Take the camera, it helps you see.  Ten minutes and your optic nerve will tingle and your brain will hummmmm.  Dried grasses and plants take on the look of brush strokes, like calligraphy.

I particularly love what an overnight snow fall does to my back yard sculptures, my lessons of earlier years, cast in stone.  It’s as if they were melting.

Some well-known artists who have worked in the Fluxus mode are John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, and Yoko Ono.

For a useful article on Fluxus turn to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluxus

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