I The Flame
Performance (Long Durational)
175 Hours (22 days)
Marina Abramovic Institute MAI (bacc, Bangkok Art Biennale 2018)
©Vandana The Artist
Photo by Preecha Pattara, Courtesy Vandana The Artist
This performance is an experiment and an effort to shift the level of consciousness from Concentration to Awareness and from thinking to Not thinking. It explores the connection and the relationship one has with one’s own Self using the burning candle as a tool to avoid thinking.
When the mind is thinking, imagining or recalling past, it is absent from the present because of the lost connection with the Inner Self – The Happy State! The gesture of constantly gazing at the flame is a challenge for the mind to stay in the present moment. I remind my mind by audibly saying – I’m looking at the flame., to come back to the present moment again whenever any thought crosses my mind.
I light a new candle if the eyes look away from the flame by chance. I light another candle just before the current candle is going to be finished to maintain the constancy and flow of the energy, and an uninterrupted smooth shifting of the gaze from one to another flame.
The automatic prolongation of the very basic movements of eating, walking and sitting in the performance due to the constant connection with the flame indicates the irony of our being disconnected and lost most of the time in our day-today life while doing the same acts without awareness, in other words, actually not experiencing the living of life!
The title of the piece, I The Flame, directly comes from the phenomenon of oneness and reunion, in other words, identification with the Inner Self or the Soul who actually resides in a body in form of a flame as described in Hindu scriptures.