Unus mundus is a project for a video-installation in which two mandalas are projected on square surfaces or displayed on screens. Each mandala is the result of the collage of a series of videoclips taken during the Kumbh Mela of 2016 reproduced with the original sound.
The experience lasts 10 minutes and can be played in a loop.
This work of art originated with a situationist dérive through the Kumbh Mela, done for a different purpose during an artist residency for India Habitat Center. Later the material has been reassembled in subsequent stages of form and figuration, the last of which is represented by this installation.
ACTION: for four days I let my self go “a la dérive” through the Kumbh Mela, usually between 5 and 11am and between 3 and 7pm, intentionally losing myself in the infinite mass of people and the endless choice of possible itineraries. I carried with me my camera and a tripod to capture my impressions in a series of short videoclips. During my dérive I encountered many different settings: the puja of the faithful down by the river in the morning, the Aghori Sadhu making their offerings during a ceremony, the Hijras, intersex transgender dancers welcoming pilgrims who have come to receive their blessing and their ministration, groups of Sadhu smoking chillooms, but mainly episodes and scenes of daily life during the festival. These scenes opened up before me as I followed the flow and trusted that fate or synchronicity would produce new encounters along the trajectory of a mysterious geometry.
The fleeting organicity of the Kumbh Mela may be retrieved by using a symbolic system, something that might favor the perception of an interconnected whole and collect the sequence of scenes encountered during the dérive, while never abandoning the erratic pulse of the collective dimension. This attempt may be seen as a continuation of man’s eternal need to resort to symbols to bring together that which is both one and manifold, in the attempt to construct an exchange between the situationist theory of the dérive,cosmology, videoart, and archetypal psychology.
The elements of this installation are:
- an empty space;
- two mandalas projected on square surfaces;
- the perception of the spectator who will stand between the two mandalas as if in a metaphysical space enclosed by two parentheses.
“The ‘field’ of the collective unconscious, conceived of as isomorphic with the field of natural numbers, is, however, not randomly or chaotically/partially organized, but seems to be ordered by a higher energic center, which Jung called the archetype of the Self. This, when represented statically (as in the mandala), seems to exhibit quaternary structures; however, looked at more closely, it is rather, as Jung explained in his book Aion, a dynamic sequential structure of the following character: which in turn is connected with a similar structure found in the I Ching, in geomancy, and also, last but not least, in the DNA and RNA code.”
Marie-Louise Von Franz, Psyche and Matter.
The two mandalas draw their inspiration respectively from the mandala of Primal Arrangement, or Mandala of the Earlier Heaven, and from the mandala of the Inner World Arrangement, or Mandala of the Later Heaven. (I Ching)
The Primal Arrangement may be likened to the genotype.
The Inner World Arrangement may be likened to the phenotype.
FROM CHAOS TO COSMOS
The roots of the unfolding of the Kumbh Mela lie in mythical times and in the founding experience produced by the collective conscience, which classifies it as a cosmogonic event. For this reason, the installation illustrates it in the attempt of recreating a cosmogonic process of its own in which a temporal axiom and a spatial axiom permeate one another in the generation of events.
The spatial dérive is itself a cosmogonic experience because of its creative unfolding, but it takes place in a straight line. By means of its organized totality, the mandala can collect in itself all the events of a dérive that has taken place in a straight line (at least as far as the temporal plane is concerned), winding it up like a snake (or like a roll of film!) to form a concentric structure in which all times and all spaces coexist. Thus, we obtain the interaction of two spatial systems that distinguish our vision of the world: the peripheral and the cosmic.(Arnheim, The Power of the Center).