Artist-Film and Broadcast

Samboghakaya / Samye Ling Monastery, Eskdalemuir [59min DV 2004]

As this was an installation piece I thought it might be helpful to say a little about it.

The video is an inverted reflection in water of a golden figure. The water is relatively calm so you can almost make out a figure, and because it’s inverted the figure is the “right” way up. It’s more or less obvious that this is what has been done. The image has been slightly manipulated to give a little more glow to the centre of the screen, so it slightly throbs.

You can’t quite make out what the figure is, you could say it’s the essense of a person, but not a person at the same time. The water never stays still long enough for you to register the details, so you are left with a kind of “essense body” that only remains in view as long as the natural conditions like the rain and sunlight allow it to exist. As soon as one of these conditions changes, the figure evaporates from the surface. And that’s what happens.

Essentially all the video piece is, is an hour long piece of an image coming into existence and then being blown out of existence. But a curious play of wind makes for an interesting dance, almost a gentle tussle for the survival of the image at one point. But when the energy of the weather dissipates, the water calms and the image is reborn, reborn over and over again.

The piece is based loosely on two Buddhist doctrines, the idea of the “archetype” in Mahayana Buddhism and also the “Bodhisattva Vow.” It was exhibited in a room at Stills gallery in Edinburgh which involved locating it as a shrine, with flower garlands and oils burning geranium essence.