For the narrative project, I have chosen to explore the theme of meditation, as it is something that I have been practising for several months, and has positively benefited my daily life as a result. Therefore, I would like to give people the opportunity to understand what meditation as a practice means to me.
In context to my illustration practice, I will visually explore the reasons in which I would choose meditate (i.e. to reflect on the anxieties caused by the stresses of everyday life), the physical processes and factors involved with the practice and the after effect that the process has on me.
I have a tendency to get quite stressed and anxious, especially when I have a lot to do and think about. So, sometimes it is easy to get lost within your own thoughts, and it is at this point where you feel that you need to take some sort of action to relieve the stress. I realise that I am stressed/worried when my heart feels like a fast beating drum lodged in my throat. It forces my breathing to become fast and shallow and you can see the worry in face and body seems to completely tense up, and almost retracting into itself.
Once I start to meditate, the mind goes into overdrive and thoughts rush around, here there and everywhere. After a while they seem to slow down and thoughts are acknowledged, but not explored. After a time thoughts merely trickle through the mind and it becomes easier to think clearly. After the meditation session has concluded, I feel calm, but alert and the worries of life don’t seem to bother me as much as they did previously.
Given that meditation occurs over a period of time and that it encompasses all of the senses, I think it is appropriate to use a time-based medium to illustrate the theme of meditation in an interactive way, in the form of a film installation. I hope that the installation will provide a visual and sensory journey for the viewer of my personal experience of meditational practice.
During the physical act of mediation, it is recommended that when you begin a meditation session that you start counting from one to ten continually until you feel that your thoughts have settled, as initially it is difficult to control the flow of thoughts, mental commentary, analysis and internal ‘gossip’ within the mind. The breath is used as a counting gauge, one inhalation and exhalation of the breath is equalled to one count. This aspect of the practice will help to portray TIME, which is one of the elements of a narrative.
The narrative intent
The film installation will take the form of a film montage to be screened in an interactive space that complements the elements of the film. The film montage will be compiled from a bank of images, film, drawings and sound recordings that I have collated relating to my meditation practice. In order for the installation to be successful, there needs to be an awareness of synchronisation of sound and image – timing is important!!!
What I’ve done so far…
I have worked with a film student to create snippets of film illustrating my meditation practice i.e. sensory acuity of the body, the environment (need to document this). As the project progresses I will decide if I need to create more snippets of film.
I will form the narrative of the film initially through entries from a meditation diary I have been writing for several weeks. I will explore the potential to explore this text and turning it into an internal commentary.
I have also recorded an entire meditation session (with permission) at a Buddhist centre, where I have made recordings of some of the verbal readings that are read before and during the meditational practice. I have also made recordings of distractions and other relative sounds such as a singing bowl, which is often used during meditation. I hope to use and edit some of these recordings and use them in the film installation.
I have also made some simple time lapses and have started experimenting with editing these images together.
I have a meditational blog that I post relevant research and tests.