Friday, 16 April 2010

Carving a tree for 12 hours.

I started carving into the tree this week with selected passages from the 'Tibetan Book of the Dead' which is really interesting. I selected a prayer for the dying, about holding back fear and accepting death ready to be reborn once again. Instead of trying to cram too many concepts into the tree design, I have removed the inclusion of a phoenix as well as the ravens. The ravens clearly keep to the theme of death (together with the tree being cut down and consequently killed), whereas the phoenix is just confusing. Instead, I will burn the phoenix and film/photograph/draw/paint from this. The show will therefore consist of the postcards representing the meaning of life, the tree representing death, and the film footage of the phoenix representing rebirth. A full cycle. I think these kinds of projects and exhibitions work well because, whereas a graphic novel or cd cover designs will target certain audiences, the subject matter of life and death is something everyone can and will relate to, something we can't avoid even if we wanted to, we all think about it and at some point will have no option but to face it...


  1. Which poem is this? I can't quite make it out. I've read parts of the Bardo Thodol and found it absolutely fascinating. I think your choice of removing the birds from the tree is a good one. As you say, it clarifies the concept of the piece that way. Anyway, it all sounds really beautiful :)

  2. Thanks :) It's the Bardo prayer which protects from fear... "When the journey of my life has reached its end, and since no relatives go with me from this world, I wander in the bardo state alone, may the peaceful and wrathful buddhas send out the power of their compassion and clear away the dense darkness of ignorance" - stunning isn't it??