Finding Indra's Net
gallery images reunion pictures
 

Artist’s Statement:

[from: Visions and Encounters: Recent Work by the Yale College Class of 1994, Yale School of Art Galleries, New Haven, CT, June 2004]


When I was first approached about the Y94 exhibition, I knew that I wanted somehow to make work that addressed the particular circumstances of a class reunion. I also wanted to fit this into the larger concerns of my work, including interactivity between the work and the viewer; devotional practices centered on lists of names; and the blurring of "ordinary" objects and "sacred" space.

I had just finished reading a long commentary by Thich Nhat Hahn on the Avatamsaka Sutra & had been making drawings from the Ashley Book of Knots. The image of Indra's Net seemed perfect: it combines the knots and looping strands of my recent paintings with the notion of interconnectedness which lies at the core of this reunion weekend.

Please take the time to find your own name-node and then use the string provided to connect it with the names of others you know or knew from our class. Let the crazy cat's cradle begin!

 

Indra's Net:

FAR AWAY IN THE HEAVENLY ABODE OF THE GREAT GOD INDRA, THERE IS A WONDERFUL NET WHICH HAS BEEN HUNG BY SOME CUNNING ARTIFICER IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT STRETCHES OUT INDEFINITELY IN ALL DIRECTIONS. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXTRAVAGANT TASTES OF DEITIES, THE ARTIFICER HAS HUNG A SINGLE GLITTERING JEWEL AT THE NET'S EVERY NODE, AND SINCE THE NET ITSELF IS INFINITE IN DIMENSION, THE JEWELS ARE INFINITE IN NUMBER. THERE HANG THE JEWELS, GLITTERING LIKE STARS OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE, A WONDERFUL SIGHT TO BEHOLD. IF WE NOW ARBITRARILY SELECT ONE OF THESE JEWELS FOR INSPECTION AND LOOK CLOSELY AT IT, WE WILL DISCOVER THAT IN ITS POLISHED SURFACE THERE ARE REFLECTED ALL THE OTHER JEWELS IN THE NET, INFINITE IN NUMBER. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT EACH OF THE JEWELS REFLECTED IN THIS ONE JEWEL IS ALSO REFLECTING ALL THE OTHER JEWELS, SO THAT THE PROCESS OF REFLECTION IS INFINITE.


from THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA
FRANCIS H. COOK, HUA-YEN BUDDHISM : THE JEWEL NET OF INDRA, 1977.