Romanian-born, Texas based artist Adela Andea creates complex light sculptures and installations using LED and CCL lights along with pulsing electrical components.
I’ve not seen any of these pieces in person, but if they are this hypnotically beautiful in photographs, I am sure it’s exponentially more pleasurable to be present in their divine light.
Andea has said that she strives to create “futuristic eco-systems….that ebb and flow between organic biological forms and glowing technological systems”. Her oeuvre varies widely, but the work that resonates with me is irresistably dynamic. My favorite pieces have a palpable exuberance that is a welcome respite from much of the technologically vanguard artwork I see that tends to highlight the dystopian.
She recently showed at this year’s Art Basel Miami, and has had multiple solo exhibitions in her home state of Texas, including an early 2011 show entitled “Bioluminescence”.
(Lux, Lumens and Candelas, 2010, split looms, foam, various plastics, CCFL, LED and light bulbs)
Biologically speaking, this is the production and emission of light by a living organism. How, you ask? By the interaction of a light-emitting molecule called luciferin with an oxidizing enzyme called luciferase. Fireflies, glow worms, and an estimated 90% of deep-sea marine life, such as the glass squid, Caridean shrimp, and the impressively psychedelic comb jellyfish possess this ability. Here’s the latter in action:
Scientists now know that bioluminescence is generally used for luring prey, repelling predators, attracting a mate, and/or inter- and intra-species communication, though most discoveries and advancements in the field have taken place only recently, in the last 15 years. In 2008, three biochemists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which was first isolated from the bioluminescent Aequorea Victoria jellyfish. With the aid of GFP, researchers have developed ways to watch processes that were previously invisible, such as the development of nerve cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread. This comprehensive academic review from January 2010 details all of the recent discoveries that, with the help of new methods and technology, have brought about great advances in understanding of the molecular basis of bioluminescence, its physiological control, and its significance in marine communities.
Most bioluminescent organisms in the marine environment generate light in response to mechanical stimulation, which often leads to brilliant displays in the wakes of ships and in breaking waves. Dinoflagellates are the most common sources of bioluminescence at the surface of the ocean. A single cubic foot of seawater will usually yield several thousand single-cell dinoflagellates, each, when excited, a living minuscule ember. This makes for an otherworldly visual display:
(photo by Kit O’Carra)
(photo by Joshua Wu)
The most consistent and concentrated displays of surface-level bioluminescence are in Puerto Rico. It is home to three bioluminescent bays: the Laguna Grande in Fajardo, Parguera Biobay in La Parguera, (though overboating, pollution, and other human intervention has greatly reduced its bioluminescence), and most impressively, Mosquito Bay in Vieques. Visit during the New Moon for maximum glow.
I’ll leave you with a bioluminscent lullaby:
(Artwork and photo by Christian Roth)
Silence certainly has its place in yoga and meditation, but I also love a good spiritual soundtrack. This Transcendent Music series will highlight high-vibration music that can be an enhancement to your practice. I will first introduce you to Saito Koji‘s latest fuzzwash fantasy, Guide.
From the always-impressive Disquiet.com:
“A new year calls for a stellar dawn, a gaping-maw drone that captures the power of change caught at its attenuated fulcrum, when night turns every so slowly into daylight. In other words, it calls for Saito Koji‘s Guide, his recent release on the estimable Restingbell netlabel. The album contains eight drones, all slow as could be, and brief, too, keeping to under three minutes. There are occasional beats to be heard here, like the echoed presence of what sounds like a wooden stick rattling on a track titled “Saihate,” but otherwise this is music that locates the white-noise space between cicadas and church organs. And though the three-minute maximum length keeps the project as a whole moving, there are no admonitions against setting any one of them on loop. Here, by way of example, is “Peace”, which has a circulating melody that sounds like a bellow instrument, and a thick wash of what could be a nearby waterfall.”
If you love it and want more, the whole album is available for free here.
(photo by Paolo Roversi for British Vogue)
I have always been drawn to headwear, especially when it is worn for a spiritual purpose. My best friend growing up was (and is) a devout Muslim, and I was always fascinated by her hijab and the connection it had to her identity. I also loved all of the beautiful fabrics, patterns and styles of scarves, and recognized the instant mystique that one has when they resolutely commit to a particular head garment.
As an adult, I am better able to relate to her experience, as I have become fond of wearing turbans. The reaction to it varies widely. I get compliments from fashionistas, quizzical looks on the subway, and my dear father genially informed me that I look like a terrorist. When I teach yoga, when I’m walking down the street, waiting for a train, or otherwise out and about, I am often asked, “Why the turban?”.
I am most connected to the lineage of Kundalini Yoga, which has ties to Sikhism (though they are separate disciplines). In traditional Sikhism, men cover their heads with turbans, and woman cover theirs with a draped scarf, or chunni. Many women wear turbans too.
(photo by Daniel Echeverri)
(photo by Gupt Kuri)
There are various reasons cited for this choice of headwear. It is a practical way to contain the hair, as most Sikhs never cut theirs. There can also be an element of historical deference, as all their gurus wore turbans. For most, the wearing of the turban has a multi-faceted significance that is rooted in one’s own particular spiritual (and human) experience. The turban is the “self-crowning of the individual”. It is a statement of inner commitment, a reminder to be conscious of our actions. It is an affirmation that we are all regal, and should both behave and treat ourselves accordingly.
Though I am not a Sikh, many of their reasons for wearing a turban make sense to me. I don’t wear it all the time, but when I do, I feel elevated and better able to be a disciplined, patient and compassionate human. I aspire to possess the ability to live in a perpetual state of consciousness without the aid of any external reminders, but this may be a lifelong pursuit. In the meantime, I’ll utilize the turban. It’s a bonus that they can also look quite chic.
So in short, for me it’s part internal reminder, part spiritual statement, and part fashion statement. That’s what I love about the freedom of sartorial expression. We don’t have to justify our appearance to anyone, but when we choose to discuss such choices, we can learn a lot about one another.
(photo courtesy of Sivananda Online)
Savasana is about releasing the physical body. Yoga Journal has a good explanation of the subtleties of the pose, but all you really have to do is lie on your back, with your arms comfortably at your sides, palms facing up. Feet should be slightly apart. Let your breath come naturally, and be open to letting go.
It can be a challenge to quiet the mind during this asana, but it will come in time. Practice enjoying the pose’s therapeutic value, wherever you’re at with it.
This video provides a comprehensive guide to a deeply relaxing Savasana experience. There’s not much to look at, so once you understand the basics of the posture itself, lie down and let the audio be your guide:
(video courtesy of Lulu Hoop)
With a little practice, you’ll be much better able to relax, and can call upon this technique as needed in life. Seasoned practitioners can put this skill to use in the strangest of places!
(photo courtesy of Elephant Journal)
As a female musician, it always warms my heart whenever I see a woman playing some badass guitar. I felt the same way when I first discovered Sister Rosetta.
Break the habit of ignoring the breath. Just because we don’t have to expend effort to breathe, don’t take it for granted! The quantity, quality, and circulation of the breath creates the foundation for a vital and creative life. Mastery of the breath promotes health and vitality, assists in controlling the moods, develops concentration, and brings about a feeling of connectedness. In the earthly realms, breath comes first, and then the expression of the word follows according to the energy given to it by the breath. We must first cultivate the breath and then value each word we speak aloud or mentally. Yogis also believe that when you inhale, you’re taking in life force, or prana. When you exhale, you are releasing the eliminating force, or apana. We strive for an equal prana-apana balance.
(photo by Diego Diaz)
The mechanics of breathing begin with the lungs, which reside in a chamber created by the ribs, rib muscles, and diaphragm. Elastic tissue within the lungs allows then to expand and contract. Contraction of the rib and diaphragm muscles creates a vacuum in the chamber, which forces the lungs to expand and fill with air. When the diaphragm and rib muscles relax, the elastic tissue returns the lungs to the original size, expelling the air. Breathing provides waste removal and oxygen for cells throughout the body. It also creates a rhythmic movement of the spine, and pumps the cerebrospinal fluid. Controlling the rate of breath can also alter the heart rate. Movement of the diaphragm helps pump the lymphatic fluid and massages the abdominal organs.
(photo courtesy of Miles Kelly)
Long Deep Breathing is a foundational yogic technique that utilizes the full capacity of the lungs. When you first experiment with this conscious breathing technique, try putting your left hand on the belly, right hand on the chest to feel the movement of the diaphragm. Sit with a straight spine, shoulders relaxed, eyes closed. Or if you’d prefer a supine experience, lie down on your back, arms at your sides, palms facing up. Long Deep Breathing starts with the inhalation, as you fill the abdomen, then expanding the chest, and finally lift the upper ribs and clavicle. The exhale happens in reverse. First the upper lungs deflate, then the middle, and finally the abdomen pulls in and up, as the navel point pulls back toward the spine and the lungs are emptied completely.
This practice is essential for the release of tension. It promotes relaxation by balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Long, deep, and conscious breathing also increases oxygen intake, cleanses the blood of carbon dioxide to make the blood more alkaline, speeds up the physical and emotional healing process, and helps to break unconscious habit patterns and addictions. All these benefits can come from doing what you intuitively know how to do!
(courtesy of Arjen Kaur)
(photo by Jerome Bonnet)
Legendary auteur, musician, artist, occasional nightlife impresario, and swoopy-coiffed inspiration David Lynch has just donated $1 million to his foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program, which offers courses in Transcendental Meditation to soldiers and veterans.
This comes on the heels of a recent pilot study that explored the affects of Transcendental Meditation on Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans afflicted with Post-Traumantic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which affects an estimated 25-40% of our veterans. The study was lead by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D., a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University, renowned psychiatrist and 20+ year NIH researcher, and author of “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation”. A selection of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans undertook a disciplined Transcendental Meditation practice, and the resulting data showed a 50 percent reduction in their symptoms of PTSD after just eight weeks.
The Operation Warrior Wellness program is the newest initiative of the David Lynch Foundation, whose Global Outreach program has brought TM to schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, as well as American Indian communities. Lynch has been a longtime practitioner and advocate of Transcendental Meditation, a silent mantra meditation technique based on ancient Vedic practices that was developed and popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the mid-1950s.
“When you dive within, that true happiness is there…it’s like a strength, it’s so beautiful…it’s bliss. Physical, mental, spiritual happiness starts growing from within.” Well-said Mr. Lynch, and thank you.
I experienced this work of art at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea in 2009, and it changed my life.
The piece was installed in the very back room. I approached this innocuous white cube, having absolutely no idea what might be revealed inside.
I walked in, and stood motionless on a small platform surrounded by water. It was essentially a small house of mirrors lit only by hanging lanterns. The illumination endlessly proliferated in the walls, ceiling, and watery floor, and I found myself surrounded by the most heavenly glow I’ve ever experienced. The sense of inexhaustible space was not overwhelming, just peaceful. I saw infinity and felt similarly infinite.
(photo by Andrew Russeth)
Kusama’s experience of her own work, however, is quite different. A self-described “obsessive artist”, her artwork has developed from a combination of near-lifelong hallucinations and obsessive compulsive disorder. She began producing her mirrored Infinity Rooms in 1965, when she explored the concept of infinity as the palpable extension of the visions she was having. She was first committed to a mental hospital in Tokyo in 1975, and has resided there ever since, working in a studio near the hospital.
Yayoi Kusama remains an inspired creator, having shown in many major exhibitions over the last 40 years, including a comprehensive traveling retrospective in 1998. She has taken her rightful place among the pantheon of important and influential modern artists, and continues to express herself utilizing various media. This particular piece took 7 years to make, and was completed in time for her 80th birthday.