*Photography

A journey into zen by mirena

A journey into zen - a year after I returned from Japan I left my six figures job and the beautiful apartment by Golden Gate bridge, donated my car & sold my possessions and moved to New York. It is not that I decided, upon returning to America, to throw away everything out of the windows, instead the ideas and images of zen reverberated and made me ask questions. I started asking what it is to have? Which became part of the I have everything project and questions. You are not going to find Nirvana if you get rid of your possessions. But you are going to find out everything about yourself and the people around you. Guaranteed. I personally did not want to find Nirvana, the best things can’t be said, can’t be had - but I sure didn’t want to spend the precious moments given to me by whatever process is responsible for self-awareness, I didn’t want to spend these moments worrying about particle board.

So here's me getting rid of the rest of the particle board I own, in the dumpsters somewhere in central Florida.

…………… I have been working on my Japanese Garden book on the train and someone asked me if I am into horticulture. I am not into horticulture, I have had plants in the past but never really invested my time into the care and observation of plants. I like people, and that area I find extremely interesting. I realized that in Japanese gardens there is the absence of horticulture, there all seems to have been carefully arranged to invoke a natural feeling. …………. You are not going to discover yourself if you sell your couch, but you will discover yourself if everything you have is yourself. It all ties back to Thoreau and goes all the way back to ancient times. You don’t sit on the couch for Nirvana, it is human nature to seek comfort from the unknown in possessions.

This is not a recipe for happiness and often is the recipe for all kinds of disasters, but  is the recipe for truth. ……………..

I have always been fascinated with objects, they are to me artifacts and I study them like an archaeologist would. Objects are like little octopus, it holds strings that reach back to the very moment it was made. The strings wrap around various objects and spaces and hold tightly onto the owner. Then they create memories and experiences for the owner and grow more attachment strings. The octopus can move between owners and spaces and its filaments reach further and wide. Until discarded. The lives of objects are fascinating to me, I imagine that in the grand scheme of things in the universe each object we humans create is quite special. An artifact of a civilized existence. I realized that my I have everything project is not really about getting rid of objects per se but rather about the fascinating lives of objects and their termination and conversion into other matter. ……………… I highly recommend poverty for a little while. …………… You have to remember that there are very few people that would understand, there is one thing you need to know and that is that you will need to take the journey alone, very few people would be willing to willingly come along. Don't force them.

My dad never really forgave me, leaving behind everything anyone ever really wanted, six figure salary, beautiful home, great job, beautiful area to live in. All this on the surface sounded great but

I was oppressed by possessions and the bourgeois way of life.

 

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Japanese Zen Gardens and I Have Everything Project by mirena

Japan, and the way of Zen, had a profound effect on me. I had seen how the absence of a thing creates meaning, of the thing itself. I sat on the sidelines of a sand pit, with rocks in it, and this gave me a very meaningful experience - I got in touch with something within myself that was a part of the bigger world around me.. and this experience made me realize how connected I am to everything without actually owning it or having a formal relationship with it, or even an intellectual understanding of it. It was the absence of everything that we expect to give us a worthwhile experience ( in the west ). I returned to the sand pit several times. And went on to other similar gardens around Kyoto and had several days of uninterrupted near bliss which i have not had the capacity to explain as I am not a Buddhist and this wasn't a religious experience, I didn't have any crutches to stand on. The Whale – Rock and Sand Dry Landscape Zen Garden at Ryoan-ji Temple, Kyoto

Around a year after the trip to Japan I decided to sell and donate most of my possessions and move to New York City. I had built a substantial cache of things and had a pretty lifestyle, this is all i want to say about it. The possessions that surrounded me had started to take a large amount of my time and resources. all required not only dusting,  regular care and space to inhabit - they needed use. It means I had to sit around playing with my possessions to put them to good use or find them storage, organize them properly and so on. Imagine the amount of time it takes to properly care for a house full of stuff. Sounds like a lifetime.

Now  I don't really recommend doing a big shed unless you are properly motivated.  Short of putting on a robe or having another"proper" context  - it is hard to explain or relate such a move to anyone. At the time I wanted to find self-worth beyond what I had, and beyond my commercial work. I found that with being constantly fed a program i had atrophied my own capacity for self-motivation and self-tasking which is essential for independent artists. I left my apartment in San Francisco and moved to a small room in Harlem. Till this day  i only feel relief and not a single drop of regret or doubt.

 

my studio on 3535 Fillmore st in San Francisco - one of the priciest and greatest places on earth

the room with red Chair in Harlem

What does it mean? Nothing, it really has no meaning to anyone or no purpose beyond what it really was - i did my first hand drawing in this room and because I had no distractions whatsoever and no other model - a whole body of work emerged focused on my personal space.

I often come back to the big shedding of things as it was really fascinating to watch all the stuff go. Each object I sent away had a connection to my life and held a string to a particular event or reflected on a particular experience. None was trivial, I always felt an object had a permanent bond to their owner on account of us being blobs and constantly absorbing molecules from our surroundings. Thus emerged the what I call "I Have Everything project". There was no intent for any of it to become any sort of project, simply had to photograph each item for either craigslist or ebay.. at different times, both in San Francisco and New York city.

Saks Fifth Avenue evening gown I wore to the Met opera, complete with a box seats ( if you have ever shown up to the met overdressed and ll eyes are on the gown and the bare back )

Saks Fifth Avenue evening gown I wore to the Met opera, complete with box seats ( if you have ever shown up to the met overdressed and all eyes are on the gown and the bare back ), unforgettable moment which I never repeated. Since, I have always gone to the Opera in jeans and a jacket, standing room only. In fact the standing room area at the Met Opera is the most fun as you have often a reason to get a conversation going with others on the railings. The gown went on ebay.

 

Had to question every single thing I was taught, and the whys outweighed the dos.

My Tae-Kwon-Do Yellow Belt.

My Tae-Kwon-Do gear. Had to question every single thing I was taught, and the whys outweighed the dos. Eventually realized I cannot be completely conscious and kick or hit another human.. Loved the color of the yellow belt.

Tae Kwon Do was not a trivial or trifle experience, I learned much about it and what creates a mastery of movement. The same thing that creates mastery in anything - practice. Once you have practiced poomse 10,000 times - you become one with motion, with the  air around it and enter a zone of being. Never became Jackie Chan but appreciated him more. along with the doing I needed questions answered and a meaning built around it that I could't find in kicking itself, although i enjoyed it physically. I loved kicking paddles, not humans. The favorite lesson form Tae Kwon Do was the fact that my teacher, Mr K, always said commit the kick vs simply saying "kick" it.  Commit the kick to me contained the whole philosophy of martial arts which is repetition and becoming one with air. Or with chairs as is the case with Jackie, it is an Art form after all.

This set got left i believe on the streets of Brooklyn. Perhaps I still have the belt.

The trusty jetta donated to KQED.

The trusty jetta got donated to KQED. Bay Bridge, 101 taught me to appreciate audiobooks. I learned a bit of Japanese in this car, mostly during San Mateo bridge commutes.

Upack. I named a drawing later on after these events: "New York One Way".

 

Still have the ladder.

 

A small photograph from an obscure book

about a dry waterfall and a poem from Hyakunin isshu that read:

“Though the sound of the cascade long since has seized we still hear the murmur of its name”

Fashion in an Age of Technology at The Met by mirena

Fashion in an Age of Technology at The Met

 

When you look at the first (3-D-Printed) piece made, you can see the fine lines of the print. You can see how the piece has been built up. In one millimeter, there are up to ten lines. It’s almost like a fingerprint - it’s as detailed as your fingerprint… It was inspired by the way limestone deposits from shells. With 3-D printing, I am very much drawn to the organic.

Iris van Herpen

 I call this the the Matrix dress! NEON DANS LA NUIT SUIT 1990/91 hand embroidered with fluorescent stripes

I call this the the Matrix dress!

NEON DANS LA NUIT SUIT 1990/91 hand embroidered with fluorescent stripes

3-D-printed polymer 2014 Noa Raviv “While working (with) 3-D software i was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2-D screen and by the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects.”

 

3-D-printed polymer 2014 Noa Raviv “While working (with) 3-D software i was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2-D screen and by the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects.”
1968 Egg Carton Dress

 

1968 Egg Carton Dress

Modern Egg Carton Dress 2015

Modern Egg Carton Dress 2015

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIO 2010

 

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIO 2010

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1990

 

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1990

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1990 - same dress flat

 

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1990 - same dress flat

My favorite! It is all about the name and it has got spirit. MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1994 Flying Saucer Dress

 

My favorite! It is all about the name and it has got spirit.

MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIOS 1994 Flying Saucer Dress

BAHAI 3-D-printed Fractal weave dress - with six degrees of fractal growth.

 

BAHAI 3-D-printed Fractal weave dress - with six degrees of fractal growth.

3-D latticework dress 2015 Iris van Herpen

 

3-D latticework dress 2015 Iris van Herpen

3-D printed dress using stereolithography. it was built layer by layer in a vessel of liquid polymer. The polymer hardens when struck by a laser beam.

 

3-D printed dress using stereolithography. it was built layer by layer in a vessel of liquid polymer. The polymer hardens when struck by a laser beam.

Alexander McQueen 2012

 

Alexander McQueen 2012

Laser cut white foam 2013

 

Laser cut white foam 2013

Noir Kei Ninomiya 2015-16

 

Noir Kei Ninomiya 2015-16

 

Noir Kei Ninomiya 2015-16

Fashion in an Age of Technology at The Met

 

Bye!