The narrative of the performance references the Chandogya Upanishad, which is originally a Sanskrit text embedded in the Sama Veda and considered to be written between the 8th - 6th Century BCE in India.
The borrowed text was further edited and cites additional questions.
In collaboration with Arvid&Marie
Curated by Bruno Alves de Almeida & Inga Lace
25___ 27 Feb 2021
The Jan Van Eyck Academie invites you to partake in an exercise of imagination and long-term thinking centered around the Intergovernmental Panel on Art and Climate Change (IPACC) — an assumed hybrid between an artistic body and a transnational organisation based on the partnership between the scientific community, policymakers, and art agents and institutions. Its prospects and challenges will be discussed in a speculative role-play between the present and the future generations.
About the event and the entire schedule:
To watch the entire session, follow the link below
Time of performance in the session: 2:45:15 - 2:56:31
Below is the spoken script:
There is no such thing as a private act in this world.
We are so ignorant that we think that the child is born from the womb of the mother. The child is not pushed out of the womb of the mother, as if by magic. It is a tremendous process that takes place throughout the cosmos. All the officials of the government of the universe are active in the production of a single child’s career.
What does it mean to be human?
What does it mean to be a plant, animal or a non human species?
Why do you have the desire to multiply?
The whole universe vibrates with action even if a single baby is to be born somewhere. Not to forget, a newly born child is not a citizen of a particular so called country as described by given geography, rather he is the citizen of the planet earth.
Can you look at Earth beyond boundaries?
Who defines how much one consumes, contributes and digest?
The whole universe feels the presence and the birth of a single child anywhere. So what produces a child is not the father or the mother. It is the whole cosmos that produces. Every event is a universal event. So is the case with the birth of even a human individual. Every birth is a point of universal pressure.
How should you look at the rising numbers of human species in the middle of the sixth mass extinction? Is the rising number of human species responsible for the same?
Can you own each born individual in any part of the world and do you have the capacity to give an equal standard of living to each one of us, irrespective of where you are born? If yes, what happens then? If not, why?
Who defines: Who has the right to consume? Who has the right to produce? Who has the right to dissent? Who has the right to protest? Who has the right to control?
Things are not what they seem; there is a deeper significance behind every visible process or activity in the environment. It is not that events suddenly emerge out into visibility, as if by magic, and that something happens at one stroke.
So, why do you behave as if nothing matters?
Events take place first in the highest heaven, and then their presence is felt gradually in greater and greater density as they come down to the level of more and more grossness and perceptibility and tangibility, as is the case with a disease. The illness does not manifest itself suddenly in the physical body. It happens inside first. Its seed is sown within. There is some kind of event that is taking place in the depths of our personality, and in the recesses of the world.
Why have your ways of living become so extravagant that now you can boast of the water purifiers and air purifiers in your homes?
What happens when a piece of land as big as the size of Egypt, is fed with pesticides for years on a regular basis, and is then put to fire twice a year?
Our life is related to every phenomenon outside, and vice versa. While our way of living has something to do with the activity of the world outside, our life is also dependent on that activity. There is a mutual dependence between the outer world and the inner life of the individual. Our thoughts influence the Atmosphere and vice versa. Many a times we must have heard people saying, “These days people are very bad; so there is no rainfall.”
What is the connection between rainfall and the goodness or the badness of people?
There is a vibration that is generated within every person whenever a thought occurs. Whenever we think something, whenever we feel something deeply, even when we speak something, there is a vibration generated because we do not speak without thinking. There is a thought behind every action or speech.
What are your actions today?
Why are you so greedy? Why are you so selfish? Why are you never satisfied?
Why do you want more and more? What are the effects of your actions?
Naturally, if we take into consideration the cumulative effect of the vibrations produced by all the individuals in the world, we can also contemplate the effect of the vibrations they produce. They disturb the whole atmosphere; they create a magnetic field in the atmospheric realm. And the total effect of the psychic influences set up by the individuals in the world naturally influences the conditions of the manifestation of natural forces. We can obstruct their movement; we can impede their activity; we can interfere with their natural way of working, and so on.
What happens when you interfere with the environment? Are you part of the environment or separate from it?
Based on this concept of the relationship of our life with the activity of the environment outside, the Chandogya Upanishad tells us that our actions are like an oblation offered in a sacrifice. Our activities are not mere impotent movements of the physical body or the limbs; they are effective interferences in the way of the environment.
Are you conscious of your activities?
How much do you consume? How much do you leave behind?
Why do you produce? Why do you reproduce? What is the need?
Unless there is a harmonious give-and-take understanding between us and Mother Nature, Mother Nature will not give anything to us. If we are too greedy, miserly, selfish, self-centered and absolutely averse to the virtue of giving or sharing with others, well, everything will be withheld from us. The earth will withdraw her forces. So the character of the actions, the nature of the actions, the intensity of the actions determines the extent of the consequences.
Can you already imagine the consequences?
Or are you living the consequences?
What are the consequences?
It is then that we notice an adverse action in the environment. And then there is drought; there is poverty; there is catastrophe; sometimes there can be cataclysm also, as the case may be and as the case is right now.
How are you to change? Are you ready to change?
Can you shut down factories and shun the modern lifestyle of buying luxuries, producing plastic, using nuclear power and so on?
How do you solve the pile of problems like racial justice, gender equality, equal distribution of resources and equality of opportunity?
Can the plastic creation factories metamorphose into waste recycling units?
Or, do you simply choose to ignore?
What are the links in the cyclic chain of give-and-take, or coordination and cooperation between the individuals and the whole of the environment.
Are you forgetting this coordination and cooperation? How do you relearn and reteach yourselves about coordination and cooperation amongst us as a species but also amongst inter-species.
Can you proclaim, plants and animals are the new children?