Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's What's Going On Inside That Counts

Woke up to a hazy chocolate-colored sky in Santa Fe with this thought. It's so well-worn its almost trite. But in the perspective of what we've studied so far in this seminar it takes on new meaning.

Some examples from ancient Mesoamerica seem to fit.

Inside of mountains, deep inside caves, the source of water is present. That water is depicted and felt as wind and in later conceptualizations (and almost universally in iconography) depicted as breath emanating from the mouth of a god.

Desert Swirl

Pyramids came to represent mountains. Much less something to climb than a physical representation of water and well-being.

Chichen Itza Landscape

Inside a shell bracelet resides the power and flexibility of the wrist. Thin in proportion to the arm and hand, the wrist harnesses the power of movement.

Power of Movement

In many of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures, sacred bundles were placed inside caves or containers, or closets. The sacred bundles were themselves a phenomenon of the inside, holding perhaps paper, feathers, and other talismans.

Weird Aztec Ceremonial Sculpture

My friends in the Collectivo Tres made "sacred bundles" of basura (garbage) wrapped in ziplock bags and sold them on the Mexico City subway The way people sell chiche (chewing gum) or CDs.

Basura

Inside resides the power, whether it's power of the heart, brain, or hands, a thought as contemporary as it is ancient.

67 comments:

  1. I would like to know more about the sacred bundles of basura that your friends sold in the subway! Why did they do that? Did people actually buy the bags of trash?

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    1. Hello I am Ilana Boltvinik of TRES, we sold Mexican garbage in the streets od Denmark and danish garbage in the streets of Mexico. The results were amazing. Here is a very low res video and you can see some of the reactions: http://vimeo.com/12752563
      Also, the sacred bundles were part of a project called "un archipiélago de olvidos". We collected garbage for 3 months and made these bundles out of it. Our website is chaotic and not finished, but you can get an idea: www.tresartcollective.com or as TRES in Facebook,

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  2. I really like thinking on this concept because I think it relates to so much of what we study in natural science. The power truly does reside inside, especially in environmental structures. Concretely, when we look at the outside of a cave or top of a rock structure, we are hardly scratching the surface of what is going on underneath. Abstractly, similar to the pyramids, each structure means something more than what is appears at first glance. Caves are for shelter, mountains are symbolic of reaching upwards. It is worth pondering.

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    1. I would say the same of garbage.... it contains much information

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  3. The different pictures you have incorporated in this article symbolize how a seemingly simple image or natural artifact is actually complex. The first image is peaceful and easy to visualize, but as I scrolled down, the pictures became increasingly specific and complex.

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  4. The continuum of pictures starts as a very large scene that was not very complex and progresses to a small scenery that has a lot of things going on and I would consider to be more complex.

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  5. The most interesting part of this post is the Sacred Bundles! The foundational pieces are considered "garbage" turned to art? Interesting for sure. Especially the fact that they are then sold just like other commodities.

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    1. The idea was to explore the symbolic values of garbage, and displace them for this "duisgusting" view we usually have of garbage. In the video I posted you can see more.

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  6. This is interesting to think about that we see so many things but only comprehend what is on the outside. I am now beginning to think of all the things I have seen in life and only take note of what is on the outside verses the mystery of what is on the inside.

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  7. I really enjoyed this because it explores the concept that we all value of what's on the inside. Also very surprised because I didn't know there were sources of water inside pyramids!

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  8. The last bundle of basura was very interesting. I would like to know how people reacted to that. Looking deeper is how we continue to educate ourselves and learn so much more about the world and each other.

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    1. here are some of the many reactions we got.... http://vimeo.com/12752563

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  9. Forces you to analyze things on a deeper level, beneath the surface to figure out the significance of objects that you would not normally think of having a symbolic significance. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading about the importance analyzing the inside of things in our environment. Finally, I found it interesting to realize how subjective things of importance can be depending on the beholder.

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  10. I like how this complements the last post we read by continuing the discussion of looking deeper into our subjects than we might have expected to.

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  11. I like how as you scroll down the screen the pictures get more and more complex. This relates to the information you give us because as you dig deeper into art and artifacts they also get more and more complex. This relates to both art and science alike. Initially from just looking at it, something may seem very simple and you fail to recognize the many things going on within it.

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  12. It is interesting how an everyday object in one culture can have a deeper meaning in another culture. The fact that garbage can be sold and is considered sacred really surprises me!

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    1. It is not really seen as sacred to anyone but us, TRES, the collectors or sellers. But there have been many archeological discoveries on cultures based on their trash. The thing is that behind garbage there is much information regarding who and what we are as humasn today.

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  13. I like the common theme throughout this post of thinking about the inside. So much of our society is based on what we first see (phones, people, cars) that most people forget to think about the inside. It relates to the post "Things Hidden and Buried" well because those people had buried beautiful objects to take the mind off of the observable.

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  14. It's interesting that the water, the source hidden in the cave, is felt as wind. The different interpretations of the caves and pyramids as mountains show that the Mesoamerican cultures conceptualized the world around them in terms of nature.

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  15. Im curious if the sacred bundles that your friends made, made of trash was just as sacred as the sacred bundles of the Mesoamerican people.

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    1. I agree, also because they are like tótems of our contemporary age

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  16. I am particularly intrigued by the nature of the "sacred bundles." It is amazing to me that the basura, or garbage, can come to represent something of such magnitude and emotion. This concept connects art to science and shows that a particular topic, situation, or idea can mean much more than what it seems to on the surface.

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    1. You can see some of the reactions: http://vimeo.com/12752563
      Also, the sacred bundles were part of a project called "un archipiélago de olvidos". We collected garbage for 3 months and made these bundles out of it, and the procces made us get deeply involved with garbage and its meaning. Youcan get an idea of this process: www.tresartcollective.com or as TRES in Facebook,

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  17. This looks like the Mexican ruins I visited on my trip to Mexico a few years ago. It was incredible to climb the pyramids and it's even more incredible that they do not protect the ruins so you can experience first hand where the people of the time stood and lived. The connection you feel to societies long before ours just be standing where they stood is amazing.

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  18. It's interesting that pyramids represented mountains, as a symbol of well-being. I had never heard of a "sacred bundle" prior to this, so that seems like a strange concept. I don't quite understand the idea of a bundle of garbage representing power.

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    1. The bundle of garbage represents us as a consumer society thet constantly leaves traces of our lives everywhere.

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  19. I thought that the comparison between the mountains and the pyramids was very interesting. The pyramid in my eyes is very tall because it is meant to be closer to God for the mummy residing inside, and the mountains can also be seen as the mouth of God. Also, the idea of sacred bundles being placed in caves on mountains or in pyramids shows that it will in hopes grab the attention of God. This is highly intriguing because it gives insight into religious rituals.

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  20. It is certainly interesting how people use symbols as a method of thinking about how the world works. If this isn't clear in pyramids, it definitely is in the bags of trash. The fact that people are willing to buy trash because it represents another idea conveys the power of symbolism quite well.

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  21. One thing I find fascinating is the pyramids. Not only are they beautiful but they have large significance in Mesoamerican cultures. I would love to go to Mexico and visit them one day!

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  22. I think the sacred bundles are really interesting. I find it funny how they represent power! The pyramids are also really pretty.

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  23. I thought it was interesting that people of the Collectivo Tres have continued making these "sacred bundles" but in the form of trash. I think this shows that the symbolic representation of something like a "sacred bundle" is much more important than the materials or building blocks it is made of.

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  24. I think it's interesting to learn that the people wanted to buy garbage and gum! What might seem insignificant to one person is important to another.

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    1. and that is how the whole garbage system works, finding value where others do not.

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  25. Isabel Vera

    It is interesting to consider what is on the inside of the phenomena we observe daily or on occasion. We are often accustomed to looking at the simple exterior of our surroundings and take little time to deconstruct the essence and interior of matter when not telling our brains to do so. I find it interesting that when progressing through this post the objects photographed become more complex: we are trained to contemplate a figure such as a mountain or a great artwork such as the pyramid below, yet we hardly take a minute to ponder “bundles of trash” as in your final photograph. I think it is important to question what lies underneath in everyday items, because this often is where the true value lies (ex. Sacred bundles hidden away in caves in the Mesoamerican culture).

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  26. Yina Cordero
    I think this blog conforms the saying “more than meets the eye” because by simply looking at an object for the outside factor is definitely easier but you don’t get the core which holds the true mysteries and gives the object its significance. That’s what makes humans so unique, our ability to look beyond what we can see but dig further and we should use this to our advantage.

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  27. I would love to know more about the sacred bundles of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures! I've always been interested in what ancient people regarded as sacred and found it important enough to burry it in their caves/tombs for the sole purpose of accompanying them to their "after-life." Also, did people actually buy your friend's sacred bundles of basura??

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  28. I think the idea of "what's really going on inside" has always intrigued human beings. Since a long long time ago, humans have been wondering about the mountains and their positions and existence in this world. What they came up with was an architectural representation of a pyramidal well that signifies the water of life. I think many contemporary artists also devote themselves to discover and represent such an idea. Truly, it's the inside that attracts people nowadays. Only the foolish look for the appearance.

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  29. Again, this blog post is just so interesting! I love how you are truly teaching us how to look beyond what's in front of us. Just like we are learning in humanities, to live a cultured and full life is to hone the ability to analyze and discover the world around us. I especially loved the picture of the sacred bundle. Both of the blog posts we read definitely complimented each other. I compliment you on the ability to write such detailed and insightful blog posts.

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  30. The idea of sacred bundles of basura (garbage) epitomizes the saying "from trash to treasure." It's interesting to me that people would want to buy these items, they are not the usual idea of beauty, but they represent something important to the culture of those people!

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  31. It is very interesting to look at the structures and figures from ancient cultures and think about how they compare to those of today. Having the pictures is a very nice visual tool, that helps to take the idea of the image further.

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  32. I find the sacred bundles extremely interesting. It is clear why they are a phenomenon, so many possibilities why they were put in each location and what they were used for. I especially find the picture of the sacred person interesting because it shows an insight into this phenomena.

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  33. The sacred bundles is something I would definitely like to know more about. How well did these sell in Mexico City? I wonder if people now are aware that the idea came from Mesoamerica.The image of the mountain with water inside and the wind being the mouth of god is something I have never heard before and something I think is super interesting and unique.

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  34. I was very interested in the basura, or the trash in the ziplock bags was a very interesting thing. In America that would seem bizarre, but it is very cool that to another culture it is appreciated. I also found the mountains with the caves and water inside interesting because it proves the title of the article that what's going on on the inside is what counts. The mountain just seems like an average, boring mound, but to other cultures it represented water and thus, survival.

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  35. The thing that sticks out to me here is the fact that ancient cultural elements have preserved themselves as modern consumer items. Despite the ancient design and meaning, they have found new meaning and relevance to a new society living in the sane location.

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  36. It's weird to think about what is going on underneath the surface. The fact that past cultures took such an interest in what lies beneath is probably evidence of where they thought a higher spirit was hidden among us. It was the force that made things work. While we hold an understanding of some of the intricacies in every day life today, it is cool to think about where that knowledge started

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  37. Looking beyond initial impressions and examining the inner meaning behind a piece of art is key to fully understand it. Behind each of these structures and artifacts lies a rich history portrayed in the many symbolic features in the artwork. To decode the symbols gives the viewer a glimpse of the culture that produced the art.

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  38. Although I was unable to see the picture of the shell bracelet, the description really intrigued me. It is amazing how much meaning can go into such a simple item. Personally, I love jewelry and I have so many bracelets that mean something to me because someone special gave it to me, or I got it for a special occasion. But, i have never thought about the power of the bracelet, along with the materials it was made of.

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  39. I find this theme really interesting. The idea of there being so much meanings and discoveries behind everything that is beyond first glance. Many things are beyond the eye, and may never even be discovered. I liked the "bundle" and thinking about where all the garbage would have come from.
    Gabrielle Kanellos

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  40. I think the point of this blog is exactly what the title says. As cliche and ordinary as it is, it is definitely a residual thought that you've clearly examined upon your travels. People tend to see things for what they concretely are.. i.e the pyramid being a beautiful structure or the sacred bundles just being aesthetically pleasing. But these things are sacred for a reason - beyond their explicit beauty lies an implicit concept that needs to be recognized in order for the true beauty to be appreciated. It's almost like without seeing "what's going on inside" one cannot see something for what it really is.

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  41. I think this is really interesting because it represents the importance and relevance of symbolic references and representations in the way we think and the way we perceive things. We don't purchase things because of what they actually are, but because of what the represent and the meaning behind the object.

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  42. I find it interesting how people were buying "sacred bundles" of garbage. But I guess that just shows the difference between cultures. I think the Mexican people have a drastically different set of beliefs that allow them to see beauty in the most unlikely places.

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  43. Looking at these pictures is incredible. Seeing how they pyramid and it's comparison to the mountain really makes you wonder about the thought process the builders of these structures had. It makes me wish we could communicate with the builders and get their perspectives.

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  44. We all have different ideas of what is aesthetic and what is not. Here we see that pyramids and other structures represent more than what the actual eye can see. Each person's interpretation is different, and sometimes that interpretation spans out to a big group of people, allowing that interpretation to seem objective.

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  45. The pictures of the pyramids amaze me. I love the idea of the conceptualization of the architecture, especially how some structures represent water, and how the wind can be symbolic as the breath of God.

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  46. Jaime Stilwell-
    I found the symbolism of the pyramids to be very interesting. A pyramid embodies a mountain in many respects-- color, shape, presence.. even so in the physical activity that takes place on both a mountain and a pyramid (upward motion)

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  47. I found it interesting to think about what is behind the surface of things in this post. Especially with the pyramid and what it symbolizes. Even though I know of many famous pyramids, I had never given much thought to what they represent. I also found the sacred bundles to be fascinating.

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  48. This post was very similar to the post on "things hidden and buried." We, as humans who are very attached to the use of senses, often only think about the exterior of an object, but often it is what inside that is the most intricate or beautiful.

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  49. I never put together that Pyramids and mountains had a symbolic connection. I always thought that Pyramids were just man made creations that symbolize a respect for God and the after life. I find this very interesting. But what I also find interesting is how people find value in trash and are able to sell bags of it on the streets.

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  50. This post reminds me to think contemplatively about different objects in the past, present and future in order to gain a greater grasp on what went on behind the scenes of the creation of the object.

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  51. Seeing the Pyramids in contrast with the mountains is not only beautiful, but it's interesting to think about their connection to each other as told by the ancient Mesoamerican cultures.

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  52. This article is very interesting! There seemed to be vast differences between what is considered sacred in one culture. Ranging from pyramids, which represent a symbolic form of mountains, water, and health, to the "sacred bundles", which were left in closets but were actually just bundles of trash! It's interesting to think that these "sacred bundles" held the power of the heart, the brain or health, anything that seemed to be important to the individual. Very interesting!

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  53. I found it interesting that your friends sold bags of basura to people, did they actually buy the trash? That's such an odd concept to me because I would never buy a bag of trash... but maybe that's the slight difference between the culture I was raised in and the culture of these people. I also want to note that I had never connected pyramids with mountains and water. In history we've always connected pyramids as a religious symbol or a connection with gods and the way of life. But then after some contemplation I suppose that a connection to mountains and water is a connection to life.

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  54. It's really interesting to me that garbage was sold as "sacred." My initial thought was that it was meant to be a souvenir type item, but it seems as though these bundles of garbage truly have some sacred meaning. Perhaps the matter inside is not typical, or a random assortment of trash but rather it is arranged in a particular way that gives it meaning?

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  55. While many may say that the pyramids were built to honor God, I feel that the construction of the pyramid could be looked at from a different perspective. How I see it is that the intricate design (the engravings and symmetry of the structure) was implemented to portray God, expressing that God is just as beautiful as those designs. On another note, I found the description about the trash (or sacred bundles) interesting as I wonder whether it is a hoax, or that they truly value those items.

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