ARISING FROM EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE (2019)
Drawing inspiration for the marimba from Laozi’s Tao Te Ching
For the doctoral research presentation of Rachel Xi Zhang, I made a series of black and white videos with ink in water and quotes from Laozi’s Tao Te Ching. The videos were played on a gigantic curtain behind Rachel Xi Zhang playing the marimba.
The thesis attempted to apply Laozi’s Taoist philosophy to marimba performance and articulations on marimba, walking through things that are true and things that are being felt to be true. One major element of the theory were the characteristics of water. Hence the idea to illustrate the behavior of water with the help of ink.
A few quotes that inspired this work:
… that existence and non-existence give birth the one to (the idea of) the other
difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other
that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other
that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other...
and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another.
(Laozi, chapter 2)
The highest excellence is like (that of) water.
The excellence of water appears in its benefiting all things, and in its occupying, without striving (to the contrary), the low place which all men dislike.
There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it
for there is nothing (so effectual) for which it can be changed.
(Laozi, chapter 78)
Who can make the muddy water clear?
Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.
Who can secure the condition of rest?
Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.
(Laozi, chapter 15)
Marimba & Thesis Rachel Xi Zhang - Filming & Video Montage Claudia Hansen