Spatial Calligraphy

I had the pleasure today of venturing to a little gallery in the Peninsula. It had been recommended by a Japanese friend. I had not thought too much of it, except as a nice plan for a weekend outing, without having to leave town.

It turned out to be a delightful surprise. Byobu, Japanese folding screens which are commonly used for privacy and for keeping out the wind, adapted to today’s world, took shape and life on dark walls, breathing through LEDs, and I was transported to a different world for many lovely moments. I am usually wary of interactive art installations, and of modern art, but this was something that a lay person like me could enjoy, without feeling confused or lost, and there was great beauty all around, presented with the delicate attention to detail that is a hallmark of Japanese culture.

Ultra subjective space, as they term their technique, is about exploring the confluence of art, technology and nature, re-interpreted for today’s world. It has borrowed greatly, in my limited, biased perspective, from not only the Kano school of art in Japan, but also from the anime/manga traditions.

In other news, I am lagging behind on paperwork and commitments. I have to meet some friends in the coming days since I have missed appointments helter-skelter in the last week. I have only myself to blame for it. I have been riding a wave of summer’s end, writing and lounging about, with little care for the world outside. This brings me back to the exhibit again – one of the guiding themes was that the world and I co-exist, in the same space. I am not an observer. The world is not outside. I am a part of the world. They also had written a rather clever, sharp comment about present-day Western tendency to chant ‘we are one’, and about how it was not about what you believe, but what you are. Perhaps they had a point. It doesn’t impact my enjoyment. I tend to try and filter out propaganda from art. How else would I have been able to appreciate all the marble statues and the stained glass-windows?

I wound up driving back on the supposedly historic Route 82, now far removed from the Carmelite monks and the missions, and chanced to see the first colors of fall. There were clouds thick and heavy lying low over us this morning. It rained too, a few drops, as if teasing California to remind her of the existence of water.