Monday, March 23, 2009

Art as a Spiritual Practice & Bowling

Hey there everybody!

So, my talk went well at RedLine last week. Thank you all so much for coming out, it was fantastic to see you all there. Apparently we tripled the attendance of any previous speaker- go team!

Anyway, for those of you who did not make it (and even those of you that made it) I am teaching a Contemplative Photography workshop in April. So if you are interested in delving into the spiritual aspects of art making- come on out!

At the talk one question that an audience member asked stood out and left me thinking. She asked what a more contemplative way of art making has to do with quantum physics- specifically the bit of quantum theory that talks about the role of the observer in experiments of modern science. So, a bit of background is required- one aspect of quantum theory states that an observer will alter the results of the experiment. Literally the fact that the experiment was being conducted by someone who thought the outcome would turn out a certain way, could force it to have that outcome. In particular some scientists who believed light was really small particles conducted experiments that ended up confirming that hypothesis, and scientists who believed that light was a wave did the same experiment and concluded that light indeed was a wave. The same experiment had two outcomes, the only variable was the person conducting the experiments. So, the oserver changed the outcome- just by being there.

As photographers we are at our core observers. So I can appreciate the comparison. The question is, by observing- do we as photographers change reality? Not just show a differet perspective, but actually change the outcome or order of events? I would have to say yes, but would love to hear what you think. Please add a comment below...

Also, on Wednesday we had a fantastic nigt of bowling with all of the Working wih Artists staff and interns. True to form, there were at least 5 cameras there to record the evnts. We bowled a ton- and had a great time. And, interestingly enough and to bring up the point of my story, when someone would get up and bowl they would bowl much better if they were not being photographed. By photographing a bowler, we made them bowl badly! In the act of being observed by a person with a camra people do a worse job. Wow!

So next time you want to bowl well, leave your camera at home.


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