The I Ching

When Marc told me about SynchroniCity, I went to wikipedia to refresh my memory as to what the term meant exactly. This led me to Jung's famous text on synchronicity, which is actually his foreword to Richard Wilhelm's 1949 translation of the I Ching. From there I somehow made a connection with my Uranometria cage (in the end, a synchronistic one, I guess), and decided that what the cage needed was precisely some kind of a visualization of the contrast between the deterministic world view of the West and the fluid system of changes of the East.

Although when I made the cage I worked without deliberation, very much surprising myself with the outcome in fact; when it came to integrating the I Ching into the cage I became very deliberate and employed a design strategy to which I gave a lot of thought before I actually went and implemented it.

I did not want to do anything corny like adding Chinese visual elements to all of this. Those types of appropriations I usually tend to find quite disrespectful: I am not from that culture - I can not understand what that iconography really means, what emotional impact it is meant to deliver. I do not know the signposts - I cannot even read the text. All I know is that it is very beautiful. Which does not give me the right to ride roughshod over it and pretend that it is mine. Jung's text on the other hand, which I can understand, seems to carry similar concerns. He repeatedly emphasizes these in passages such as this one:

"I do not know Chinese and have never been in China. I can assure my reader that it is not altogether easy to find the right access to this monument of Chinese thought, which departs so completely from our ways of thinking."

My love of Jung's text and my reluctance to integrate Chinese artifacts led me to the idea of using the text itself as the element of contrast. The cage, and its avatar sculptures would be constant like Bayer's clockwork universe, whereas Jung's text would move unpredictably with the virtual winds, bringing life to the frozen structure.

I did not want the text to be easily read. If anything, I wanted it to attain continuously different meanings (as well as non-meanings); and have many entry and exit points that would perpetually come together and then blow apart - which is also my conception of how the I Ching should be approached.

Thus, another thing which I added to the wind generated motion effect was layering, which I brought about by placing all of the text on transparent backgrounds. I made many different panels on which I put different passages of Jung's foreword. All of the text had the same point size and font (Garamond). And so, as the panels blew around, the text kept deconstructing and changing since the uniformity of size and font kept merging semantic content that was on different panels. Sentences would appear one after the other, only to be immediately blown into novel configurations by the wind which kept the whole conglomeration in flux at all times.