Who are you, what do you do, why do you do it?
Big questions. The idea and challenge of identity construction interests me. Being in my fifth year in my doctoral studies, I respond to those questions in my self-reflective research. Thereby, I experience that possible answers are in constant flux, relate to each other, and they also change priorities.
Just recently, I was challenged to put again my life in a nutshell, and here is how I did it.
About Ralph Klewitz: Artist, designer, academic, researcher, father and global nomad, born in Switzerland, now living in England. So, here you have some anchor and departure points, which you could further explore, if you wish. Thereby, my linklog could be a useful guidance: Click here for linklog.
What is your relationship with your mind?
From a Western perspective, I am conscious of the two faculties ‘intelligence’ and ‘emotions’. Also, I am aware of my subconscious mind, which I embrace, despite its sometimes-darker sides, as a ‘mostly friendly force’. Looking at those three, I am also mindful that they influence each other. Generally, I am interested to gain a better understanding of them as independent dynamics, and to better grasp their interrelations.
For the past few months, I also familiarise myself with Sadhguru’s interpretation of the 16 dimensions to the human mind in the yogic teachings. Since then, I strive towards developing an awareness of intelligence that is free of memory, a dimension of the mind that the yogic tradition termed Chitta. Having initiated this long-term process of mind expansion and already experienced a glimpse of what Chitta is, or what it could be, I am fascinated to further explore this pathway.
Please tell us about the submitted piece WZ657_Mont6 (2008–2018)
The video-track shows a sequential cross-fade of photographed nature. All pictures depict predominantly blurred flowers in the foreground, lit with a flash light. Some of the plants reappear as different variations, whereas 20% of the images are converted negative pictures. Long-stretched, echoed, single notes succeed each other, occasionally overlapping. The tones are generated digitally, are encompassed by the same octave, and are reminiscent of a church organ.” I accompany this text with 5 still shots (featured below), so that a potential viewer has enough useful background information to perceive, experience and interpret the piece her-/himself.
How did your mind create it?
Referring to my above understanding, I have stimulated and implemented the dimensions intelligence, emotions, and subconscious to create the piece. Additionally, intuition and memory played important factors in my artistic process, especially as this piece grew over the period of ten years.
What did your mind learn from it?
Generally, I experience my life as one holistic learning process. When making the artwork, most likely, the above dimensions cross-fertilised each other, and I, and/or it, thereby further progressed and defined my artist identity, and it might also have influenced my other roles of being as a member of society.
What do you hope other minds receive from it?
Self-interpreting the perception experience of WZ657_Mont6, it oscillates between conscious and subconscious experiences, induced by a kind of semi-meditative state, in which I drift. Those factors are central in comprising the experience of my mind. Besides my own interpretation, I am totally open if perceivers have different experiences with this piece. My own interpretation experience is merely a suggestion, or at most an invitation, because often I realised that there are many other interpretation pathways in my work, and/or in my perceivers, which I did not anticipate. Those are just as valid as mine.
Your portfolio is packed with work that seems unrelated to this piece. Why does this stand apart in such a way?
There is a gap of almost 10 years between when I took the photographs, and when I made the video with them. In 2008/09, a lot of personal things happened in my life, related to emotional, professional and geographical re-orientations, and making these photographs helped me to ground myself in those uncertain and unsettling times. I remember that taking those pictures was also a kind of a magical experience. When I produced the video in Summer this year, I was in a very calm and collected mind-set. Having also guided myself by a solemn respect of nature in a Kantian sense, perhaps also with a desire of reaching and/or inducing a state of transcendence, I wanted to create a contemplative piece, free from the anxieties and turbulences of living in our contemporary time. In order to support this desired experience, I underpinned the tranquil visual flow with swelling and fading tones in the soundtrack. However, there is a kind of melancholy that creeped into the audio track, that in turn influences the visual experience, which is perhaps an aftermath from my life experience in 2008.
What has art/creativity taught you about your own mind?
Art, as a substantial part of my life and my mind, with all its dimensions, emotions, dynamics and metamorphosis, is partially guiding me through my life. Subsequently, I also use my artistic mind to act and react in in the world. Overall, I thus experience that making and perceiving art shapes my mind, and vice versa. In other words, art and mind subconsciously learn from each other, or, by actively experiencing art and being conscious of my mind, I connect the two, and thereby I grow as an artist and as a citizen.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Not so much more about WZ657_Mont because I think that with the above information, I sufficiently verbally equipped the video artwork for an audience’ perception and interpretation. So, thank you Matt for featuring my work in your issue, and thank you also for your mind stimulating questions.
Find Ralph here: ralphklewitz.blogspot.com