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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 62 and she told me that his compassion and generosity have in- formed her performances and videos ever since. Abramovic’s installation in The Missing Peace is a wall-sized video projection of 108 head-shots of monks and nuns saying prayers, their voices merging into one flowing interconnectedness. Besides the Shantideva segment, Viola and his wife, Kira Perov, have a video installation of a male and female figure, each bisect- ed by a brilliant white light that cycles up and down through the chakras. “ The luminosity of the central channel is the essence of the whole thing,” Viola told me recently. He regards digital media as akin to prayer wheels, and in “spinning” them—as with the Dalai Lama DVD—he feels he is making contact with powerful ideas that came through extraordinary individuals such as saints and religious philosophers. He continued: “When you say the prayers and read the sutras, you are bringing the knowledge from the storehouse and into the living moment, and embodying it with being.” Anderson’s video projection is an uncanny simulacrum of an elf-sized arhat (Anderson) and her dog, Lolabelle, both in chairs. If you turned off the projector, you would see two carvings about the size of your hand, shaped like chairs holding a person and a dog. Flip the switch, and a diminutive Anderson begins talking about taking Lolabelle on a walk in the woods, where the dog is dive-bombed by vultures. The story—about impermanence, the sky falling, the Trade Centers falling, and a renewed nervousness about samsara—accelerates quietly. Literally, these are projections of the self and its fears. Ander- son began making them in 1975, around the time she sat her first “life-changing” meditation retreat at the Barre Center in Massa- chusetts. After ten days of silence she discovered that her periph- eral vision was activated and she could see nearly 180 degrees. “It was really eerie to realize how much I was using my eyes,” she told me. As we spoke, she was getting ready for a visit from