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396 moons: the path home

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Item Summary

Title:396 moons: the path home
Authors:Pfister, Benjamin P.K.
Date Issued:Dec 2007
Abstract:In the exhibition, 396 Moons: the Path Home, I create symbolic forms in order to translate natural patterns expanding so far into time and space that they are difficult to comprehend fully. This process of translation and creation brings me closer to movements in my environment that are not always seen, and to recognize harmony in seemingly dissonant patterns. The work offers a new perspective for individuals as they consider their position in such vast systems. In addition to exploring universal movements through constructing forms, I also work with Simple, sma1ler-scale interactions of natural and fabricated elements that are familiar and accessible. In these situations, I separate an element from its original function and put it in a new context. An essential part of discovering the essence of cultural constructions is their recontextualization. Looking at something from a different perspective reveals another layer of understanding about it and the mindset that created it. I explore rhythms that result from making, experiencing and observing patterns in an effort to better understand myself, my position in Hawai'i and in the world. I examine what it means for me to be Hawaiian. I understand Hawaiian identity to be a mix of ancestral lineage, family stories and history, knowledge of Hawaiian culture, language, and relation to Hawaiian land. The work in this exhibition is a record of my attempt to locate myself in the natural and cultural patterns of Hawai'i. Through my art, I pose questions about the implications of these intersecting patterns and how I fit in to this movement. 396 Moons: the Path Home (Plate 1) is made up of two installations: 'The Path from Afar' and 'The Path up Close'. These spaces offer different experiences to the viewer. 'The Path from Afar' (Plate 2) is a space with handmade drawings, objects and sounds referencing natural patterns. Even though the works speak of universal movements and rhythms, the space feels intimate and connected. The patterns on the wall imply subtle movement, while the stool and the pahu (Hawaiian drum) offer stillness and grounding in the center of the space. 'The Path up Close' (Plate 16) is a video installation with four projections running simultaneously on four facing walls. The pair of related videos entitled, 'Manoa Rain and Wind' (Plate 19) and 'Kaimana Sand and Waves' (Plate 20) face each other on opposing walls. These two works are still, quiet meditations on chance rhythms resulting from natural forces intersecting with fabricated structures. Movement is subtle in both of these videos, and the viewer's position is one of stillness. The videos entitled, 'A Walk over the Pali Highway' (Plate 17) and 'A Walk in Volcano, Hawai'i' (Plate 18) face each other on the other two walls. The viewer's position in these videos is one of constant movement and occasional unease, contrasting the relative stillness of 'Manoa Rain and Wind' and 'Kaimana Sand and Waves.' In this way, stillness frames movement and conversely movement frames stillness. The combination of stillness and movement in the framing reflects the reality we experience every day. In moments where we feel silent and still, the world never stops moving around us. And in moments where we feel incessant movement, we remain surrounded by the possibility of stillness. This exhibition challenges viewers to locate themselves within the varying patterns of the installations. It offers moments where patterns that seem to be out-of-phase momentarily fall into recognizable harmony with each other. It is these moments that begin to offer a new perspective on what it means to belong, and what it means to find home.
Description:Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2007.
Pages/Duration:iv, 51 leaves
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.F.A. - Art

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