Ponder Point 4
23 Chunks of Being:
Gregory Grieve’s Experiments in Transmitting Pure actuality
“An ancient Buddha said, ‘A painting of a rice cake does not satisfy hunger . . . there is no remedy for satisfying hunger other than a painted rice cake.”
— Zen Master Dogen
TERMANUS:. A “termanus” is a reward you find at the end of your journey. In the end, if you need to decode Grieve’s twenty pieces, approach each of these pieces not as re-presentation. Nor as pieces of the emotion of aesthetic beauty. Nor even as states of mind. Instead, these twenty-three “chunks-of-being” should be utilized by you as recipes composed of sign-systems, which structuring of and structured by the symbolic order (symbolique) of your chunk of Being— they press to recreate the liminal boundary between your particular socially constructed reality and the impossible potential of pure actuality.
As projected in, Good Fortune (བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས)(2004), Grieve offers these 23 pieces as Terma (གཏེར་མ་) — hidden treasures which are not mere representations of the world, but a glimpse of that which is outside language and that resists representation absolutely. They are tools which have ethical and epistemological functions. The ethical function is to intervene in the current media landscape to transfigure, and thereby help to transform, and restructure everyday life. Take for instance the playful painting, On Their Devices (2016), an everyday depiction of Grieve’s son. Or The Hinge (2012), which are screenshots of avatars Grieve composed in the virtual world of Second Life. As we have seen throughout the exhibit, however, Grieve’s ultimate goal, is not simply the de-construction of social realties, but rather an experience of the pure actuality of which we have been forever severed by our entrance into language.
It is unseen. It is not that we have not yet seen it, but because of how we see, it is impossible to see it. It is this resistance to representation that gives these pieces both their traumatic quality and their authenticity. It throws them beyond language. These twenty-three pieces make evident, that while realization takes place individually and for each of us in a different way; we all still rely on systems of communication.