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1. Instant Replay (2020)

Mixed Media


"Wholly different from the profane. [...]  its immediate reality is transmuted into a supernatural reality. In other words, for those who have a religious experience, all nature is capable of revealing itself as cosmic sacrality. The, cosmos in its entirety can become a hierophany.”
            —Mircea Eliade

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23 Chunks of Being:

Gregory Grieve’s Experiments in Transmitting Pure actuality

Grieve invites you to knell, and relive his experience. In 1990, Grieve’s Oakland, California apartment burnt to the ground.  It marked a break in his life. All Grieve’s possessions, artwork, and his large collection of record albums were destroyed.  At the time, the little he could salvage, mostly partially burnt notes and sketches, he stuck in a cardboard box. The only record album that survived was a Japanese release of Instant Replay by the rock band the Monkeys. 

Grieve argues this piece is an “eternal return” to this moment, an idea for interpreting sacred behavior proposed by the historian Mircea Eliade; it is a belief expressed through behavior (sometimes implicitly, but often explicitly) that one can become contemporary with or return to the "mythical age"—the time when the events described in one's myths occurred in 2020. Grieve came across the box again in his attic (he had been moving it from home to home, house to house, until that time), and he experienced it as a “hierophany,” a manifestation of the sacred. The word forms from the Greek adjective hieros (Greek: ἱερός, 'sacred, holy') and the verb phainein (φαίνειν, 'to reveal, to bring to light'). The word hierophany was coined by the historian of religion, Mircea Eliade, who used it to describe "breakthroughs of the sacred (or the 'supernatural') into the World.” By manifesting itself as an ideal model, the hierophany gives the world value, direction, and purpose: "The manifestation of the sacred, ontologically founds the world." According to Eliade, all things need to imitate or conform to the sacred models established by hierophanies, in order to have true reality: things "acquire their reality, their identity, only to the extent of their participation in a transcendent reality."

Grieve assembled the contents of the salvaged box across three golden frames.  Each frame consists of an element of the French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, Jacques Lacan’s Triptych of Imaginary, Real and Symbolic. The Imaginary Order corresponds to the mirror stage marked by “demand.” Whereas needs can be fulfilled, demands are, by definition, unsatisfiable. The Real marks pure actual reality from which we have been forever severed by our entrance into language. The Symbolic Order (or the “big Other”) is all about entrance into language, which entangles us in the rules and dictates of society.

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