Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life and Breath

This morning we saw an astonishing art installation at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.  We were touring around the waterfront, viewing artist workshops, watching glass be blown and fabric hangings made.  We found a small gallery and stumbled upon the installation of the work by Max Streicher called "Sextet."  It was made in 1996.  They were 6 huge human figures made of Tyvek.   They were arranged in a circle with an umbilicus of an air hose from each figure connected to a blower.  Periodically the blower would start up and the figures "come to life."  They would dance and struggle to be reborn each time.  Then the blower would stop and they would die again.  Over and over, resuscitation and death.  It was amazing and more than a little creepy.  It looked like something out of the X Files.

"Sextet" by Max Streicher (1996).  Harbourfront Centre.  Image provided by the artist on Google Images.

You hide your face, and they are terrified;
you take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust.

You send forth your Spirit, and they are created;
and so you renew the face of the earth.                 [Psalm 104:30-31]

An astonishing image of renewal and death that I hope not to forget for a while, at least ...

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