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Around a Hollow Centre

Photo of installation

Interactive installation at Unoccupied exhibition, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2012.

“A vessel is moulded from solid clay; its inner emptiness makes it useful.” Lao Tsu – Tao Te Ching, Chapter 11

Taoism, the ancient precursor to Buddhism, is concerned with acceptance and stillness. To live by the Tao one must avoid struggling against obstacles and craving otherness and surrender to the water-like, natural flow of things.

The above quote from the Tao Te Ching concerns the fundamental ‘nothingness’ defining the essence of certain things. Taken literally, one can find a myriad of such objects: vases, bowls and vessels of all kinds, pipes, wheels. Taken as a metaphor, nothingness becomes a meaningless concept: everything is something; everything (including emptiness) exists in context with everything else.

Around a Hollow Centre explores our relationship with emptiness and space through an interactive, site-specific, sonified environment. Visitors were invited to explore objects whose essence is their inner emptiness – a glass demijohn, a test tube, a wine glass, a bowl and a bike wheel. The natural resonances of these objects, teased out and enhanced by visitor interaction, was digitally manipulated, amplified and played back via loudspeakers hidden in the grand architecture of the Talbot Rice’s gallery space.

© Dave House 2020